Fridtjof Nansen lPolhøgdaived at Polhøgda from its completion in 1901 until his death. His grave is located in the garden in front of the manor.

Nansen's heirs did not want to keep Polhøgda themselves, but wished to see it maintained and in use. Their will was transmitted through a gift deed that was presented to the University of Oslo in 1930:

It is our condition that this property shall be maintained as a lasting memorial to Fridtjof Nansen, and that it shall serve as a framework for those of his belongings that have public interest. It is, however, not to be used a museum, but utilized in the best way possible for today, as lodgings or place of work, preferably in connection with interests that are close to Fridtjof Nansen’s life and work.

Since 1958, Polhøgda has been home to the independent, non-profit Fridtjof Nansen Institute, which focuses its research on a topic that dominated Nansen's later life: How to solve global and regional problems through international cooperation?

The house, being a place of work, is not open to the general public, but the large garden, including the grave of Fridtjof Nansen, is always accessible.

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