Erasmus Prize

The Erasmus Prize is an annual prize awarded by the board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation to individuals or institutions that have made exceptional contributions to culture, society, or social science in Europe and the rest of the world.[1] It is one of Europe's most distinguished recognitions.[2] The prize is named after Desiderius Erasmus, the Dutch Renaissance humanist.

Erasmus Prize
Awarded forNotable contributions to European culture, society, or social science
First awarded1958
Last awardedAnnual award[1]

Prize and adornment

As of 2015, the prize consists of €150,000[1] and an adornment that was designed by Bruno Ninaber van Eyben in 1995. The adornment is a ribbon folded in the style of a harmonica, with ends made of titanium plates. The ribbon bears a text in the handwriting of Erasmus taken from a letter to Jean Carondelet written on 5 January 1523. The text reads "variae sunt ingeniorum dotes multae seculorum varietates sunt. quod quisque potest in medium proferat nec alteri quisquam invideat qui pro sua virili suoque modo conatur publicis studiis utilitatis aliquid adiungere.", which translates as "Diverse are the gifts of men of genius and many are the different kinds of ages. Let each one reveal the scope of his competence and let no one be envious of another who in keeping with his own ability and style tries to make a useful contribution to the education of all."[3]


The award ceremony typically takes place at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, where the prize is presented by the patron of the Foundation (King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands as of 2015). A wide range of academic and cultural activities are organised around the Erasmus Prize award ceremony, in cooperation with other academic and cultural organisations. These have included lectures, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, performances of dance, music and theatre, and other educational activities. An essay on the topic of the laureate and their work is also published.[4]

The prize was first awarded in 1958. As of 2015 it has been awarded a total of 73 times in 53 years.[1][5] The area in which the Erasmus prize will be awarded is decided upon in advance by the Foundation's board. An advisory committee then consults with Dutch and foreign experts before proposing a laureate; the final choice of the laureate is then made by the Foundation's board.[4]

Young researchers

The Erasmus prize is not intended to stimulate young researchers.[4] However, the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation has awarded from 1988 yearly "studyprizes" for exceptionally high quality PHD studies on the field of humanities or social sciences.

Prize winners

1958The People of AustriaCultural heritage. Awarded at the University of Milan. Prize funds were granted to Austrians studying in Europe; foreign students studying in Austria; and excavations at Ephesus.[5][6]
1959Robert Schuman[5]
1959Karl Jaspers[5]
1960Marc Chagall[5]
1960Oskar Kokoschka[5]
1962Romano Guardini[5]
1963Martin Buber[5]
1964Union Académique Internationale[5]
1965Sir Charles Chaplin, Ingmar Bergman[5]
1966Herbert Read, René Huyghe[5]
1967Jan Tinbergen[5]
1968Henry Moore[5]
1969Gabriel Marcel, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker[5]
1970Hans Scharoun[5]
1971Olivier Messiaen[5]
1972Jean Piaget[5]
1973Claude Lévi-Strauss[5]
1974Ninette de Valois, Maurice Béjart[5]
1975Ernst Gombrich, Willem Sandberg[5]
1976Amnesty International, René David[5]
1977Werner Kaegi, Jean Monnet[5]
1978Puppet Theatre/Theme puppetry: [5]
1979Die Zeit, Neue Zürcher Zeitung[5]
1980Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Leonhardt[5]
1981Jean Prouvé[5]
1982Edward Schillebeeckx[5]
1983Raymond Aron, Isaiah Berlin, Leszek Kołakowski, Marguerite Yourcenar[5]
1984Massimo Pallottino[5]
1985Paul Delouvrier[5]
1986Václav Havel[5]
1987Alexander King[5]
1988Jacques Ledoux[5]
1989International Commission of Jurists[5]
1990Sir Grahame Clark[5]
1991Bernard Haitink[5]
1992General Archive of the Indies[5]
1992Simon Wiesenthal[5]
1993Peter Stein[5]
1994Sigmar Polke[5]
1995Renzo Piano[5]
1996William Hardy McNeill[5]
1997Jacques Delors[5]
1998Mauricio Kagel, Peter Sellars[5]
1999Mary Robinson[5]
2000Hans van Manen[5]
2001Claudio Magris, Adam Michnik[5]
2002Bernd and Hilla Becher[5]
2003Alan Davidson[5]
2004Abdolkarim Soroush, Sadik Al-Azm and Fatema Mernissi[5]
2005Simon Schaffer and Steven Shapin[5]
2006Pierre Bernard[5]
2007Péter Forgács[5]
2008Ian Buruma[5]
2009Antonio Cassese, Benjamin B. Ferencz[5]
2010José Antonio Abreu[5]
2011Joan Busquets[5]
2012Daniel Dennett[5]
2013Jürgen Habermas[5]
2014Frie LeysenTheme of "Theatre, audience and society"[5][7]
2015Wikipedia communityFor "[promoting] the dissemination of knowledge through a comprehensive and universally accessible encyclopaedia. To achieve that, the initiators of Wikipedia have designed a new and effective democratic platform. The prize specifically recognises Wikipedia as a community—a shared project that involves tens of thousands of volunteers around the world."[1][2]
2016A. S. ByattFor inspiring contribution to 'life writing'[8][9]
2017 Michèle Lamont "For her devoted contribution to social science research into the relationship between knowledge, power and diversity" [10]
2018 Barbara Ehrenreich For giving "a voice to groups in society that would otherwise remain unheard" [11]
2019 John Adams "Because he has created a new musical idiom by fusing elements from jazz, pop and classical music" [12]


  1. "Erasmus Prize - Praemium Erasmianum". Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  2. "Wikipedia turns 14, receives prestigious Erasmus Prize 2015". Wikimedia Foundation. 15 January 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  3. "Prize and Adornments". Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  4. "Organisation". Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. Archived from the original on 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  5. "Former Laureates - Praemium Erasmianum". Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  6. "Former Laureats - The Austrian people". Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. Archived from the original on 8 October 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  7. "Former Laureates". Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. Archived from the original on 8 October 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  8. "Britse schrijfster A.S. Byatt krijgt Erasmusprijs" (in Dutch). NOS. 17 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  9. "Press release: Erasmus Prize 2016 awarded to A.S. Byatt". 17 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  10. "Nieuws :: Praemium Erasmianum". (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 10 April 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  11. Press release: 2018 Erasmus Prize awarded to Barbara Ehrenreich (Retrieved 1 May 2018)
  12. Press release: 2019 Erasmus Prize awarded to John Adams (Retrieved 21 February 2019)
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.