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Erasmus Prize

Annual award for an exceptional contribution to the humanities or the arts awarded by the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation
Erasmus Prize
Logo Erasmusprijs (cropped).jpg
Awarded forNotable contributions to European culture, society, or social science
First awarded1958
Last awardedAnnual award

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. It is one of Europe's most distinguished recognitions. The prize is named after Desiderius Erasmus, the Dutch Renaissance humanist.

Prize and adornment

As of 2015, the prize consists of €150,000 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."


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.

The prize was first awarded in 1958. As of 2015 it has been awarded a total of 73 times in 53 years. 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.

Young researchers

The Erasmus prize is not intended to stimulate young researchers. 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

Flag of Austria.svg1958The 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.
Robert Schuman-1929.jpg1959Robert Schuman
Karl Jaspers 1946.jpg1959Karl Jaspers
Chagall France 1921.jpg1960Marc Chagall
Oskar Kokoschka (1963) by Erling Mandelmann.jpg1960Oskar Kokoschka
Romano Guardini um 1920.JPG1962Romano Guardini
Martin Buber portrait.jpg1963Martin Buber
Logo de l'Union Académique Internationale.jpg1964Union Académique Internationale
Charlie Chaplin krijgt in het Congresgebouw de Erasmusprijs uitgereikt. Van link, Bestanddeelnr 019-0619.jpgIngmar Bergman Smultronstallet.jpg1965Sir Charles Chaplin, Ingmar Bergman
Herbert Read (1966).jpg Erasmusprijs 1966, uitreiking in Ridderzaal te Den Haag prins reikt prijs uit aa, Bestanddeelnr 919-2923.jpg1966Herbert Read, René Huyghe
Jan Tinbergen 1982.jpg1967Jan Tinbergen
Henry Moore in workshop Allan Warren.jpg1968Henry Moore
Prijswinnaars Carl von Weizsäcker en Gabriël Marcel, Bestanddeelnr 922-9099.jpg1969Gabriel Marcel, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Hans Scharoun.jpg1970Hans Scharoun
Lezing Franse compoist Olivier Messianen in Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haa, Bestanddeelnr 933-8262.jpg1971Olivier Messiaen
JPiaget-PBovet-1925 - cropped.jpg1972Jean Piaget
Levi-strauss 260.jpg1973Claude Lévi-Strauss
Prins Bernhard reikt Erasmusprijs uit aan Ninette de Valois in aanwezigheid van koningin Juliana en prinses Beatrix, Bestanddeelnr 927-2719.jpg Prins Bernhard reikt Erasmusprijs uit aan Ninette de Valois in aanwezigheid van , Bestanddeelnr 927-2720.jpg1974Ninette de Valois, Maurice Béjart
Ernst Gombrich (1975).jpg Sandberg1962.jpg1975Ernst Gombrich, Willem Sandberg
ReneDavid1976ErasmusPrize.jpg1976Amnesty International, René David
Kaegi1977.jpgBundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F001192-0003, Bonn, Besuch Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer.jpg1977Werner Kaegi, Jean Monnet
ErasmusPrize1978.jpg1978Puppet Theatre/Theme puppetry:
  • La Marionettistica of the Napoli brothers
  • Ţăndărică of Margareta Niculescu
  • Théâtre de papier of Yves Joly
  • Bread and Puppet of Peter Schumann
Marion Dönhoff, Prins Bernhard en Fred Luchsinger (1979).jpg1979Die Zeit, Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1980).jpg Gustav Leonhardt.jpg1980Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Leonhardt
Jean Prouvé (1981).jpg1981Jean Prouvé
Edward Schillebeeckx.jpg1982Edward Schillebeeckx
Raymond Aron (1966).jpg BernhardYourcenarKolakowskiBerlin1983.jpg1983Raymond Aron, Isaiah Berlin, Leszek Kołakowski, Marguerite Yourcenar
Massimo Pallottino.jpg1984Massimo Pallottino
Paul Delouvrier en Prins Bernhard (1985).jpg1985Paul Delouvrier
Vaclav Havel cropped.jpg1986Václav Havel
Alexander King (1987).jpg1987Alexander King
1988 Ledoux portret bureau.jpg1988Jacques Ledoux
1989 International Commission of Jurists uitreiking 4.jpg1989International Commission of Jurists
1990 Clark laudatio.jpg1990Sir Grahame Clark
Bernard Haitink 1984b.jpg1991Bernard Haitink
Spain Andalusia Seville BW 2015-10-23 14-27-54.jpg1992General Archive of the Indies
Simon Wiesenthal (1982).jpg1992Simon Wiesenthal
Dmitry Medvedev 4 November 2008-8.jpg1993Peter Stein
Dieter Frowein Lyasso&Sigmar Polke.jpeg1994Sigmar Polke
Renzo Piano cropped.jpg1995Renzo Piano
William H. McNeill.jpg1996William Hardy McNeill
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F078267-0023, Bonn, Ministerpräsidenten mit EU-Kommissar Delors-CROPPED.jpg1997Jacques Delors
Mauricio Kagel (1985).jpg PeterSellarsOjai.jpg1998Mauricio Kagel, Peter Sellars
Mary Robinson-Obama31.04secs.png1999Mary Robinson
Hans van Manen (1986).jpg2000Hans van Manen
Claudio Magris.JPG Adam Michnik (2012).jpg2001Claudio Magris, Adam Michnik
2002 Echtpaar Becher prijsuitreiking 5.jpg2002Bernd and Hilla Becher
2003 Davidson prijsuitreiking 1.tif2003Alan Davidson
2004 Al Azm Mernissi Soroush uitreiking handdruk.tif2004Abdolkarim Soroush, Sadik Al-Azm and Fatema Mernissi
Simon Schaffer 2015.JPG Steven Shapin, HSS 2008.jpg2005Simon Schaffer and Steven Shapin
2006 Bernard prijsuitreiking 10.jpg2006Pierre Bernard
Peter Forgacs.JPG2007Péter Forgács
Ian buruma 2006.jpg2008Ian Buruma
Antonio Cassese (born 1937) - Flickr image 3943365916 by Margaret Zimmerman.jpg Benjamin Ferencz - Chief Prosecutor in 1947 Einsatzgruppen Trial - In Courtroom 600 Where Nuremberg Trials Were Held - Palace of Justice - Nuremberg-Nurnberg - Germany - 02.jpg2009Antonio Cassese, Benjamin B. Ferencz
2010José Antonio Abreu
2011 Busquets prijsuitreiking 7.JPG2011Joan Busquets
Daniel Dennett in Venice 2006.png2012Daniel Dennett
JuergenHabermas.jpg2013Jürgen Habermas
Kunst in Zeiten des Umbruchs - Belgian curator Frie Leysen (7347702878).jpg2014Frie LeysenTheme of "Theatre, audience and society"
Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg2015Wikipedia 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."
AS Byatt Portrait.jpg2016A. S. ByattFor inspiring contribution to 'life writing'
MicheleLamont2017.jpg2017Michèle Lamont"For her devoted contribution to social science research into the relationship between knowledge, power and diversity"
Barbara Ehrenreich 2 by David Shankbone.jpg2018Barbara EhrenreichFor giving "a voice to groups in society that would otherwise remain unheard"
CMB 7715 (8881407995).jpg2019John Adams"Because he has created a new musical idiom by fusing elements from jazz, pop and classical music"
Grayson Perry February 13, 2007.jpg2020Grayson Perry"Perry has developed a unique visual language, demonstrating that art belongs to everybody and should not be an elitist affair."

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Erasmus Prize, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (view authors).

Date of last edit: 2021-01-28T20:14:08.000Z