The Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund was established in 2003. The main purpose of the Fund is to increase the profile of the arts and humanities, the social sciences, law and theology.
The Board of the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund awards prizes under three headings every year: the Holberg International Memorial Prize, the Nils Klim Prize and the Holberg Prize School Project.
Holberg International Memorial Prize
This prize is awarded for outstanding scholarly work in one of the chosen academic fields. The Board awards the prize on the basis of recommendations by a committee of outstanding scholars from the relevant fields. In addition to NOK 4 500 000 (approximately EUR 570 000/USD 716 000) Holberg laureates also receive a medal.
Nils Klim Prize
This prize of NOK 250 000 (approximately EUR 32 000) is awarded to a young Nordic researcher in one of the chosen academic fields. Recommendations for the Prize are made by a committee of outstanding Nordic researchers in the relevant fields. Nominees for the Prize must be aged under 35.
Holberg Prize School Project
An important objective of the School Project is to promote greater understanding, interest and enthusiasm for the arts and humanities, the social sciences, law and theology among children and young people.
Every year, students at upper secondary schools in Norway are invited to carry out a research project in cooperation with established researchers. Three of the projects are awarded prizes (of NOK 7 000, 4 000 and 2 500 respectively), and the winning students are invited to attend the award ceremony for the Holberg International Memorial Prize. A teacher’s grant is also awarded as part of the Project.
Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754)
Bergen-born Ludvig Holberg held the chairs of Metaphysics and Logic, Latin Rhetoric and History at the University of Copenhagen, and played an important part in bringing the Enlightenment to the Nordic countries. Through his interdisciplinary and internationally-oriented efforts, Holberg sought to modernise academic subjects and teaching methods. He also laid the foundations for international law as an academic subject in Denmark-Norway. His humorous and sarcastic writings introduced his readers to the idea that people themselves must reflect on who they are and who they are perceived to be.
Several of his works have been translated. He is perhaps best remembered for his thesis Introduction til “Natur- og Folke-Rettens Kundskab” (Introduction to Natural and International Law), the plays Jeppe på bjerget (Jeppe of the Hill), Den Stundesløse (The Fussy Man) and Erasmus Montanus, and for the novel Nils Klims reise til den underjordiske verden (The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground).