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The Sonning Prize (Danish: Sonningprisen) is a Danish culture prize awarded biennially for outstanding contributions to European culture. It is named after the Danish editor and author Carl Johan Sonning (1879–1937), who established the prize by his will.
A prize was first awarded in 1950 to Winston Churchill for furthering Anglo-Danish scientific interests. However, a sequence of annual awards in this name was established in 1959 with the award to Albert Schweitzer followed by Bertand Russell in 1960, the criterion being someone who “has accomplished meritorious work for the advancement of European civilization”, and judged by a committee of the Senate of the University of Copenhagen. From 1971 it was awarded every second year until 1991, starting again in 1994 till the present.
Prize winners are chosen by a committee chaired by the rector of the University of Copenhagen which decides on laureates from a selection of candidates proposed by European universities. The prize amounts to DKK 1 million (~€135,000) and the award ceremony is always held on or around 19 April (Sonning's birthday) in Copenhagen.
Sonning Prize laureatesEdit
|1950||Winston Churchill||1874–1965||Author and statesman||United Kingdom|
|1959||Albert Schweitzer||1875–1965||Philosopher and physician||France|
|1960||Bertrand Russell||1872–1970||Philosopher||United Kingdom|
|1964||Dominique Pire||1910–1969||Theologian and humanitarian||Belgium|
|1965||Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi||1894–1972||Author and statesman||Austria|
|1966||Laurence Olivier||1907–1989||Actor||United Kingdom|
|1967||Willem Visser 't Hooft||1900–1985||Theologian||Netherlands|
|1968||Arthur Koestler||1905–1983||Author||United Kingdom|
|1970||Max Tau||1897–1976||Author||West Germany|
|1971||Danilo Dolci||1924–1997||Author and social activist||Italy|
|1975||Hannah Arendt||1906–1975||Author and politologist||West Germany|
|1983||Simone de Beauvoir||1908–1986||Author||France|
|1985||William Heinesen||1900–1991||Author||Faroe Islands|
|1987||Jürgen Habermas||b. 1929||Sociologist and philosopher||West Germany|
|1989||Ingmar Bergman||1918–2007||Film and theatre director||Sweden|
|1991||Václav Havel||1936–2011||Author and statesman||Czechoslovakia|
|1994||Krzysztof Kieślowski||1941–1996||Film director||Poland|
|2000||Eugenio Barba||b. 1936||Author and theatre director||Italy|
|2002||Mary Robinson||b. 1944||Politician||Ireland|
|2004||Mona Hatoum||b. 1952||Video and installation artist||United Kingdom|
|2006||Ágnes Heller||b. 1929||Philosopher||Hungary|
|2008||Renzo Piano||b. 1937||Architect||Italy|
|2010||Hans Magnus Enzensberger||b. 1929||Author||Germany|
|2012||Orhan Pamuk||b. 1952||Author||Turkey|
|2014||Michael Haneke||b. 1942||Film director||Austria|
|2018||Lars von Trier||b. 1956||Film director||Denmark|
- Schechner, Richard (2000). "Eugenio Barba wins big prize and gives it all away!". TDR. 44 (3): 8.
- "The Record". The Geographical Journal. 117 (4): 477. 1951.
- Hjelmslev, Louis (2003). "Address delivered at the University of Copenhagen on the occasion if the award of the Sonning Prize to Bertrand Russell, 19 April 1960". Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies. 23 (2): 153–160.