Dutch Royals Present Erasmus Prize 2012

  November 15, 2012 at 9:05 am by

Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima were yesterday present at the awards ceremony of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, of which the Prince of Orange is patron. The awards ceremony took place at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.

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During the ceremony, Prince Willem-Alexander presented this year’s prize to Daniel Dennett, an American philosopher who specialises in the philosophy of the mind, science and biology in the field of evolutionary biology. He was presented the award for his contributions to this year’s theme, the cultural meaning of natural science, due to his “ability to translate the cultural significance of science and technology to [reach] a broad audience.”

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Professor Dennett takes home a prize of 150,000€. In his acceptance speech, the Professor thanked the committee for the thrilling moment, before discussing some of his own work in relation to the award. “We are all lucky to be alive, but more particularly, we are lucky to have inherited the talent, the competence, that explains our ability to stay alive,” he said, talking about how everyone on earth is descended from an unbroken line which stems back billions of years, in comparison to various other organisms. The full acceptance speech can be read here.

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The Foundation was established in 1958 by Queen Beatrix’s father, Prince Bernhard. The aim of the prize, awarded annually, is to highlight contributions made by individuals or organisations to European culture, society or social science. Past winners have included the entire citizenship of Austria (1958), Charlie Chaplin and Ingmar Bergman (1965), Peter Sellers (1998) and President Mary Robinson (1999).

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