The Holberg Prize is an international prize awarded annually by the government of Norway to outstanding scholars for work in the arts, humanities, social sciences, law and theology, either within one of these fields or through interdisciplinary work. The prize was established by the Parliament of Norway in honour of Ludvig Holberg in 2003 and complements its sister prize in mathematics, the Abel Prize. Ludvig Holberg excelled in all of the sciences covered by the award. It has been described as the "Nobel prize" for the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology.[1]

The Holberg Prize is funded by the government's budget through a direct allocation from the Ministry of Education and Research to the University of Bergen, and is administered by the University of Bergen on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Research. The Holberg Prize award ceremony takes place annually in Bergen, Norway in June.

The Holberg Board awards the prize at the recommendation of the Holberg Committee who consists of five outstanding researchers in the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology. The Holberg Committee gathers assessments on the short-list candidates from international recognized scholars before giving their recommendation to the Board. The Prize amount is 4.5 million Norwegian kroner (approximately €500,000), which are intended to be used to further the research of the recipient.


Year Laureate(s) Image Institution Nationality Citation
2004 Kristeva, JuliaJulia Kristeva Kristeva IMG 5888.jpg Paris Diderot University Bulgarian
"for innovative explorations of questions on the intersection of language, culture and literature which inspired research across the humanities and the social sciences throughout the world and have also had a significant impact on feminist theory"
2005 Habermas, JürgenJürgen Habermas JuergenHabermas crop1.jpg University of Frankfurt German "for developing path-breaking theories of discourse and communicative action and thereby providing new perspectives on law and democracy"
2006 Eisenstadt, ShmuelShmuel Eisenstadt Shmuel N. Eisenstadt.jpg Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israeli "for developing comparative knowledge of exceptional quality and originality concerning social change and modernization, and concerning relations between culture, belief systems and political institutions"
2007 Dworkin, RonaldRonald Dworkin Ronald Dworkin at the Brooklyn Book Festival.jpg New York University
University College London
American "for developing an original and highly influential legal theory grounding law in morality, characterized by a unique ability to tie together abstract philosophical ideas and arguments with concrete everyday concerns in law, morals, and politics"
2008 Jameson, FredricFredric Jameson Duke University American "for outstanding contributions to the understanding of the relation between social formations and cultural forms in a project he himself describes as the "poetics of social forms""
2009 Hacking, IanIan Hacking Ian Hacking.jpg University of Toronto Canadian "for his combination of rigorous philosophical and historical analysis which has profoundly altered our understanding of the ways in which key concepts emerge through scientific practices and in specific social and institutional contexts"
2010 Zemon Davis, NatalieNatalie Zemon Davis Natalie Zemon Davis.jpg University of Toronto
Princeton University
"for being one of the most creative historians writing today, an intellectual who is not hostage to any particular school of thought or politics"
2011 Kocka, JürgenJürgen Kocka Jürgen Kocka.jpg Free University of Berlin German "for effecting a paradigm shift in German historiography by opening it up to related social sciences and establishing the importance of cross-national comparative approaches"
2012 Castells, ManuelManuel Castells Manuel Castells en La Paz, Bolivia.jpg University of Southern California Spanish for shaping "our understanding of the political dynamics of urban and global economies in the network society"
2013 Latour, BrunoBruno Latour Bruno Latour in Taiwan P1250394 (cropped).jpg Sciences Po French for having "undertaken an ambitious analysis and reinterpretation of modernity, and [having] challenged fundamental concepts such as the distinction between modern and pre-modern, nature and society, human and non-human"[2]
2014 Cook, MichaelMichael Cook
Princeton University British for "... reshaped fields that span Ottoman studies, the genesis of early Islamic polity, the history of the Wahhabiyya movement, and Islamic law, ethics, and theology"[3]
2015 Warner, MarinaMarina Warner
Birkbeck, University of London British for "... analysis of stories and myths and how they reflect their time and place. She is known for the emphasis of gender roles and feminism in her literary work"[4]
2016 Greenblatt, StephenStephen Greenblatt StephenJayGreenblatt.jpg Harvard University USA for "... one of the most important Shakespeare scholars of his generation"[5]
2017 O'Neill, OnoraOnora O'Neill OnoraONeillChairingWCITColloquiumHouseOfLords26June2013.jpg University of Cambridge British for "... her influential role in ethical and political philosophy"[6]
2018 Sunstein, CassCass Sunstein Cass Sunstein (2008) Harvard University USA "... has reshaped our understanding of the relationship between the modern regulatory state and constitutional law. He is widely regarded as the leading scholar of administrative law in the U.S., and he is by far the most cited legal scholar in the United States and probably the world."[7]


  • Symposium in Honor of Julia Kristeva, 2004[8]
    • Participants: Kelly Oliver, Sara Beardsworth, John Fletcher, Atle Kittang and Iréne Matthis.
  • Symposium in Honor of Jürgen Habermas, 2005 – "Religion in the Public Sphere" [9]
    • Participants: Arne Johan Vetlesen, Gunnar Skirbekk, Cristina Lafont, Cathrine Holst, Helge Høibraaten, Craig Calhoun, Thomas M. Schmidt, Jon Hellesnes, Hauke Brunkhorst and Tore Lindholm.
  • Symposium in Honor of Shmuel Eisenstadt, 2006[10]
    • Participants: Jack A. Goldstone, Jonathan Friedman, Sverre Bagge, Johann P. Arnason, Donald Levine, Bernhard Giesen, Shalini Randeria, Jeffrey Alexander, Fredrik Barth, Rajeev Bhargava, Said Amir Arjomand, Shalini Randeria, Luis Roniger, Nina Witoszek-FitzPatrick, Yehuda Elkana, Georg Klein, Bernt Hagtvet and Jeffrey Alexander.
  • Symposium in Honor of Ronald Dworkin, 2007 [11]
    • Participants: Jan Fridthjof Bernt, Stephen Guest, Frank Henry Sommer, Jeremy Bentham's severed head, Jeremy Waldron, Peter Koller, Rebecca Brown, Seana Shiffrin, Thomas Nagel, Rainer Forst, Dietmar von der Pfordten and Synne Sæther Mæhle.
  • Symposium in Honor of Fredric Jameson, 2008 [12]
    • Participants: William A. Lane, Jr, Astrid Söderbergh Widding, Paik Nak-chung, Maria Elisa Cevasco, Wang Hui, Michael Löwy, Perry Anderson, Sara Danius, Helmut F. Stern and Xiaobing Tang.
  • Symposium in Honor of Ian Hacking, 2009 [13]
    • Participants: Ragnar Fjelland, Professor Dagfinn Føllesdal, Bruna De Marchi and Merle Jacob.
  • Symposium in Honor of Natalie Zemon Davies, 2010 – "Doing decentered history – the global in the local" [14]
    • Participants: Bonnie G. Smith, David Abulafia, Joan W. Scott, Ida Blom and Erling Sverdrup Sandmo.
  • Symposium in Honor of Jürgen Kocka, 2011 – "Civil Society and the Welfare State: Competitors or allies?" [15]
    • Participants: Theda Skocpol, Christoph Conrad, Per Selle, Simone Lässig, Stein Kuhnle and Ivar Bleiklie.
  • Symposium in Honor of Manuel Castells, 2012 – "Media and Democracy" [16]
    • Participants: Ivar Bleiklie, Helga Nowotny, Göran Therborn, Helen Margetts, Andrew Chadwick, Jostein Gripsrud, Terhi Rantanen, Annabelle Sreberny, William Dutton and Mette Andersson.


The Holberg Prize Academic Committee is composed of five members:

Other prizes

As part of its research dissemination targeting younger people, the committee also awards the Nils Klim Prize to an academic below the age of 35, and the Holberg Prize Schools Project to a high school.[17]


  1. ^ "Sociologist Manuel Castells wins 2012 Holberg Prize". University World News. 15 April 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  2. ^ Bruno Latour wins the 2013 Holberg Prize, Holberg Prize
  3. ^ "Michael Cook Statement from the Holberg Committee". Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  4. ^ "Marina Warner Statement from the Holberg Committee". Holbergprisen.no. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  5. ^ "Stephen Greenblatt Statement from the Holberg Committee". Holbergprisen.no. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  6. ^ Publisert 10 March 2017. "Onora O'Neill Statement from the Holberg Committee". Holberg.uib.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  7. ^ Publisert 10 March 2017 (2018-03-13). "2018 Holberg Prize". Holberg.uib.no. 
  8. ^ "Holbergprisens symposium 2004: Julia Kristeva Holbergprisen" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "Holbergprisens symposium 2005: Jürgen Habermas "Religion in the Public Sphere" Holbergprisen" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  10. ^ "Holbergprisens symposium 2006: Shmuel N. Eisenstadt Holbergprisen" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "Holbergprisens symposium 2007: Ronald Dworkin Holbergprisen" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "Holbergprisens symposium 2008: Fredric R. Jameson Holbergprisen" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "Holbergprisens symposium 2009 Holbergprisen" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  14. ^ "Holbergprisens symposium 2010: Doing decentered history – the global in the local Holbergprisen" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  15. ^ "Holbergprisens symposium 2011: "Civil Society and the Welfare State: Competitors or allies?" Holbergprisen" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  16. ^ "Holbergprisens symposium 2012: Media and Democracy Holbergprisen" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Holbergprisen.no. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  17. ^ The Holberg Prize – School projects

External links