Former Laureates

Willem Sandberg

Willem Sandberg


Willem Sandberg (1897-1984) was director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam from 1945 to 1962. The Erasmus Prize was awarded to Sandberg because he pursued an original and often daring policy, by which he made the museum into a world renown artistic centre, and a source of inspiration. From the start he tried to acquaint the public with artists who were the forerunners of inevitable movements in society. By exhibiting the many aspects of contemporary creativity (industrial design, photography, typography) he stimulated modern art, and established links between fine arts, applied arts, architecture, film and music. Sandberg emphasized the qualities of vitality, creativity and experiment in art, and was instrumental in encouraging contact between the public and contemporary art. Willem Sandberg played an important role in the resistance during World War II. His social engagement was considerable. The many exhibitions that took place under his direction, and whose catalogues he himself designed - he was a gifted typographer -, include Le Corbusier (1946), Kunst en Kind (Art and the Child) (1948), Cobra (1949), Moore (1950), Guggenheim, de Stijl (1951), Pollock (1958), Bewogen Beweging (Moved Movement) (1961) and Dylaby (1962). Sandberg often wrote about art and especially typography. After having left the Stedelijk Museum he was engaged in the building of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The Erasmus Prize 1975 was awarded to both Willem Sandberg and Sir Ernst Gombrich.
Willem Sandberg devoted his part of the Erasmus Prize to the ‘Jerusalem Programme in Art and Science’, a project that embraced an interdisciplinary research and study programme with the aim of bridging the gap of understanding between institutions of higher education concerned with pure scholarship on the one hand, pure art on the other.

HRH Prince Bernhard with Willem Sandberg

HRH Prince Bernhard and Willem Sandberg, Erasmus Prize winner in 1975 and former director of the Stedelijk Museum.