Former Laureates

The Austrian people

The Austrian people


It was in the auditorium of the University of Milan that the Erasmus Prize was awarded for the first time in 1958. The award was unusual in that it was given not to an individual or an institution, but to a group: the Austrian people.

The reasons for this award are expressed in the citation: “Amid political, economic and social circumstances, and confronted with an immense cultural reorientation, Austria did not lose itself in nostalgic longings for a glorious past but set itself the aim of not merely accepting its cultural heritage but of securing it, renewing it, and integrating it within a European perspective. Thus Austria, with its capital Vienna, has become the shining example of a positive mentality, of courage, energy and confidence in the future of Europe, by the way in which as a ‘minorité créatrice’ it opened paths for the free nations of Europe to follow.”

In 1958 a committee consisting of prominent Austrian politicians and the Dutch ambassador to Austria was appointed to allocate the prize funds. They decided to institute grants to Austrians studying in Europe and to foreign students in Austria. Part of the prize was allocated to the Austrian excavations at Ephesus.

Ladies at the Reception, 1958

Ladies at the reception of the ceremony of the first Erasmus Prize in 1958.


A view of Milan, the city where the first Eramus Prize award ceremony was held in 1958.

First Ceremony Erasmus Prize

During the reception of the first Erasmus Prize award ceremony Milan, 1958.

First award ceremony of the Erasmus prize

The first award ceremony of the Erasmus Prize in Milan, 1958.