Article 2 of the Constitution of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation reads as follows:
Within the context of the cultural traditions of Europe in general and the ideas of Erasmus in particular, the aim of the Foundation is to enhance the position of the humanities, the social sciences and the arts, and to promote appreciation of these fields within society. The emphasis is on tolerance, cultural pluralism, and un-dogmatic, critical thinking. The Foundation endeavours to achieve this aim through the award of prizes and by other means; a money prize is awarded to a person or institution under the name of Erasmus Prize.
In accordance with this article, His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Patron of the Foundation, has confirmed the decision of the Board of the Foundation to award the Erasmus Prize for the year 2003 to Alan Davidson.
The prize is awarded to mr Davidson on the following grounds:
– By his personal approach to the study of food, Davidson has reached a wide readership and opened the eyes of many for the pluralism of our eating cultures and the importance of food history.
– Author of exceptional books on seafood, Alan Davidson combines scholarly thoroughness, erudition and an infectious enthusiasm with a lucid style of writing.
– Together with his wife Jane, Alan Davidson has founded the magazine Petits Propos Culinaires, which has become an influential source for the study of the history of food.
– By initiating, together with Theodore Zeldin, the Oxford Symposium on Food, Davidson has created an international forum for both professional and amateur food historians, thereby giving a strong stimulus to the study of food in its cultural context.
– His life work is embodied in the authoritative Oxford Companion to Food, a solid work of reference, which will be a standard for years.
– In short, through his work, Alan Davidson can be regarded as a pace-setter in the revaluation of food as a factor of cultural significance.