The Holberg Prize was established by the Norwegian Parliament 1 July 2003, and was awarded for the first time in 2004.The objective of the prize is to increase awareness of the value of academic scholarship within the arts,humanities, social sciences, law and theology. The Prize amounts to 4.5 million Norwegian kroner (approximately €495,000 or $525,000). The prize is named after the Danish-Norwegian writer Ludvig Holberg, who excelled in all of the sciences covered by the award.
The Holberg Prize is funded by the Government Budget through a direct allocation from the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research to the University of Bergen, who administers the Prize on behalf of the ministry. As part of it's research dissemination targeting younger people, the Holberg Prize also awards the Nils Klim Prize to an outstanding Nordic scholar below the age of 35, and a prize to a Norwegian High Schools through the Holberg Prize School Project.