Nils Klim Prize

The Board of the Holberg Prize awards the Nils Klim prize to a young Nordic researcher in the academic fields of the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology. The prize winner must be under 35 years of age on the final date for nominations.

The Nils Klim Prize is awarded to researchers who have made an outstanding contribution, either within one of the relevant fields alone or of an interdisciplinary nature. Particular importance is attached to the researcher’s independence and innovative ability. Consideration is also given to whether the research contribution in question can be deemed particularly outstanding or promising in light of the researcher’s age, the nature of the research project and the research traditions in the academic field in question.

About Nils Klim

The Nils Klim Prize is named after the hero of Ludvig Holberg’s novel Nils Klim’s Subterranean Journey from 1741. The book tells the story of Nils Klim, who, while exploring a cave in Bergen, falls down into a subterranean world where he comes across many different societies and creatures. In the tradition of other fictional travelogues of the period, including Thomas More’s Utopia and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Holberg informs us, in the true spirit of the Enlightenment, that the world is much bigger than people previously supposed and that it is home to a myriad of highly disparate natural conditions and societies, customs and traditions. Nils Klim’s Subterranean Journey was originally written in Latin and it contributed to securing a large readership for Ludvig Holberg in Europe.

The Board makes the award on the basis of the recommendation of the Nils Klim Committee, which consists of outstanding Nordic scholars in the relevant academic fields. The prize is worth NOK 250,000 (approximately EUR 34,000 / USD 43,000, as of December 2012).

Nils Klim Committee

  • Frans Gregersen, Professor, Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics University of Copenhagen
  • Björn Wittrock, Director, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study; Professor of Political Science, Uppsala University
  • Kirsti Strøm Bull, Professor of Department of Private Law, University of Oslo
  • Vilhjálmur Árnason, professor of Philosophy at the University of Iceland
  • Elina Vuola, Adjunct Professor of Theology at the University of Helsinki