Erasmus Prize 2015 for Wikipedia
Wikipedia receives the prize because it has promoted the dissemination of knowledge through a comprehensive and universally accessible encyclopaedia. To achieve that, the initiators of Wikipedia have designed a new and effective democratic platform. The prize specifically recognises Wikipedia as a community — a shared project that involves tens of thousands of volunteers around the world who help shape this initiative.
Sandra Rientjes, Director Wikimedia Nederland: “Wikipedia is one of the main sources of information for many people, also in the Netherlands. Not everyone realises that in the Netherlands alone there are hundreds of volunteers active behind the scenes. Worldwide, there are thousands. The Erasmus Prize is deservedly awarded to the Wikipedia community. The prize is the crowning glory of their work."
By distributing knowledge to places where it was previously unavailable, Wikipedia also plays an important role in countries where neutrality and open information are not taken for granted. With its worldwide reach and social impact, Wikipedia does justice to the idea of a single yet diverse world. It is a digital reference work available in various languages, undergoing permanent development. Through its open character, Wikipedia highlights how sources of knowledge are not neutral and must always be weighed. With its critical attention to text, sources and the expansion of knowledge, Wikipedia reflects the ideas of Erasmus, the world citizen after whom the prize is named.
The Erasmus Prize is awarded annually to a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to culture, society or social science. The award consists of a cash prize of € 150,000. The prize will be awarded to representatives of the Wikipedia community at a date to be determined in the autumn of 2015.