His Majesty the King to present 2023 Erasmus Prize to Trevor Noah

On the afternoon of Tuesday 28 November, His Majesty the King will present the Erasmus Prize to the South African comedian Trevor Noah (born 1984 in Johannesburg) at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. The King is the Patron of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. Princess Beatrix will also attend the ceremony. 

The jury awarded the prize to Mr Noah for his inspired contribution to the theme of this year’s prize ‘In Praise of Folly.’ The theme is taken from the title of Erasmus’s most famous book, which is filled with humour, social criticism and political satire. With his talent for sharp, linguistic and inclusive political comedy, the jury found that Mr Noah upholds the ‘Erasmian Spirit.’ 

‘As a humourist, television presenter, political commentator, philanthropist and author, he has staked his claim in the world of contemporary political satire. In his autobiography “Born a Crime”, Mr Noah describes how, as a child with a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father during the Apartheid era, he was confronted early on in his life with institutionalised racism and violence. Instead of reacting to injustice with cynicism, Mr Noah exposes its absurdities, and combats these struggles with the liberating power of laughter,’ the jury said about him in its report. Through his reflections on the rise of fake news, the presidency of Donald Trump, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, he has reached a young and diverse global audience, infusing a breath of fresh air into a polarised media landscape. 

The Erasmus Prize, which comes with a cash award of €150,000, is awarded annually to a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to the humanities, the social sciences or the arts in the framework of European cultural traditions . The Praemium Erasmianum foundation sets a different theme each year. The only other time in its 65-year history it was awarded to a comedian was in 1965, when the late Prince Bernhard presented it to Charlie Chaplin.

Government Information Service, no. 295