The International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen, first awarded in 1950, is the oldest and most renowned prize that honours personalities or institutions for work done in the service of Europe and European unification.
The idea of the Charlemagne Prize was brought to life on 19th December 1949 by the citizens of Aachen. Its initiator, Dr. Kurt Pfeiffer, formulated the concept and objective of the award as follows: “The Charlemagne Prize reaches into the future, and at the same time it embodies an obligation – an obligation of the highest ethical value. It is directed at a voluntary union of the European peoples without constraint, so that in their newfound strength they may defend the highest earthly goods – freedom, humanity and peace – provide effective aid to peoples suffering under oppression and poverty, and safeguard the future of their children and children’s children.”
The award was named after Charlemagne, who is viewed as the first unifier of Europe and who chose Aachen at the end of the 8th century as his favourite seat of residence. In this way, the connection was established between Europe’s past and its future.
You can find detailed information in English on the history of the Charlemagne Prize and on all those who have received the award on the city’s website aachen.de and on the official website of the Charlemagne Prize: karlspreis.de