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*Wikipedia receives the Erasmus Prize for collective achievement of its

   - *Becomes the first collaborative community to receive the honor*

The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation (Dutch <>,
English <>) in the Netherlands has
announced that it will award the Erasmus Prize 2015 to Wikipedia and the
Wikimedia community. The Erasmus Prize is one of Europe’s most
distinguished recognitions, awarded annually to “a person or institution
that has made an exceptional contribution to culture, society or social

“The Erasmus Prize has a wonderful history of recognizing people who
contribute great things to our shared culture, and I am thrilled that
Wikipedia now joins these ranks,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.
“I am particularly pleased to note that this is the first time a really
large community of people - and the millions of you who have built
Wikipedia to date know who you are - has received this prestigious award.”

The official announcement came from the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation on
the same day that Wikipedia marks its 14th anniversary, today, January 15,
2015. This honor provides all the more reason to celebrate the remarkable
community whose contributions have made Wikipedia the most comprehensive
repository of free information in the history of humanity.

“I can’t think of a better present for all of the tireless Wikipedia
contributors around the world than to win the Erasmus Prize on our 14th
birthday,” said Jan-Bart de Vreede, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation’s
Board of Trustees and a citizen of the Netherlands where the Praemium
Erasmianum Foundation was founded. “I sincerely thank the Praemium
Erasmianum Foundation for this great honor.”

In presenting Wikipedia with the Erasmus Prize, the Praemium
Erasmianum Foundation
pointed to the massive contribution that volunteers all across the globe
have made:

“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.”

“I am proud that Wikipedia is being recognized for the incredible
collective impact it has had to date,” said Lila Tretikov, Executive
Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “As we look to the future of free
knowledge, we will continue to be guided by the principles the Erasmus
Prize today honors.”

This honor is accompanied by an award of €150,000. In keeping with the
Praemium Erasmianum Foundation’s intent to recognize the contributions of
the Wikimedia community, the Wikimedia Foundation is redirecting these
funds towards the Wikipedia community in the form of individual grants and
other support for editors and contributors.

*About the Wikimedia Foundation*


The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia consists of more than 33.5
million articles in 287 languages. Every month, hundreds of thousands of
active volunteers contribute to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects.
According to comScore Media Metrix, the projects operated by the Wikimedia
Foundation receive 460 million unique visitors per month on desktop alone,
making them one of the ten most popular web properties worldwide (October
2014). Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an
audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and

*Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact*

Katherine Maher

   - +1 415-839-6885 ext 6633
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