2 October 2019

The Spinoza Prize is the highest scientific distinction in the Netherlands

Bas van Bavel presented with the highest distinction in Dutch science

Uitreiking Spinozapremie 2019 © NWO, fotografie: Bram Saeys
Spinoza Prize 2019 © NWO, photo by Bram Saeys

Today, minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven presented Utrecht University Economic historian professor Bas van Bavel with the Spinoza Prize. The Spinoza Prize is the highest scientific distinction in the Netherlands. The Faculty Professor Transitions of Economy and Society is one of the world’s greatest experts in the area of socioeconomic history. He developed an entirely new vision about the role of the market economy in our society.

Prof. dr. Bas van Bavel © NWO, fotografie: Bram Saeys
Prof. Bas van Bavel © NWO, photo by Bram Saeys

According to the Spinoza Prize selection committee, Van Bavel has a broad interest and a powerful research agenda, for which he keeps on finding surprising and original perspectives. He enjoys a considerable international reputation, writes in renowned international journals and has won a considerable number of prizes.

RESILIENT SOCIETIES 

Van Bavel developed an entirely new vision about the role of the market economy in our society. In the much-discussed book The Invisible Hand? How market economies have emerged and declined since AD 500, Van Bavel refutes the idea that our market economy is an indispensable condition for prosperity and the rule of law. His research is driven by the question as to how societies develop in the long term and how differences in their development can be explained. What makes some societies more successful and resilient than others?

I want to investigate the institutional pillars of prosperity and see which coordination systems have been used by societies in the past, how they developed and how they contributed to the realisation of a "good society" that offered broad prosperity and provided us with inspiration to face the challenges in today's society.
Professor Transitions of Economy and Society

INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION PROVIDES A FULLER PICTURE

Van Bavel looks beyond the boundaries of his own discipline and collaborates with economists, sociologists, political scientists and ethicists: "Combining expertise from different disciplines, is incredibly important because it allows me to analyse an issue from different perspectives, which gives rise to a far fuller picture."

Zes toponderzoekers ontvingen de NWO-Spinozapremie en de -Stevinpremie uit handen van minister van Engelshoven van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap in de Koninklijke Schouwburg in Den Haag. © NWO, fotografie: Bram Saeys
Six top researchers will receive the NWO Spinoza Prize and NWO Stevin Prize from the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, in the Koninklijke Schouwburg (Royal Theatre) in The Hague. © NWO, photo by Bram Saeys