About Spinozalens

Since 1999, the International Spinoza Award Foundation has awarded a biennial prize to world-renowned thinkers who deal with ethics and society. Those eligible are internationally renowned scientists, philosophers, and writers who have made their mark researching society’s ethical principles.

The prize consists of a sculpture and a sum of €10,000. A special publication giving an introduction to the laureate’s work is also presented at the ceremony.

In 2011, it was decided that every year, around Spinoza’s birthday on November 24th, a thinker should be honoured.

Within a two-year central theme, one year is dedicated to the legacy of a deceased thinker, and the following year focuses on a contemporary thinker.

The ‘historical’ thinker is honoured with an educational introduction in Dutch created for secondary and higher education students.


‘Peace is not the absence of war. It is a virtue that comes from willpower and persistent hankering.’

Baruch de Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus

Why the name Spinozalens?

The Spinozalens is named after the most famous philosopher that The Netherlands has ever produced, Baruch de Spinoza. In his work, particularly in his magnum opus Ethica, Spinoza was an advocate for values such as reason and tolerance.

The immense value of Spinoza’s ideas certainly was not reflected in his income. The permanently destitute philosopher ground optical lenses to earn his daily bread, but despite this, his writings were the focus of attention. Many of Spinoza’s contemporaries recognized that he was laying the foundations for a new basis for morality.

De onschatbare waarde van Spinoza’s denken drukte zich niet uit in zijn inkomen. De immer armlastige filosoof voorzag in zijn dagelijks onderhoud door het slijpen van lenzen. Toch stonden zijn geschriften in het brandpunt van de belangstelling. Veel tijdgenoten herkenden dat Spinoza het perspectief opende op een nieuwe grondslag voor de moraal.

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