On Europe Day (9 May) the European Cultural Foundation has presented four outstanding laureates with the 2017 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture: literary writer and columnist Aslı Erdoğan (Istanbul), writer and scholar Navid Kermani (Cologne), musician Luc Mishalle (Brussels), and visual artist Marina Naprushkina (Berlin).

Watch the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture 2017 - Award Ceremony 9 May 2017 (Europe Day) video. Photo by Xander Remkes.

Ruth Mackenzie reading the jury statement during the 2017 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture ceremony at Paradiso Amsterdam. Photo by Xander Remkes.

Ruth Mackenzie reading the jury statement during the 2017 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture ceremony at Paradiso Amsterdam. Photo by Xander Remkes.

Attended by more than 560 international guests, the award ceremony was hosted by ECF’s Director Katherine Watson at Paradiso, Amsterdam. The laureates received the award from HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, which includes a sum of € 20.000 per laureate.


All four laureates—who represent different generations, different parts of Europe and different cultural approaches— are exceptional artists and thinkers, and have shown great courage in imagining and reshaping society in the 21st century. On behalf of the international jury artistic leader of Holland Festival Ruth Mackenzie praised this year’s laureates, who were chosen from a shortlist of candidates nominated by experts and cultural makers from across Europe. The laureates dare to hope for a brighter future, for which the jury commends them.

“The tireless efforts of cultural beacons such as Aslı, Navid, Luc and Marina and the people they work with, inspire us with hope: they breathe life into the idea that culture can contribute to an opening of minds to that which is different, without falling prey to fragmentation. The European Cultural Foundation, my fellow jury members and I hope that this award will amplify their already astonishing work, and that it will aid a gradual and wider appreciation of culture beyond its preconceived limits.” 


Laureate Aslı Erdoğan, was unable to travel abroad and attend the ceremony. She was represented by her French publisher, Timour Muhidine. He read her moving acceptance speech, in which she dedicated her Award to silent victims all over the world: “I have dedicated a lifetime of writing to voice the wound, the void and the victim. Hence, I dedicate my Award to the silent screams of all victims, those within us too... Without their screams and stories, our word, hence our world will be even more devoid of meaning.”


The 2017 Princess Margriet Award for Culture Laureates

Aslı Erdoğan, Istanbul (b 1967)
Writer and columnist Aslı Erdoğan's literary oeuvre includes novels, novellas and short stories, all of which engage readers as they display humanity in all its fragility. In her columns, Aslı raises her defiant voice on behalf of and together with the oppressed, calling violence by its name and illuminating a vision of society based on non-violence and political and cultural inclusivity. In light of Aslı’s treatment by the authorities, which mirrors the persecution of innumerable other writers, journalists and intellectuals, to honour her is to stand with her and her peers, to offer a gesture of solidarity in the face of adversity and in defence of humanity.

Navid Kermani, Cologne (b 1967)
Novelist, orientalist scholar and journalist Navid Kermani’s writing spans many forms. As a writer he has produced novels, media reports, plays and children’s books and is known as a literary cosmopolitan who is never satisfied with simplistic answers or simple identities. His fiction deals with existential subjects including death, rapture and art. As an academic, Navid has displayed a detailed historical understanding of how eastern and western intellectual undercurrents intertwine. As a journalist, he has offered insightful perspectives on the acceptance of migrants, countering divisive views on refugee issues. Navid’s exceptional contribution to cultural debate has been to challenge increasingly extremist narratives of discrimination and racism, arguing instead for greater solidarity in the face of fragmentation.

Luc Mishalle, Brussels (b 1953)
Saxophonist and composer Luc Mishalle juggles many roles, most of which converge in his artistic directorship of MET-X. Based in Brussels, this house of music makers performs music and provides educational programmes that are inspired by a range of musical genres and traditions, from brass to folk, from electronic to jazz, and involving musicians from all generations. His projects are always about community building, whether in Brussels neighbourhoods, across Europe or in North or West Africa. Mishalle has the ability to tap into feelings of belonging and inclusion. By doing so he gives shape to the new social composition of Europe in a musical way.

Marina Naprushkina, Berlin (b 1981)
Berlin-based artist Marina Naprushkina's multi-media projects, including video, installation and newspapers, have been organised since 2007 under the imaginary Office for Anti-Propaganda. Informed by her own experience growing up in Belarus, Naprushkina examines the structure of authoritarian systems to determine the role of art and creative activism in changing the political status quo. Naprushkina was nominated with special reference to her project Neue Nachbarschaft//Moabit, a self-organising community in Moabit with self-empowerment at its heart. It is here that old and new Berliners are finding collaborative ways of living together, opening up art’s potential to contribute to Europe’s common future.

More information about the Award


The Award has been presented on 9 May 2017 (Europe Day) in cultural centre Paradiso, Amsterdam

→ Read HRH Princess Laurentien's Speech.

2017 Award Jury

  • Andreas Broeckmann (Curator, Leuphana Arts Program, Lüneburg/Berlin)
  • Juan Freire (Founding partner XTribe, EduCaaS and inViable, Madrid, Madrid)
  • Ivan Krastev (Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia)
  • Ruth Mackenzie (Artistic Leader Holland Festival, Amsterdam)
  • Saskia van Stein (Director of Bureau Europa, platform for architecture & design, Maastricht)

The Laureates each receive €20,000.

→Read the 2017 Jury Report.

Selection process

For the 2017 edition ECF invited nominations from two groups:

  • Experts in different regions with broad perspectives on cultural practice, including professionals from within and beyond ECF’s broader network
  • Groups of individuals and organisations who through various programmes and grant schemes were part of ECF’s community of practice in past years.

Each nominator was invited to make one proposal. ECF staff then researched and assembled portfolios of the nominees which were sent to the Jury in advance of the Jury meeting in November. The Jury then selected the laureates.

→ Download the award guidelines