On 23 June 2023 at a ceremony of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome, Reinhard Zimmermann, Director Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, was presented with the 2023 Antonio Feltrinelli Prize in the presence of Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic.
The Antonio Feltrinelli Prize, endowed with 100,000 Euros, has been awarded to Reinhard Zimmermann for his pioneering contribution to the Europeanization of legal studies. In his congratulatory remarks, the president of the Accademia, Roberto Antonelli, honoured Zimmermann as an exceptional legal scholar who has played a profound role in the creation of a new “ius commune europaeum”. Antonelli deemed Zimmermann’s work a central component in the historical-comparative study of the law of obligations, particularly contract law, as well as the law of succession, noting that he combines a sound understanding of law and legal theory with a broad cultural perspective. Zimmermann’s works, written mainly in German and English, and his teaching and lecturing activities in Europe and on other continents have formed a bridge between traditions that, though different, have converging values at their core.
The Antonio Feltrinelli Prize stands as Italy’s highest tribute for exceptional achievement in the areas of scholarship and culture. With the award, the Italian National Academy honours Italian and foreign scholars and artists annually. Four of the five international prizes in 2023 have been bestowed on German recipients. Alongside Reinhard Zimmermann, Anselm Kiefer (art), Wolf Dieter Heilmeyer (archaeology) and the duo of Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci (medicine) have been singled out for recognition.
The Antonio Feltrinelli Prize derives from a testamentary foundation along the lines of the Nobel Foundation and has been given out since 1950 by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, established in 1603. The first winner was Thomas Mann. To date, four jurists have been honoured: Ernst Rabel (1955), founder of the current Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law; Hans Kelsen (1960) constitutional law scholar and legal theorist; and Franz Wieacker (1985), legal historian.
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