About the Mandeville Lecture

The Mandeville Lecture, named after the Rotterdam-born philosopher and physician Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733), is a special honorary degree awarded by Erasmus University Rotterdam. It is a token of appreciation for the recipient’s significant social achievements.

After the Lecture, the laureate is presented with the Mandeville Medal and the award certificate. The Mandeville Lecture is an initiative of Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Rotterdam business community (Club Rotterdam) and the Erasmus Trust Fund, united in the Bernard Mandeville Foundation. Previous laureates include Jean-Claude Trichet, Jeroen van der Veer and Carla Del Ponte.

Bernard Mandeville

The man the Foundation takes its name from, Bernard Mandeville (Rotterdam 1670 – Hackney 1733), was raised in Rotterdam. He attended lectures given by Pierre Bayle at Rotterdam’s Illustre School. He studied philosophy and medicine at Leiden University. In 1691 he took up residence in London, where he made a name for himself as a physician.

A prolific writer, Mandeville’s many publications include a work on psychiatric disorders and a critique of slavery. His best known work is The Fable of the Bees, which bears the subtitle ‘Private Vices, Public Benefits’. The work, which focuses on the motives of individuals and the effect that they have on society, caused a stir when it was first published. Mandeville’s thinking essentially proclaims that people by nature are rather greedy and selfish. Although aimed at his own interest his deeds will lead to social progress.

Bernard Mandeville Foundation

The Foundation Bernard Mandeville was established in 1988 on the initiative of Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Rotterdam business community, as represented by the Rotterdam Business Club. Meanwhile the Vereniging Trustfonds EUR has joined this initiative as well. The Foundation is dedicated to periodically express appreciation for remarkable social merits demonstrated by individuals from the Netherlands or any other country.

As one of the means to achieve its objective, the Foundation has instituted the Mandeville Lecture series. Lectures are organized with some degree of regularity, and allow a wide audience to become acquainted with the lecturer’s views.

Board & Office

Board Bernard Mandeville Foundation
Professor H.A.P. Pols (chairman), professor I.D. de Beaufort, A.M. Breeman, professor M.C.R. Grever, professor S.L. van de Velde, P. Witteveen, P.H.M.J. Weisglas

Office Bernard Mandeville Foundation
Drs. P. Kuijt
Mw. M.H.B.M. van Kester, Pedel
Mw. M. Jansen, secretary Executive Board