In 2001, the Water Foundation established the International Hundertwasser Prize as a tribute to the work of the artist, ecologist and philosopher Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The Prize commemorates Hundertwasser’s lifelong dedication to the protection of nature and to the aim of enabling people to live in dignity and peace.
The International Hundertwasser Prize is awarded to companies, organizations, initiatives or individuals in recognition of outstanding contributions to the sustainable use of water as a natural resource – in the areas of drinking water provision, basic sanitation or reforestation in developing countries.
The prize, amounting to 5 000 euros, is awarded every three years.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) was one of the most interesting artistic personalities of the twentieth century. Born in Vienna as Friedrich Stowasser, he later assumed the name Hundertwasser Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt (literally: “Hundred-Water Peace-Realm Rainy Day Darkly Multicolored”) or Friedensreich Hundertwasser for short.
Hundertwasser was known across the globe as an artist and architect, and also played a prominent role as an ecologist and philosopher in the service of peace and environmental protection. His work was influenced by the philosopher Heraclitus, with his emphasis—enshrined in the saying “Ta panta rhei”: “everything flows”—that the world is in a constant state of change, determined by the cycle of growth and decay. Nature and water occupy a central position in Hundertwasser’s activities: for example, in creating posters for the conservation of the Danube wetlands, for whale protection, and for the preservation of the oceans and rain forests.
Only a few weeks before his sudden death on February 19, 2000, the artist agreed to become a patron of the Water Foundation. The Hundertwasser Foundation kindly took over this role and has continued to support the Foundation.