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Who we are


The A.Wilhelmsen Foundation is a foundation that contributes with financial aid to research and education by awarding scholarships. The Foundation may also provide support to the maritime education of Norwegian seamen, including Norwegian ship officers. In addition the foundation may consider supporting other similar projects at the Board’s discretion. 

The Foundation also supports Norwegian seamen or seafarers by awarding an annual Mariner’s Prize to a person or an institution that, in the past year, has made a special contribution to Norwegian seamen and seafarers.

Our story

The A. Wilhelmsen Foundation was founded in memory of the A. Wilhelmsen group of companies’ founder, Anders Wilhelmsen and his wife Aslaug Wilhelmsen.

The family originates from Tjøme (Brøtsø/Hvasser), and includes generations of seamen. Three of the Wilhelmsen brothers were skippers, while Anders Wilhelmsen, after secondary school, commercial college and some practical experience, became a ship owner. After a modest start, Anders Wilhelmsen’s shipping company became one of Norway’s most versatile, with interests ranging from tanker shipping, cruise, investment management and property management and retail. In 1958 and 1954 Anders Wilhelmsen’s sons, Gjert and Arne, entered the company as employees.

Anders Wilhelmsen and his sons were concerned with the welfare of seamen. Particular attention was given to providing good social conditions on board their ships. The shipping company was known for its positive environment and made a good impression during the Neptuniaden competitions on Norwegian merchant ships in the 1960s.

The importance of cultural engagement for Wilhelmsen’s was highlighted through the fourteen years as a member of the Board of the Norwegian Maritime Museum.

As a result of thoughtful shipping investment decisions in the time before the six-day war in the Middle East in 1967, Anders Wilhelmsen’s shipping company was economically well equipped to invest in the new business of cruise ships. Unfortunately, Anders Wilhelmsen did not get the chance to fully experience the success of this business . However, the cruise adventure was built by his sons Gjert and Arne. In the summer of 1969, Anders Wilhelmsen past away, aged 70.

On the 13th April 1999, a meeting, led by Anders and Aslaug's two sons, was held. During this meeting the Foundation was founded and the purpose was defined.

Anders Wilhelmsens sons, Gjert and Arne, wanted the purpose of the Foundation to have a background in their parents’ interests for the maritime environment and the importance of taking an education.

There has always been a clear business philosophy that Awilhelmsen AS will endeavour to create value ​​for the society while pursuing its own commercial goals.

Historically, the family has contributed to many research and education related measures with the main emphasis in the maritime sector. Gjert and Arne were very proud of the results that have been created.

This is how we operate


The A. Wilhelmsen Foundation is headed by a board comprising of five members. The Board must include one person from the Awilhelmsen group who has special insight into and expertise business, in addition to a business lawyer. The board elects its successors.

Each board member serves for a period of four years and can be re-elected for two new periods.

The Board is responsible for the satisfactory management of the Foundation’s funds in accordance with its purpose.  The Board represent the Foundation externally. 

All decisions made by the Board must take place in board meetings and shall be entered into the board minutes.

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