The Médaille Charlemagne pour les médias européens (Charlemagne Award for the European media) is a European media prize awarded to a personality or an institution that have rendered special services for the process of European unification and the formation of a European identity. The prize is in particular awarded for European merits in the categories of printed media, television, film, radio and the Internet.
The Médaille Charlemagne pour les médias européens is awarded by a sponsoring association of the same name. The location of the ceremony and the seat of the association is the European City Aachen. This deliberate choice of site emphasizes the fact that the award of the medal is linked to the presentation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen (Karlspreis) as far as time and content are concerned.
Being a media award the Médaille Charlemagne is non-monetary.
To appreciate the merits of the award winners an elaborately made medal is presented at a ceremony in the town hall of Aachen.
History of the award
Until 2005 the Médaille Charlemagne pour les médias européens was awarded by a loosely organized group which included the Media Authority North Rhine-Westfalia (Landesanstalt für Medien Nordrhein-Westfalen), the European Media Institute and the City of Aachen.
These beginnings gave rise to the idea of embedding the activities of the Médaille Charlemagne award into a firm, organizational framework.
On January 27, 2006 the association of Médaille Charlemagne pour les médias européens was established as a sponsoring organization of this European media award. The founding members were the City of Aachen, the German-speaking Community of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Media Authority North Rhine-Westfalia (Landesanstalt für Medien Nordrhein Westfalen), BBC World News, EOS Entertainment GmbH, EuroNews, Eurosport, Film Foundation North Rhine-Westfalia (Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen) and TV 5 Monde.
Design of the Médaille
The award of the prize winners of the Médaille Charlemagne pour les médias européens is effected by means of the presentation of an elaborately made medal at a ceremony in the town hall of Aachen.
Master goldsmith and master designer Angela Katzy designed the Médaille. It has a diameter of approximately 100 mm and is worked in 925/000 silver. The monogram of Charlemagne stands out on a silver base plate whereby the so-called v-shaped execution line (“Vollziehungsstrich”), with which Charlemagne signature-wise completed the monogram, is made of a Lapislazuli which is captured in 750 yellow gold.
The artist has deliberately applied precious metals in order to emphasize the value of the European integration and to symbolize the importance of the project.
The monogram of Charlemagne itself features the letters of the Latin word for Charlemagne – Karolus – in the form of a cross, not written, however, with the usual Latin C but with the Franconian letter K. This symbolizes the fact that the legacy of the Roman Empire had passed over to Franconia.
All the vowels of the word Karolus must be read from the middle. The arrangement of the Charlemagne monogram in the form of a cross not only emphasizes the relationship to Christianity characteristic of the Carolingian empire, but also indicates that the King of the Franks regarded himself as the first person of Christianity.
Today the monogram of Charlemagne can be considered a European symbol. The center of the Médaille, for example, can also be seen as an open window symbolizing the openness of a common European House.
The Médaille Charlemagne is by the way the second prize created by Angela Katzy. The Walter Hallstein Prize which is being awarded by the City of Frankfurt, the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and the Dresden Bank for the development of the European Union as a peace order, was also designed by her.