At the end of May 2017, the long-standing chair and full professor of Nordic history, Prof. Dr. Jens E. Olesen, was bestowed with the title of honorary doctor from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki. In celebration of 100 years of Finnish independence and the start of the Reformation 500 years ago, several honorary doctors were awarded. Federal Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, also received the honour in absentia.
Hundreds of academic doctors were present at the ceremony in the great Aula, which lasted several hours. Professor Olesen was presented his certificate and doctoral insignia - a sword and a hat - ceremoniously. ‘I am very touched. The atmosphere in the University’s venerable Aula was fantastic. That’s not something you experience every day’, said the historian.
The University of Helsinki, founded in 1640, is the oldest university in Finland. By bestowing the University’s insignia, it continues a centuries-old tradition. The sword is a symbol for the defence of science. In this thank-you speech, Professor Olesen referred to the central importance of universities for the upholding of a free and critical formation of opinion and to aspects of the long and heroic history of Finland.
Prof. Dr. Jens E. Olesen has researched and taught Scandinavian and Finnish history at the University of Greifswald since 1996. His key fields of research include the Danish and Swedish Crusades, the Kalmar Union from 1397 to 1520 and Nordic history of the 19th Century. Professor Olesen has maintained partnerships with colleagues at the University of Helsinki and with other universities and research institutes in Finland and Scandinavia for many years. He has actively advanced the dialogue with the Baltic countries.
News article from Uni Helsinki
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