About The Obel Family Foundation

The Obel Family Foundation is a corporate family foundation established in 1956. Among other things, its purpose is to support activities with the common good in mind. The Foundation has decided to focus on three areas:

  • Research and education
  • Social objectives and health
  • Art and culture
  • International

Apart from these three areas, which are mainly applied to a Danish context, the foundation supports international projects within the social area annually. If you are an international applicant, you can apply via our electronical system here.

Applications in Danish are preferred when possible.

By tradition and history The Obel Family Foundation enjoys a special attachment to Aalborg and Northern Jutland and disperses its grants more broadly in that region of Denmark. In addition, the Foundation also supports projects outside Denmark, although on a more limited scale.

In 2013 the Obel Family Foundation granted about 22 million Euros for the benefit of the public good.

Research and education is primarily supported at Aalborg University and Aalborg Hospital, where researchers may obtain support for their research projects, purchase of instruments and travel expenses related to their research.

Application guidelines for research projects at Aalborg University as well as Aalborg Hospital may be requested from the institutions in question. Please note that the Foundation does not support postdoc or Ph.D. projects.

Outside Aalborg University and Aalborg Hospital research projects may be supported if they form part of areas deliberately prioritized by the Foundation, such as ovarian cancer. In addition, research within other fields of the Foundation’s priorities may be supported, i.e. social objectives, health, the arts and culture.

Within the educational objectives support may be obtained for the purpose of increasing the number of young people with a formal education attached to the labour market and thus contributing to their participation in the continued development of Denmark as a welfare society.

Social and health purposes: The Obel Family Foundation has chosen three topics to guide its activities within the social and health areas:

- Early intervention; Many of the most burdensome social problems facing modern societies can be ascribed to circumstances in early childhood. So if we want to prevent future generations with social afflictions we need to intervene in early childhood.

- Psychologically vulnerable and their next of kin: Even in 2011 mental disorders are taboo and the availability of effective treatment still trails that of somatic diseases. The Obel Family Foundation wants to promote better conditions for those afflicted by mental disorders as well as their families.

- Equal access to health. Despite free and equal access to the national health system much research indicates that the actual use of the national health services has a social bias. The Obel Family Foundation wants to work for this bias to be levelled out.
Art and Culture

Within the areas of art and cultureTthe Obel Family Foundation supports three prioritized sub-categories: Classical music, contemporary art and film production.

Within arts and culture The Obel Family Foundation wants to support the realization of the most sublime within the three forms of culture and to expose it before a Danish audience. The Foundation is dedicated to giving new talents their first professional chances and to make it possible for children and young people to meet the arts

The Obel Family Foundation is the sole owner of the investment company C.W. Obel Inc. C.W. Obel traces its history back to 1787, when Christen Winther received royal permission to establish a tobacco company in Aalborg. In 1827 the company changed its name to C.W. Obel and became one of Denmark’s leading tobacco companies.

At present C.W. Obel has activities within three areas of business: commercial property, capital interests in Danish industrial companies – among others Semco Maritime Inc. – and Scandinavian Holding Inc. (Scandinavian Tobacco Group Inc.) The Obel Family Foundation has an own capital of approx. 325 million EUR and expects an annual pay out of more than 20 million EUR for philanthropic purposes.

Board and Management
The Obel Family Foundation is managed by a board with four members:

Chairman: Christen W. Obel
Members: Cristina Lage, Morten Hesseldahl, Christian Th. Kjølbye
The board meets 4 times a year.

The Foundation has two offices in Denmark, in Aalborg and Copenhagen, with a staff of 6.

Head of Secretariat
Michael Bjørn Nellemann, CEO
List of all employees.


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