About The Obel Family Foundation

The Obel Family Foundation is a philanthropic foundation. We fund projects within the areas of our three strategic focuses:

  • Research
  • Social objectives
  • Art

Apart from these three areas, which are mainly applied to a Danish context the foundation also support international projects within the social area. International applications are processed annually every december. We should therefore have applications in hand in October. 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 2017 The Obel Family Foundation granted 113,6 million DKK for the benefit of the public good.


Research is primarily supported at Aalborg University and Aalborg University 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 University Hospital may be requested from the institutions in question. Please note that The Obel Family Foundation does not support postdoc or Ph.D. projects.

Social objectives

The Obel Family Foundation has chosen three topics to guide activities within the social area:

- Early intervention: many of the most burdensome social problems facing modern society 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: mental disorders are stille 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.


Within the area of art The Obel Family Foundation supports three prioritized sub-categories: classical music, contemporary art and film production.

The Obel Family Foundation wants to support the realization of the most sublime within the three forms of art and to expose it before a Danish audience. The foundation is dedicated to giving new talents their first professional chance 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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