The Prince Bernhard Chair was founded by the Foundation Chair Prince Bernhard in 1987 at the occasion of the 75th anniversary of His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard and has been associated with Utrecht University ever since. The Chair was initiated in honour of Prince Bernhard’s crucial role in international conservation efforts.
Prince Bernhard (1911-2004) dedicated over 40 years of his life to nature conservation, from the early 1960s until his death, playing a crucial role in this field at an international level. Prince Bernhard was the founder and first president of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund, later World Wide Fund for Nature) and initiated the Peace Park Foundation. The Prince was President of WWF the Netherlands (hereafter WWF-NL) for over 30 years. He closely followed the activities of the Prince Bernhard Chair at Utrecht University.
Initially the activities of the Prince Bernhard Chair were paid for by interest income of a donation that was related to the 75th birthday of the Prince. In addition, new forms of cooperation (funding) have been successfully establised. Currently, WWF-NL is the main donor of the Foundation.