Thorkil Kristensen

Last updated
Thorkil Kristensen
1st Secretary-General of the OECD
In office
September 1961 September 1969
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Emiel van Lennep
3rd Secretary-General of the OEEC
In office
1960 September 1961
Preceded by René Sergent
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born(1899-10-09)9 October 1899
Fløjstrup, Denmark
Died 26 June 1989(1989-06-26) (aged 89)
Birkerød, Denmark
Nationality Danish

Thorkil Kristensen (9 October 1899 – 26 June 1989) was a Danish politician, finance minister, professor in national economy, and futurist. [1]

Futurists or futurologists are scientists and social scientists whose specialty is futurology or the attempt to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present, whether that of human society in particular or of life on Earth in general.


Life and work

Kristensen was born a son of a farmer in Fløjstrup close to Vejle, Denmark. Between 1938–1945 he was professor at the University of Aarhus and between 1947–1960 at the Copenhagen Business School.

Vejle Town in Southern Denmark, Denmark

Vejle is a town in Denmark, in the southeast of the Jutland Peninsula at the head of Vejle Fjord, where the Vejle River and Grejs River and their valleys converge. It is the site of the councils of Vejle Municipality (kommune) and the Region of Southern Denmark. The city has a population of 54,862, making it the ninth largest city in Denmark. Vejle Municipality has a population of 111,743. The city is part of the Triangle Region, which includes the neighbouring cities of Kolding and Fredericia.

Denmark constitutional monarchy in Europe

Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.

Copenhagen Business School business school

Copenhagen Business School often abbreviated and referred to as CBS, is a public university situated in Copenhagen, Denmark and is considered one of the most prestigious business schools in Western Europe and the world. CBS was established in 1917 by the Danish Society for the Advancement of Business Education and Research (FUHU), however, it was not until 1920 that accounting became the first full study programme at CBS. Today CBS has more than 20,000 students, 2,000 employees and offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programmes within business, typically with an interdisciplinary and international focus. CBS is accredited by EQUIS, AMBA, as well as AACSB, thus making it one of the few schools worldwide to hold the "triple-crown" accreditation, and along with Aarhus BSS, the only two in Denmark.

Thorkil Kristensen was elected to the Danish Parliament 1945 and became finance minister under Knud Kristiansen (1945–1947) and Erik Eriksen (1950–1953). Throughout his life he worked with difficult economic problems. Among people of his own party and opposing parties, he enjoyed great respect because of his broad knowledge of economics.

He came to disagree on economic policy with his party, Venstre, and left the party in 1960.

After his exit from politics, he was secretary general of the OECD from 1960-1969. He was the founder of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies (CIFS), making it one of the first futures research institutes on the European continent. He was managing director at CIFS from 1970–1988.

OECD international economic organisation

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 36 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members. Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries. As of 2017, the OECD member states collectively comprised 62.2% of global nominal GDP and 42.8% of global GDP at purchasing power parity. OECD is an official United Nations observer.

The Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies is Denmark's and one of Scandinavia's largest Futures Studies think tanks. It was founded in 1970 by Professor Thorkil Kristensen, former OECD Secretary-General, Danish Minister of Finance and member of the Club of Rome. It is a non-profit think tank and its mission was from the outset to help Danish organizations understand and plan for the trends that are shaping their long-term future. Today it is an international think tank.

He participated in the Club of Rome which attracted considerable public attention with its report, Limits to Growth, which has sold 30 million copies in more than 30 translations, making it the best selling environmental book in world history.

Club of Rome An organisation of individuals who claim to share a common concern for the future of humanity and strive to make a difference.

Founded in 1968 at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome, Italy, the Club of Rome consists of current and former heads of state, UN bureaucrats, high-level politicians and government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists, and business leaders from around the globe. It stimulated considerable public attention in 1972 with the first report to the Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth. Since 1 July 2008 the organization has been based in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Selected publications

Articles, a selection

Related Research Articles

The Social Democrats, officially Social Democracy, is a social-democratic political party in Denmark. It was the major coalition partner in government from the 2011 parliamentary election, with then-party leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt as Prime Minister. After the 2015 parliamentary election, the party is no longer in government, though it regained the position as the largest party in the Danish parliament, the Folketing, with 47 of 179 seats. Helle Thorning-Schmidt withdrew as party leader on the night of the election as a direct consequence of the loss of government control, and she was succeeded on 28 June 2015 by the former vice leader, Mette Frederiksen.

The Environmental Assessment Institute (EAI) was an independent body under the Danish Ministry of the Environment. It was established in February 2002 by the Liberal/Conservative Danish Government with the task of making environmental and economic cost/benefit analyses. The EAI's first Director was political scientist Bjørn Lomborg.

Danish Social Liberal Party Danish political party

The Danish Social Liberal Party is a social-liberal political party in Denmark. The party is a member of Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

Jens Otto Krag Danish politician

Jens Otto Krag was a Danish politician. He was Prime Minister from 1962 to 1968 and again from 1971 to 1972. He was President of the Nordic Council in 1971.

Knud Kristensen Danish politician (1880-1962)

Knud Kristensen was Prime Minister of Denmark 7 November 1945 to 13 November 1947 in the first elected government after the German occupation of Denmark during World War II. After the October 1945 election Knud Kristensen formed the Cabinet of Knud Kristensen, a minority government consisting only of his Liberal Venstre party. Kristensen was a farmer by profession. In social policy, Kristensen's time as Prime minister saw the passage of the National Social Insurance act of June 1946, which raised benefits and, although it increased the age limit for old age pensions for men from 60 to 65, it granted old-age pensions to people from the age of 60 in cases of ill-health or special circumstances. Under the Building Subsidy Act of April 1946 low interest rates were made available to central government to support housing construction for the needy, while rent supplements were introduced for families with smaller children.

Erich Jantsch Austrian astrophysicist

Erich Jantsch was an Austrian-born American astrophysicist, engineer, educator, author, consultant and futurist, especially known for his work in the social systems design movement in Europe in the 1970s.

Jairam Ramesh Indian politician

Jairam Ramesh is an Indian economist and politician belonging to Indian National Congress. He is a Member of Parliament representing Andhra Pradesh state in the Rajya Sabha since June 2004. In July 2011, Jairam Ramesh was elevated to the Union Council of Ministers of India and appointed Minister of Rural Development and Minister of the new Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. However, in the cabinet reshuffle in October 2012, he has been divested of the portfolio of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. He was previously the Indian Minister of State at the Ministry of Environment and Forests from May 2009 to July 2011.

José Ángel Gurría Mexican economist and diplomat

José Ángel Gurría Treviño, also known as Ángel Gurría, is a Mexican economist and diplomat. Since 1 June 2006 he has been the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Petter Jakob Bjerve was a Norwegian economist, statistician and politician for the Labour Party. Prominent positions include director of Statistics Norway from 1949 to 1980, Norwegian Minister of Finance from 1960 to 1963, and president of the International Statistical Institute from 1971 to 1975.

Grzegorz Kołodko Polish economist

Grzegorz Witold Kołodko is a distinguished professor of economics. A key architect of Polish economic reforms. He is the author of New Pragmatism original paradigmatic and heterodox theory of economics. University lecturer, researcher, the author of numerous academic books and research papers. As Polish Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance in 2002-03 he played a leading role in achieving the entry of Poland into the European Union. Holding the same position in 1994-97, Kolodko led Poland to the OECD. The founder and Director of TIGER – Transformation, Integration and Globalization Economic Research at the Kozminski University in Warsaw. Consultant to such international organizations as the IMF, World Bank, UN, and the OECD. Member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities. Foreign Member of Russian Academy of Sciences. Honorary Chairman of China's Public Diplomacy Institute and a Non-resident Senior Fellow, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, Beijing, Professor HUST, Huangzhou University of Science and Technology, Wuhan; Distinguished Professor of Emerging Markets Institute, Beijing Normal University, Beijing.

Avaz Alakbarov Azerbaijani politician

Avaz Alakbarov Akbar oglu is an Azerbaijani politician and scientist who served as Minister of Finance of Azerbaijan Republic from July 1999 to April 2006.

Jo Ritzen Dutch politician

Jozef Marie Mathias "Jo" Ritzen is a retired Dutch politician of the Labour Party (PvdA).

Denmark–Israel relations

Denmark–Israel relations refers to the bilateral relationship between Denmark and Israel.

Kay Fisker Danish architect

Kay Otto Fisker, Hon. FAIA was a Danish architect, designer and educator. He is mostly known for his many housing projects, mainly in the Copenhagen area, and is considered a leading exponent of Danish Functionalism.

John W. Tuthill American diplomat

John Wills Tuthill was a U.S. career diplomat who was stationed in Latin America, Canada, and Europe.

Per Federspiel Danish politician

Torben Per Federspiel was a Danish politician.

Events from the year 1947 in Denmark.

Johannes Baptista Sumarlin is an Indonesian economist and a former Minister of Finance. Sometimes linked with the so-called Berkeley Mafia group of economic advisers which included senior Indonesian economists such as Widjojo Nitisastro, Emil Salim and Ali Wardhana, Sumarlin held various important economics posts in the Indonesian government for many years until the late 1990s. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia (FEUI) in 1958. Positions held in government include, among others, Chairman of Supreme Audit Agency, Minister of Finance, Chairman of the National Planning Agency (Bappenas), and Minister for Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform.

Pier Carlo Padoan Italian economist and politician

Pier Carlo Padoan is an Italian economist who served as Minister of Economy and Finances of Italy from 2014 to 2018.


  1. Andersen, Poul Nyboe (1996). "Thorkil Kristensen. En ener i dansk politik". Historisk Tidsskrift. Odense Universitetsforlag. 16 (5): 241.