Tribute: Anker Randsholt

OECD Observer

Anker Randsholt (1916-2004), who passed away on 30 November 2004 at the age of 88, was founding editor of the OECD Observer. Mr Randsholt was appointed to set up the magazine by the OECD’s first secretary-general, Thorkil Kristensen.

He was a political reporter in his native Denmark during the Second World War, after which he joined Information, a former underground resistance newspaper whose legal offspring he helped rebuild. He got to know (and criticise!) Mr Kristensen, who was then a member of the Danish parliament and finance minister. The secretary-general was impressed and in 1962 hired Mr Randsholt, who with his deputy editor, Peter Tewson, created the OECD Observer, whose mission was “to influence policies by bringing the organisation’s work to the attention of busy parliamentarians”. It was launched at the OECD’s ministerial meeting in November 1962, and won accolades, including a good review in The Times of London.

Mr Randsholt was a determined and principled man, for whom democracy and honesty went hand in hand. In a 2002 interview to mark the OECD Observer’s 40th anniversary edition, Mr Randsholt’s recollections reflected the enthusiasm that enriched the political climate of the early 1960s. “The OECD was something new, Europe was beginning to breathe again, seeing what co-operation did.” He admired people of vision and recalled President Kennedy’s ambition for the OECD as an instrument for world development: “The OECD is a free trade organisation, and for that you need co-operation, not least with the poorer majority of our planet. The OECD also stands for development.” Mr Randsholt edited the OECD Observer for 12 years and left the organisation in December 1976. Lately, he lived in Les Landes in southwestern France with his Danish wife, Bodil, whom he married in Copenhagen in 1942. They had a daughter, Neel, a son, Taus, and a grandson, Peter.

Rory J. Clarke

An electronic copy of the first edition of the OECD Observer, November 1962, is available on request to online and paying subscribers at

©OECD Observer No 246/247, December 2004-January 2005

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