Orders, decorations, and medals of the Netherlands

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In the Dutch honours system, most orders are the responsibility of ministers of the Netherlands Government. The house orders, however, are awarded at the discretion of the Dutch monarch alone.

Over the centuries, hundreds of medals, decorations for merit or valour and orders of knighthood have been instituted by the successive governments of the Netherlands. The oldest were founded by the counts of Holland. Their successors, the House of Burgundy, founded the famous Order of the Golden Fleece. This order still exists in Spain and in the Austrian imperial House.

The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands did not possess an order of knighthood. Instead so called "Beloningspenningen", golden medals on golden chains, were given as gifts to ambassadors and successful admirals.

In 1781 a medal called the "Doggersbank medaille" was awarded to the officers who took part in the Battle of the Dogger Bank against the British fleet. It was the first modern Dutch decoration.

The Batavian Republic, founded after the French invasion of 1795, did not institute any orders or medals.

The Kingdom of Holland was founded in 1805 to provide a throne for Napoleon's younger brother Lodewijk Napoleon Bonaparte. The "King of Holland" founded an "Orde van de Unie", (English: Order of the Union, later dubbed "Order of Holland" then "Royal Order of Holland").

The first king of the Netherlands, William I, founded the Military Order of William and a civilian order, the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

His successors founded several orders of merit and some two hundred medals, stars and crosses. The Netherlands never established a colonial order for the Dutch East Indies.

The order of wear of Dutch Honours is published in the Official Gazette of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The orders, decorations and medals are listed in that order below.[1]

Orders of chivalry and similar distinctionsEdit

House ordersEdit

State awardsEdit

Awards for braveryEdit

Awards for meritEdit

Commemorative awards for military operationsEdit

Awards for faithful serviceEdit

  •   Officers' Cross [nl] (Onderscheidingsteken voor Langdurige Dienst als officier)
  •   Decoration for Long, Honest and Loyal Service [nl] in gold, silver or bronze (Onderscheidingsteken voor Langdurige, Eerlijke en Trouwe Dienst)
  •   Decoration for Loyal Volunteer Service in the Coast Guard (Onderscheidingsteken voor trouwe dienst bij de Militaire Kustwacht)
  •   Volunteer Medal Public Safety (formerly called Volunteers Medal) (Vrijwilligersmedaille Openbare Orde en Veiligheid)

Commemorative medals and awards for skillEdit

  •   Queen Wilhelmina Inauguration Medal, 1898 (Inhuldigingsmedaille 1898)
  •   Wedding Medal of Queen Wilhelmina and Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 1901 (Huwelijksmedaille 1901)
  •   Commemorative Medal of the Second Hague Peace Conference 1907 (Herinneringsmedaille aan de Tweede Internationale Vredesconferentie)
  •   Royal Silver Wedding Medal, 1926 (Herinneringsmedaille 1926)
  •   Honor Guard Commemorative Medal, 1933 (Herinneringsmedaille 1933)
  •   Wedding Medal of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard, 1937 (Huwelijksmedaille 1937)
  •   Queen Juliana Inauguration Medal, 1948 (Inhuldigingsmedaille 1948)
  •   Royal Silver Wedding Medal of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard, 1962 (Herinneringsmedaille 1962)
  •   Wedding Medal of Princess Beatrix and Claus van Amsberg, 1966 (Huwelijksmedaille 1966)
  •   Queen Beatrix Inauguration Medal, 1980 (Inhuldigingsmedaille 1980)
  •   Netherlands Antilles Visit Medal, 1980 (Herinneringsmedaille bezoek aan de Nederlandse Antillen)
  •   Wedding Medal of Willem-Alexander and Máxima Zorreguieta, 2002 (Huwelijksmedaille 2002)
  •   King Willem-Alexander Inauguration Medal, 2013 (Inhuldigingsmedaille 2013)
  •   Commemorative Medal for State Visits (Herinneringsmedaille Buitenlandse Bezoeken)
  •   Master-Sharpshooter on Rifle of the Royal Navy (Eereteeken voor Meester-Scherpschutter op geweer der Koninklijke Marine)
  •   Master-Gunner on Rifle of the Royal Navy (Eereteeken voor Meester-Kanonnier der Koninklijke Marine)
  •   Royal Medal of Shooting Contests (Koninklijke Eereprijs voor Schietwedstrijden)
  •   Medal for First Class Sharpshooters (Eereteeken voor scherpschutters eerste klasse)
  •   KNIL (Royal Dutch East Indies Army) awards
  •   Rietkerk Medal (Rietkerkpenning)
  •   Navy Foreign Service Medal (Marinemedaille)
  •   Army Foreign Service Medal (Landmachtmedaille)
  •   Marechaussee Foreign Service Medal (Marechausseemedaille)
  •   Air Force Foreign Service Medal (Luchtmachtmedaille)
  •   Voluntary Police Commemorative Medal 1948–98 (Herinneringsmedaille Vrijwillige Politie)

Other officially recognised knightly ordersEdit

The Dutch government allows the following orders of chivalry[2] to be worn on military uniforms:

Decorations instituted by H.R.H. Prince Bernhard of the NetherlandsEdit

Awards from Dutch private organizationsEdit

  •   Carnegie Hero Fund Medal (Medaille van het Carnegie Heldenfonds)
  •   Mobilisation Cross 1914-1918 (Mobilisatiekruis)
  •   Air Protection Medal 1940-45 [nl] (Luchtbeschermingsmedaille)
  •   Cross for the Four Day Marches (Vierdaagse Kruis)
  •   Eleven cities cross, medal for those who completed the Eleven cities long-distance skating tour (Elfstedenkruis)
  •   National Pentathlon Cross of the Dutch Sports Federation (Nationale Vijfkampkruis van de Nederlandse Sport Federatie)
  •   Military Performance Event Cross of the Royal Dutch Reserve Officers Association (Kruis van de Koninklijke Vereniging van Nederlandse Reserve-Officieren voor de Militaire Prestatietocht)
  •   Medal for Proven Athletic Skill of the Dutch Olympic Committee (Medaille voor vaardigheidsproeven van het Nederlands Olympisch Comité)

Awards from international organizationsEdit


  1. ^ "Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen". Staatscourant van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (in Dutch). Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties. 18 October 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  2. ^ "The Dutch Honours System" (PDF). lintjes.nl/. Chancellor of the Dutch Orders. Retrieved 15 October 2012.

Literature and sourcesEdit

  • W.F. Bax, "Ridderorden, eereteekenen, draagteekens en penningen, betreffende de Weermacht van Nederland en Koloniën (1813-heden)", 1973
  • H.G. Meijer, C.P. Mulder en B.W. Wagenaar, "Orders and Decorations of the Netherlands", 1984
  • C.H. Evers, "Onderscheidingen", 2001
  • J.H. van Zelm van Eldik, "Moed en Trouw", 2003
  • O Schutte, De Orde van de Unie", 1985

External linksEdit