07-04-2008, 07:53 AM
Dutch Royal Orders
In this thread we can discuss the royal orders that exist in The Netherlands.
The most important one is the Order of Orange-Nassau. From this
The Order of Orange-Nassau (Dutch: Orde van Oranje-Nassau) is a military and civil order of the Netherlands which was first created on 4 April 1892 by the Queen regent Emma of the Netherlands, acting on behalf of her under-age daughter Queen Wilhelmina.
In 1841 William II of the Netherlands, as Grand Duke of Luxembourg, created the Order of the Oak Crown. Although this was officially not a Dutch order, honours were regularly conferred on Dutch people. After the death of William III, Luxembourg became an independent state. There was a need for a third Dutch order, beside the military Order of William and Order of the Netherlands Lion, so that royal honours could be conferred upon foreign diplomats and people from lower ranks and classes.
The Order of Orange-Nassau has two divisions, civil and military, the former denoted by a wreath of laurel on the badges, and the latter by crossed swords on both the badges and the stars. The Order of Orange-Nassau can therefore be considered the Dutch equivalent of the Order of the British Empire.
During World War II, the Order of Orange-Nassau was bestowed upon both members of the Netherlands military and members of foreign services who had helped liberate the Netherlands from Nazi Germany occupation. In the modern age, the Orange-Nassau is still the most active military and civil decoration of the Netherlands, and ranks after the Order of the Netherlands Lion. The Order is typically awarded each year on the Queen's official birthday (April 30th) with thousands of appointments to the Order made public. The Order is also used to honour foreign princes, ministers, dignitaries and diplomats.
In 1994, the Dutch honours system was extensively revised. This revision intended to create a more democratic system, disconnecting the level of the honours from rank and social status. Until this revision the Order consisted of five grades. In addition Honorary Medals were issued in the grades of gold, silver and bronze. The bearers of the Honorary medal were not formally included in the Order. The Honorary medals were replaced by the Member Class of the Order of Orange Nassau which is reserved only for Dutch citizens.
The King or Queen Regnant of the Netherlands is the Grand Master of the Order of Orange-Nassau. In addition to this special grade, the Order of Orange-Nassau is issued in six classes.
The following grades exist for the Order of Orange-Nassau
The badge of the Order is a blue-enamelled, white enamel-bordered Maltese Cross, in gilt for the officers and above, in silver for knights and members. The obverse central disc has the lion from the Dutch coat-of-arms of the Netherlands in gold and blue enamel, surrounded by a white enamel ring bearing the Dutch national motto Je Maintiendrai (I shall maintain). The reverse central disc has the crowned monogram "W" (for Queen Wilhelmina) surrounded by the motto God Zij Met Ons (God be with us). The badge is topped by a crown. The civil division has a wreath of laurel between the arms of the cross; the military division has crossed swords instead. The badge is attached to a ribbon which is orange with white and blue border stripes. The way the badge and ribbon should be worn differs between men and women.
The star of the Order is a silver star with straight rays, in 8 points for Grand Cross and in 4 points for Grand Officer; the central disc has the lion from the Dutch coat-of-arms of the Netherlands in gold and blue enamel, surrounded by a white enamel ring bearing the Dutch national motto Je Maintiendrai. The military division has crossed swords.
- Knight 1st grade, named Knight Grand Cross
- Knight 2nd grade, named Grand Officer
- Knight 3rd grade, named Commander
- Knight 4th grade, named Officer
- Knight 5th grade, named Knight
- Knight 6th grade, named Member