Order of Orange-Nassau

Order of Orange-Nassau
Order of Orange-Nassau
Orde van Oranje-Nassau
The Knight's Cross with swords (5th grade) of the Order of Oranje-Nassau
Awarded by Flag of the Netherlands.svg Kingdom of the Netherlands
Type Chivalric order with six grades
Awarded for Those with special merits for society
Status Currently constituted
Sovereign Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Chancellor Lieutenant General J.H. de Kleyn
Grades (w/ post-nominals) Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer, Knight, Member
Former grades gold, silver, and bronze medal
Established 4 April 1892
Next (higher) Order of the Netherlands Lion
Next (lower) Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
Neth odrorangenassau rib.png
Ribbon bar of the Order of Orange-Nassau

The Order of Orange-Nassau (Dutch: Orde van Oranje-Nassau) is a military and civil order of the Netherlands which was created on 4 April 1892 by the Queen regent Emma of the Netherlands, acting on behalf of her under-age daughter Queen Wilhelmina. The Order is a chivalry order open to "everyone who have earned special merits for society". These are people who deserve appreciation and recognition from society for the special way in which they have carried out their activities.[1] The order is comparable with the Order of the British Empire in the UK.



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 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.

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 after almost thirty years of discussion. This revision by law intended to create a more democratic honour system, disconnecting the level of the honours from rank and social status. In principle, since then everyone in Dutch society can be honoured. An honour is only awarded on the basis of special, personal merits for society. Before this revision the Order consisted of five grades with additional Honorary Medals (gold, silver and bronze). The Honorary medals were only affiliated with the Order and bearers were not formally included in the Order. In 1996, the Honorary medals were abolished and replaced by the Member Class of the Order of Orange-Nassau, which is reserved only for Dutch citizens.


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 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

  1. Grand Cross - badge may be worn on a sash on the right shoulder, plus an 8-pointed star on the left chest;
  2. Grand Officer - badge may be worn by men on a necklet, and by women worn on a ribbon tied as a bow at the left chest. Also a 4-pointed star is worn on the left chest;
  3. Commander - badge may be worn by men on a necklet, and by women worn on a ribbon tied as a bow at the left chest;
  4. Officer - wears the badge on a ribbon with a rosette on the left chest;
  5. Knight - wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest;
  6. Member (since 1996) - wears a smaller badge on a ribbon on the left chest;
  7. Honorary Medals in Gold, Silver and Bronze (until 1996) - no longer issued, replaced by grade "Member". Wore the medal on a ribbon on the left chest.

For the grades of Knight and Member, the badges are made only of silver. For the other grades, the silver is gilded. The badges has a diameter of 60 mm for the grades of Grand Cross, Grand Officer and Commander; a diameter of 46 mm for the grades of Officer and Knight; and only 35 mm for the grade Member.

Until 1996, the Order of Orange-Nassau consisted of five grades. In addition, Honorary medals were issued in gold, silver and bronze, which were only affiliated with the Order. The bearers of the medal were not included in the Order. Since 1996, the Honorary medals are not awarded anymore and have been replaced by the 6th grade "Member".

Ribbon bars of the Order of Orange-Nassau
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Knight Grand Cross BAR.png
Grand Cross
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Grand Officer BAR.png
Grand Officer
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Commander BAR.png
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Officer BAR.png
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Knight BAR.png
(since 1996)
Neth odrorangenassau rib.png
(until 1996: Knight bar)
NLD Eremedaille - Gold BAR.png
Golden medal
(until 1996)
NLD Eremedaille - Silver BAR.png
Silver medal
(until 1996)
NLD Eremedaille - Bronze BAR.png
Bronze medal
(until 1996)


Star of a Grand Cross of 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 hangs from a royal 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.

Notable Recipients

Certificate confirming that the Order of Orange-Nassau was conferred on Ernesto Burzagli in the name of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands in 1926.
  • Ernesto Burzagli (1873–1944), Italian.[2]
  • M. C. Escher (1898–1972).[3]
  • Carel Willink (1900-1983)
  • Sir Eric Miller (rubber industrialist)[4]
  • Stephen Galatti, Director of AFS, American Field Service
  • Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, clinical professor of leadership development at INSEAD.
  • Eugene Kingsale.[5]
  • Calvin Maduro.[5]
  • Sidney Ponson.[5]
  • Johannis de Rijke, 1911.[6]
  • Ben Verwaayen, 2006.[7]
  • Bernard Wagenaar (1894–1971), American composer
  • Henri Wassenbergh, 1969.[8]
  • Job Cohen (Knight, 2003), leader of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands[9]
  • Tijs Michiel Verwest aka Tiësto (Officer, 2004), a Dutch musician, DJ and record producer of electronic dance music
  • Hester van Eeghen, (Knight, 2008) Dutch designer
  • Armin van Buuren (Officer, 2011), Dutch musician, DJ and producer of electronic dance music[10]
  • Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Knight, 2010), former captain of the Dutch national football team
  • Bert van Marwijk (Knight, 2010), coach of the Netherlands national football team.
  • Bloeme Evers-Emden (born 1926), Dutch child psychologist and author of four books about "hidden children" during The Holocaust; honor conferred 1991
  • Russell Shorto (born 1959), U.S. journalist and author, knighted 2009 
  • Clarence Seedorf (born 1976 - Knight, 2011), Dutch footballer who plays as midfielder for Italian club AC Milan.[11]
  • Herman Spanjaard (Knight, 2011), Chairman of the Dutch affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).[12]
  • Cornelius Tesselaar (1912-–1986), Born in Wijk an Zee in Holland, arrived in Australia in 1939. Became one of Australia's largest floriculturists. Knighted in 1982 in recognition of services to the Dutch Community in Australia
  • Louis van Gaal (born 1951 - Knight, 1997), a successful Dutch manager as well as one of the world’s best managers.
  • Angus Houston (Commander, 2011), chief of the Australian Defence Force for working on the coopoeration between Australian and Dutch forces in Uruzgun Province, Afghanistan.
  • Edwin van der Sar (Officer, 2010), Former Dutch goalkeeper who most notably played for AFC Ajax and Manchester United as well as the Dutch national football team
  • Anne van den Ban (Officer, 2011) Dutch scholar in the field of rural sociology and communication science
  • Marcelo Ebrard (born 1959 - Grand Officer, 2011) Head of Government of the Mexican Federal District. Knighted in recognition of his policies on behalf of society.[13]

See also


  1. ^ The Order of Orange-Nassau: For whom? - official website of the Order of Oranje-Nassau
  2. ^ Senato della Repubblica d'Italia: Ernesto Burzagli
  3. ^ Honor conferred 1955 -- Crystalinks: Escher
  4. ^ Obituary: Sir Eric Miller, Prominent figure in the rubber industry, The Times 12 July 1958
  5. ^ a b c Honor conferred 2003 -- "Former Bears and Other Baseball Luminaries Congregate on Aruba for Charity Softball," Newark Bears News. November 21, 2003.
  6. ^ Rijsbergen, Dennis. "Johannis de Rijke, ridder van de rijzende zon," Beroemde Zeeuwen. 27 August 2009; honor conferred 13 January 1911.
  7. ^ Honor conferred 2006 -- Verwaayen bio, Alcatel-Lucent
  8. ^ Fenema, H. Peter van and Hanneke Hoek. (1992). "Biography of Henri A. Wessenbergh," Air and Space Law: De Lege Ferenda : Essays in Honour of Henri A. Wassenbergh, pp. xiv.
  9. ^ Dr. M.J. (Job) Cohen. Parlement & Politiek. Retrieved on 2010-07-21.
  10. ^ "Armin van Buuren benoemd Officier in de Ordre of Oranje-Nassau," CityMoves (Netherlands), 2011; retrieved 2011-05-02
  11. ^ [1]. AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf after being appointed Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau, in a ceremony in Roma. Retrieved on 2011-04-29.
  12. ^ Witteman, Frans. "Vier Koninklijke Onderscheidingen in Halfweg," Hoofddorpse Courant (Netherlands). 29 April 2011, retrieved 2011-05-02
  13. ^ El Universal, 2011-09-20.[2]. Retrieved on 2011-10-10.


External links

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