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Taking a look at the Order of the House of Orange

This specific order belongs to the Dutch Royal Family. In Dutch, it is referred to as “Huisorde van Oranje.”

For those who are familiar with the British Royal Victorian Order, this write-up won’t be as complicated as you may think. The Royal Victorian Order is similar to the Order of the House of Orange.

So, how did the order come into existence?

The order was instituted by Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands in 1905 as she realised that the Order of the Oak was no longer available.

The order of the oak was introduced and established by King William II of the Netherlands. It ceased to exist when the then Princess Wilhelmina became Queen of the Netherlands.

For starters, the order was purely a male order affair. Another reason to its membership ending in such an abrupt manner was because Her Majesty Queen was the only remaining member of the House of Orange-Nassau. So as soon as she succeeded her father’s throne, she instituted the Order of the House of Orange.

An example of the Grand Cross on exhibit in Brazil. Photo: Daderot (CC0)/Wikimedia Commons

The Order of the House of Orange had a very particular nomenclature with 18 different medals. What’s a nomenclature, many would ask?

Nomenclature is the system of naming compounds.

The different medals and classes are as follows:

  • Knight
  • Officer
  • Knight 2nd class
  • The Silver Medal for Arts and Science
  • Dame of Honour
  • Silver Cross of Merit
  • The Golden Medal for Initiative and Ingenuity
  • Commander
  • Grand Officer
  • Grand Cross
  • Golden Medal of Honour
  • Bronze Medal of Honour
  • Silver Medal of Honour
  • Medal for Saving Lives from Deadly Peril
  • The Bronze Medal for Art and Science
  • Golden Cross of Merit
  • The Silver Medal for Initiative and Ingenuity
  • The Golden Medal for Art and Science

The highest rank of the medals and classes named above was the Grand Cross.

In 1969, Queen Juliana reorganised the order into independent groups.

  • The Order of the Crown
  • The Order of Loyalty and Merit
  • Honorary medals split into two namely:
  • The Honorary Medal for Arts and Science
  • The Honorary Medal for Initiative and Ingenuity
  • Finally, The Order of The Crown.

Today, the Order of the House of Orange has these grades:

  • Grand Honorary Cross: known in Dutch as “Groot erekruis”. This badge is worn on a necklet.
  • Grand Cross: known in Dutch as Grootkruis”. This badge is worn on a sash on the right shoulder and an eight pointed star on the chest.
  • Honorary Cross: known in Dutch as “Erekruis”.  The recipient wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest. It should be noted that this specific badge is given to subjects of the monarch then he/she gets promoted to a higher order after three years.

So who are the recipients of this prestigious order?

  • Dries van Agt.  He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 19 December 1977 until 4 November 1982.
  • Herman Dirk van Dodeweerd: known as “Armando” is a painter, sculptor and writer
  • Princess Astrid Maud Ingeborg, Mrs Ferner. She is the second daughter of King Olav of Norway and Princess Märtha of Sweden.
  • Erik Zurchera: a Dutch Sinologist. He was a Director of the Sinological Institute between 1975 and 1990.
  • Maria Barroso Salgado Alencar: Brazillian volleyball player.
  • Sir Ernest Dudley Gordon Colles. He was a British Royal Navy officer and courtier. He fought in the First World War.
  • Franciscus Jozef Bruggen. He was a Dutch conductor, record player and baroque flautist.
  • Otto von Habsburg. The last Crown Prince of Austria – Hungary
  • Princess Sara Gizaw: also known as Dowager Duchess of Harar
  • Wilhelm Friedrich “Gaius” de Gaay Fortman was a Dutch Politician of the Anti-Revolutionary Party
  • Bernard Johan Herman Haitink. He is a Dutch conductor.
  • Tarja Kaarina Halonen. She is a Finnish politician. She served as the 11th and first female president of Finland from 2000 to 2012.
  • Maximilianus “Max” van der Stoel. He was a politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
  • Princess Märtha Louise of Norway. She is fourth in line to the throne, and the only daughter and elder child of King Harald V and Queen Sonja.
  • Queen Paola of Belgium: wife to former King Albert II who abdicated his throne in 2013.
  • Peter Joseph Treist. He was a prelate of the Diocese of Ghent.
  • Peter Cornelis Evert van Wijmen. He was a politician, Dutch lawyer and professor. He also served as a member of the House of Representatives for the Christian Democratic Appeal in 1998 until 2002.
  • Henk Wesseling. He is a Dutch historian and a professor of contemporary history at Leiden University.
  • Joop den Uyl.  He was a Dutch politician of the Labor party. He also served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands in 1973 until 1977.

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