Netherlands: Order of Orange-Nassau, Civil Division, 2nd Class Grand Officer, set of insignia comprising neck badge with full length of neck ribbon and neck ties, and breast star, silver, gold and enamels. the reverse of the star bearing the details for Rijksmunt of Utrecht. Housed in its fitted presentation case by van Wielik of Den Haag.
Condition: enamel work in excellent condition, Nearly Extremely Fine.
The Order was established by Queen Emma, Dowager Queen, acting as Regent for Queen Wilhelmina, on 4 April 1892 and may be awarded to both Dutch citizens and foreigners for meritorious service to the Dutch throne, state or society.
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, according to the House-treaty, became the domain of the other branch of the House of Nassau. In the Netherlands the need for a third order, beside the Military William Order and Order of the Netherlands Lion was felt, 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 German occupation, and those who helped liberate the former Dutch colonies in the Pacific. In the modern age, the Orange-Nassau is still the most active civil and military decoration of the Netherlands, and ranks after the Order of the Netherlands Lion. The order is typically awarded each year on the Monarch's official birthday (currently April 27) with around 3500 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 honours 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.