Dutch Lintje

Each year, just before Kings Day, the Dutch give out thousands of special ‘lintje’ awards on behalf of the King. They recognise people who have made a special contribution to society. These royal decorations are commonly known as ‘lintjes’, which means ‘small ribbons’.

The award ceremonies take place in all corners of the Netherlands. Presented by local mayors, they create the Lintjesregen, (rain of ribbons).

These awards encourage and recognise unsung heroes who work quietly to support and bring together their community. The lintje shines a spotlight on people who selflessly committed themselves for over 15 years to projects, clubs or organisations that create the wonderful Dutch community we know and love.

Dutch residents make their nominations in secret to the local council. Even when they choose the recipients, they keep it hush-hush and arrange the ceremonies in secret. After all their family and friends prepare for the party, the recipient gets a pleasant surprise.

Today over 3,000 people received a lintje across the country. There are three different lintjes: The Order of the Dutch Lion, The Order of Orange-Nassau and the Medal of Honor for Humanitarian Aid.

Lintje awards have been around since the 1800s when King Willem II wanted to reward Dutch citizens for social merits. He created the Order of the Oak Crown in 1841, which was replaced in 1892 by the Order of Orange-Nassau after Willems death.

Do you know anyone with a lintje?

Perhaps you remember Queen Wilhelmina who received the Knights in the Military William Order Grand Cross, for her leadership during World War II? Or Queen Máxima who received the Knights in the Order of the Dutch Lion Grand Cross in 2002?

Despite being hundreds of years old, the Dutch continue these ceremonies every year. They inspire ordinary folk to contribute to their society and create this magnificent country we know and love.

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