Nearly 2,850 people will receive a royal honor on Wednesday. Among them is one of the first four Cliniclowns in the Netherlands. The Medal of Honor for Charitable Relief will only be awarded once this year and will go to a heroic Arnhemmer.
Most people were made members of the Order of Orange-Nassau. Nine people have been knighted in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
As in previous years, around 64% of the winners are men and around 36% women. This means that the wish of the Chancellery of Dutch Orders, which distributes the ribbons, has not come true. Last year, the organization expressed hope that more women would be nominated for a ribbon. “We don’t know why it’s not happening.”
This year, 3,050 ribbon applications were submitted. This was around 250 fewer than in 2022. As in previous years, around nine out of ten requests were granted (2,832). In the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, 30 people receive a royal decoration.
Verschil in onderscheidingen
- Orde van Oranje-Nassau: De Orde van Oranje-Nassau bestaat sinds 4 april 1892. Voor een onderscheiding in deze orde komen mensen in aanmerking die zich bijzonder verdienstelijk hebben gemaakt voor de samenleving. Denk hierbij aan vrijwilligers die zich inzetten voor jongeren, milieu, (mantel)zorg, sport, buurtverenigingen of vluchtelingen.
- Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw: De Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw is ingesteld in 1815. Hiervoor komen mensen in aanmerking met exceptionele verdiensten voor de samenleving, groter dan van hem of haar mocht worden verwacht. Bijvoorbeeld personen die baanbrekend (wetenschappelijk) werk hebben verricht dat nuttig is voor de maatschappij. Het kernwoord is altijd ‘exceptioneel’, oftewel personen met een talent die een briljante prestatie leveren.
- De Orde van Oranje-Nassau telt zes rangen, de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw drie (Bron: lintjes.nl).
The oldest recipient is 93, the youngest 32
The oldest person to receive a ribbon is Harrie Saes, 93, from Weert. He was made a member of the Order of Orange-Nassau due to his voluntary work in a singing society in Oudkarspel. He has also been visiting elderly people with dementia for years.
The oldest distinguished woman lives in Aruba. ML Hodge-Henry (92) also joined the Order of Orange-Nassau as a member, in part because she has volunteered with the blind and visually impaired for over thirty years.
Some of the youngest recipients on the list are Cynthia (26) and Jamie Chua (31), Marco Peters (32) and Lumine Veenstra (34). Brother and sister Chua have been involved in social causes for fifteen years, including the annual GIG Haarlemmermeer benefit concert. It’s a stage for local talent, with proceeds going to a good cause.
Peters was a councilor in Heerlen for more than twelve years and was therefore automatically eligible for a royal decoration. Veenstra volunteers at a sports club for (former) heart patients. She also took care of her great-uncle, who died last year. She came to live on his farm and took care of him intensively.
Also ribbons for famous Dutch people
In addition to volunteers, writers, athletes, and activists can also receive a ribbon for their contribution to society. For example, anthropologist and anti-racism activist Mitchell Esajas received a ribbon and was made a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Esajas is one of the initiators of The Black Archives, a center for the history of black Dutch people. He has also protested against the figure of Zwarte Piet with Kick Out Zwarte Piet for years and he has been involved in Black Lives Matter protests against racism and discrimination.
“I hope to be the first knight who also pleads for an apology for the royal family’s role in slavery,” he says. “I hope to be able to use the podium, the ribbon, the additional recognition, to spread the message that I convey even more widely.”
Other well-known Dutch people who have received a ribbon are writer Gerbrand Bakker, former footballer Peter Houtman and baseball player Kenley Jansen.
Bakker has written books which have been translated into thirty languages, enabling hundreds of thousands of readers around the world to familiarize themselves with Dutch literature. Former Feyeno player Houtman received a ribbon due to his football career and his commitment to his neighborhood Spijkenisse. Jansen plays for the Boston Red Sox in the United States, in the biggest baseball league in the world.
Arnhemmer saved his neighbor when all hope had already been abandoned
As every year, a few personalities with outstanding stories were rewarded, including Marcel Lieferink from Arnhem. On January 10, he was on his way to the supermarket when he saw that his neighbor’s house was on fire. An attempt by emergency services to rescue the woman from the house was cut short due to the dangerous circumstances.
Lieferink did not accept this and got to work with his own scale. He managed to save his neighbor through the shed, a roof and the balcony of the house, after which he went back into the flames to get the dog out of the house as well. The trio survived the incident. Lieferink was awarded the Medal of Honor for Humanistic Relief for his heroism.
Peter Vader de Zwolle was knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau. He was one of the first four Cliniclowns in the Netherlands and helped found the Cliniclowns Foundation. As a volunteer, he also meant a lot to the city of Zwolle and the regional department of the Ronald McDonald House Foundation.
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