Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

Last updated
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
German order merit with special sash.jpg
Grand Cross star, special class
Awarded by the president of Germany
Type Order of Merit with seven regular and two special classes
EligibilityCivilians and military personnel
Statistics
Established7 September 1951
Total awarded257,000 (as of 31 December 2017) [1]
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 9 Sond des Grosskreuzes.svg
Grand Cross Special Class

GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 8 Grosskreuz bes Ausf.svg
Grand Cross Special Issue
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 7 Grosskreuz.svg
Grand Cross 1st Class
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 6 GrVK Stern Band.svg
Grand Cross
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 5 GrVK Stern.svg
Knight Commander
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 4 GrVK.svg
Commander
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 3 BVK 1Kl.svg
Officer
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 2 BVK.svg
Member

Contents

GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 1 BVM.svg
Medal
Ribbon bars of the Order of Merit

The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, or Bundesverdienstorden, BVO) [2] is the only federal decoration of Germany. It was created by the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss, on 7 September 1951, and has been awarded to over 200,000 individuals in total, both Germans and foreigners. Since the 1990s the number of annual awards has declined from over 4,000, first to around 2,300–2,500 per year, and now under 2,000, with a low of 1752 in 2011. In recent years women have made up a steady 30–31% of recipients. [3] Colloquially, the decorations of the different classes of the Order are also known as the Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz).

A state decoration is an object, such as a medal or the insignia of an order, that is awarded by a sovereign state to honor the recipient. The term includes:

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

President of Germany Head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany

The President of Germany, officially the Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany, is the head of state of Germany.

Most of the German federal states (Länder) have each their own order of merit as well, with the exception of the Free and Hanseatic Cities of Bremen and Hamburg, which reject any orders (by old tradition their citizens, particularly former or present senators, will refuse any decoration in the form of an order — the most famous example: former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt). [4]

States of Germany First-level administrative subdivisions of the Federal Republic of Germany

Germany is a federal republic consisting of sixteen states. Since today's Germany was formed from an earlier collection of several states, it has a federal constitution, and the constituent states retain a measure of sovereignty. With an emphasis on geographical conditions, Berlin and Hamburg are frequently called Stadtstaaten (city-states), as is the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which in fact includes the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. The remaining 13 states are called Flächenländer.

Hanseatic League Trade confederation in Northern Europe

The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe. Growing from a few North German towns in the late 1100s, the league came to dominate Baltic maritime trade for three centuries along the coasts of Northern Europe. Hansa territories stretched from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland during the Late Middle Ages, and diminished slowly after 1450.

Bremen City in Germany

The City Municipality of Bremen is the capital of the German federal state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, a two-city-state consisting of the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. With around 570,000 inhabitants, the Hanseatic city is the 11th largest city of Germany as well as the second largest city of Northern Germany after Hamburg.

History

The order was established on 7 September 1951 by the decree of the then Federal President Theodor Heuss. [5] The decree, which was co-signed by the President Heuss together with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and the Minister of the Interior, Robert Lehr, signed, states:

Theodor Heuss German politician

Theodor Heuss was a West German liberal politician who served as the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1959. Beside the stern chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Heuss' cordial manners largely contributed to the stabilization of democracy in West Germany during the Wirtschaftswunder years. Prior to his career as a politician, he was a political journalist.

Chancellor is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers, who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the audience. A chancellor's office is called a chancellery or chancery. The word is now used in the titles of many various officers in all kinds of settings. Nowadays the term is most often used to describe:

Konrad Adenauer German statesman, Federal Chancellor of Germany, politician (CDU)

Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1963. He was co-founder and first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a Christian Democratic party that under his leadership became one of the most influential parties in the country. As party leader he worked closely with the United States.

Desiring to visibly express recognition and gratitude to deserving men and women of the German people and of foreign countries, on the second Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany, I establish the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is awarded for achievements that served the rebuilding of the country in the fields of political, socio-economic and intellectual activity, and is intended to mean an award of all those whose work contributes to the peaceful rise of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Classes

The Order comprises four groups with seven regular and two special classes, hereafter the official denominations in English: [6]

Helmut Kohl former chancellor of West Germany (1982-1990) and then the united Germany (1990-1998)

Helmut Josef Michael Kohl was a German statesman who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and as the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1973 to 1998. From 1969 to 1976, Kohl was minister president of the state Rhineland-Palatinate. Kohl chaired the Group of Seven in 1985 and 1992. In 1998 he became honorary chairman of the CDU, resigning from the position in 2000.

The President of the Federal Republic holds the Grand Cross special class ex officio. It is awarded to him in a ceremony by the President of the Bundestag, attended by the Chancellor of Germany, the President of the Bundesrat, and the Supreme Court President. Other than the German president, only a foreign head of state and their spouse can be awarded with this highest class. There is also the provision of awarding the Grand Cross in a "special issue" with laurel wreath design (Großkreuz in besonderer Ausführung), in which the central medallion with the black eagle is surrounded by a stylized laurel wreath in relief. This Grand Cross special issue has been awarded so far only twice, to former German chancellors Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl. [7]

Insignia

Except for the lowest class, the badge is the same for all classes, but with slightly different versions for men and women (slightly smaller badge and ribbon for women):

The badge is a golden cross enamelled in red, with a central disc bearing a black eagle.

The star is a golden star with straight rays, its size and points vary according to class, with the badge superimposed upon it.

The riband is red with gold-black-gold stripes. [8]

Recipients

Recipients by years

See also

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References

  1. "Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland". www.bundespraesident.de (in German). Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  2. The Oxford dictionary of abbreviations (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 70. ISBN   9780192800732 . Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  3. The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, English; German, statistics, both Website of the President, and accessed 29 March 2014
  4. Binder, Elisabeth (6 September 2001). "Bundesverdienstkreuz: Das Kreuz mit dem Dank". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  5. Wördehoff, Bernhard (26 May 1989). "Ehre in Serie". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  6. "Ordensstufen des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" (PDF). auswaertiges-amt.de. German Federal Foreign Office . Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  7. "Bundesverdienstkreuz mit Lorbeerkranz für Kohl" (in German). Rhein-Zeitung. 26 October 1998.
  8. Hieronymussen, P. O., Orders and Decorations of Europe in Color (London: Macmillan Publishers, 1967).