Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

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Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
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{{short description|Federal decoration of Germany}}

| posthumous = | recipients = | precedence_label =| individual = | higher = | same = | lower = | related = | image2 =(File:GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 9 Sond des Grosskreuzes.svg|100px)Grand Cross Special Class(File:GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 8 Grosskreuz bes Ausf.svg|100px)Grand Cross Special Issue(File:GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 7 Grosskreuz.svg|100px)Grand Cross 1st Class(File:GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 6 GrVK Stern Band.svg|100px)Grand Cross(File:GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 5 GrVK Stern.svg|100px)Knight Commander(File:GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 4 GrVK.svg|100px)Commander(File:GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 3 BVK 1Kl.svg|100px)Officer(File:GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 2 BVK.svg|100px)Member(File:GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 1 BVM.svg|100px)Medal| caption2 = 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)BOOK, The Oxford dictionary of abbreviations, Oxford University Press, 9780192800732, 70, 2nd, 27 October 2018,weblink 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.The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, English; German, statistics, both Website of the President, and accessed 29 March 2014 Colloquially, the decorations of the different classes of the Order are also known as the Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz).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).NEWS, Binder, Elisabeth, Bundesverdienstkreuz: Das Kreuz mit dem Dank,weblink 22 March 2017, Der Tagesspiegel, 6 September 2001, German,


The order was established on 7 September 1951 by the decree of the then Federal President Theodor Heuss.NEWS, Wördehoff, Bernhard, 26 May 1989, Ehre in Serie,weblink Die Zeit, Hamburg, German, 22 September 2018, 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:


The Order comprises four groups with seven regular and two special classes, hereafter the official denominations in English:WEB,weblink Ordensstufen des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Foreign Office (Germany), German Federal Foreign Office,, 27 March 2018,
  • Grand Cross (German: Großkreuz)
    • Grand Cross special class (Sonderstufe des Großkreuzes); the highest class of the Order reserved for heads of state.
    • Grand Cross special issue (Großkreuz in besonderer Ausführung); equivalent to Grand Cross, but with laurel wreath design (awarded only twice in history, to Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl)
    • Grand Cross 1st class (Großkreuz); Grand Cross
  • Great Cross of Merit (German: Großes Verdienstkreuz)
    • Grand Cross (Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband); Great Cross with Star and Sash
    • Knight Commander's Cross (Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern); Great Cross with Star
    • Commander's Cross (Großes Verdienstkreuz); Great Cross of Merit
  • Cross of Merit (German: Verdienstkreuz)
    • Officer's Cross (Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse); Cross of Merit 1. Class
    • Cross (Verdienstkreuz am Bande); Member
  • Medal of Merit (German: Verdienstmedaille)
    • Medal (Verdienstmedaille)
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.NEWS, Bundesverdienstkreuz mit Lorbeerkranz für Kohl, German,weblink Rhein-Zeitung, 26 October 1998,


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.
  • 8-pointed golden Star: Grand Cross special class
  • 6-pointed golden Star: Grand Cross 1st class (and special issue design if golden oak crown between the cross branches around the medallion)
  • 4-pointed golden Star: Grand Cross (Grand Cross of Merit with Star and Sash)
  • silver Square-upon-point: Knight Commander (Grand Officer)
The riband is red with gold-black-gold stripes.Hieronymussen, P. O., Orders and Decorations of Europe in Color (London: Macmillan Publishers, 1967).image:German order merit with special sash.jpg|Insignia of the Grand Cross special classimage:German Order of Merit Grand Cross First Class.jpg|Insignia of the Grand Cross 1st classimage:Bundesverdienstkreuz mit Schulterband.jpg|Badge and riband of the class "Grand Cross"(without showing the star)image:Bundesverdienstkreuz Stern.jpg|Star of the class "Grand Cross"Image:Saksan liittotasavallan ansioristikunnan suurristin rintataähti.png|Star of the class "Knight Commander's Cross"image:Gr Verdienstkreuz BVK.jpg|Badge suspended on neck riband of the class "Commander's Cross"image:OĞUZ MADALYA 001.jpg|Medal of Meritimage:OĞUZ MADALYA 003.jpg|Certificate of Bestowalimage:Bundesarchiv Bild 199-1992-089-29, Britische Königin Elisabeth II. in Brühl.jpg|Foreign head of state Queen Elizabeth II with the Grand Cross special class, 1992 visit in Brühl (Rhineland), Germany


(:de:Wikipedia:WikiProjekt Bundesverdienstkreuz/Ordensträger|Recipients by years)

See also



External links

{{Commons category|Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany}} {{-}}{{Orders of merit of Germany}}{{Decorations by country}}{{Authority control}}

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