The Order of the Dannebrog (Danish: Dannebrogordenen) is a Danish order of chivalry instituted in 1671 by Christian V. Until 1808, membership in the order was limited to fifty members of noble or royal rank who formed a single class known as White Knights to distinguish them from the Blue Knights who were members of the Order of the Elephant. In 1808, the Order was reformed and divided into four classes. The Grand Commander class is reserved to persons of princely origin. It is only awarded to royalty with close family ties with the Danish Royal House. The statute of the Order was amended in 1951 by a Royal Ordinance so that both men and women could be members of the Order.
Today, the Order of the Dannebrog is a means of honouring and rewarding the faithful servants of the modern Danish state for meritorious civil or military service, for a particular contribution to the arts, sciences or business life or for those working for Danish interests.
|Order of the Dannebrog|
Order of the Dannebrog, Breast Star with Grand Cross, unofficial model
|Awarded by |
Sovereign of Denmark
|Type||Chivalric order with six classes, one class augmentation, and one decoration|
|Established||12 October 1671|
Grand Cross with Diamonds
Commander 1st Class
Knight 1st Class
Cross of Honour
|Motto||Gud og Kongen (God and the King)|
|Criteria||Meritorious civil or military service, for a particular contribution to the arts, sciences or business life or for those working for Danish interests|
|Grand Master||Queen Margrethe II|
|Next (higher)||Order of the Elephant|
|Next (lower)||Medal of Merit|
|Related||Decoration of the Cross of Honour of the Dannebrog|
The badge of the Order is a white enamelled Dannebrog cross (i.e., a cross pattée, the lower arm being longer than the others) with a red enamelled border, for the Knights in silver and for everyone else in gold or silver gilt. At the top of this cross is the royal cypher of the bestowing monarch crowned with the distinctive Danish royal crown[a] On its front, the cross bears the royal cyphers of Christian V at its centre, as well as the motto of the Order: Gud og Kongen (God and the King) on its arms. On its reverse are found the crowned royal cyphers of Valdemar II Sejr, Christian V and Frederik VI,[b] as well as the years 1219, 1671 and 1808, the years that each of them ascended the Danish throne. In each of the four angles of the cross is found a small Danish royal crown.
The classes are:
The Grand Cross can, as a special honor, be awarded "with diamonds". There is also a Cross of Honour (D.Ht.) (Dannebrogordens Hæderstegn).
The collar of the Order is made of gold, with small enamelled Dannebrog crosses alternating with alternating crowned royal cyphers representing Kings Valdemar II Sejr and Christian V, the reputed and actual founders of the Order. When the collar is worn the sash is not worn.
The star of the Order is an eight-pointed silver star with straight rays with an enamelled Dannebrog cross (similar to the front of the badge but without the royal cypher above and the royal crowns between the arms of the cross) at the centre.
The breast cross of the Order is similar to the cross on the star but larger and with faceted silver instead of white enamel and without the silver rays of the star.
The Order originally had a distinctive habit worn by the knights (after 1808, by the Knights Grand Cross) on very solemn occasions. The habit consisted of a white doublet, white breeches, white stockings and white shoes, over which was worn a red mantle with a white lining and with the star of the order embroidered in silver on its left side. Over this red mantle was worn a short white shoulder cape with a standing collar embroidered in gold, upon which was worn the collar of the Order (the habit was always worn with the collar and never with the ribbon of the Order). The habit also had a black hat with a plume of white and red ostrich feathers. This habit was almost identical to that worn by the knights of the Order of the Elephant.
Each Danish ministry has a quota of Knights and Knights 1st class that they may use at their discretion. It is most often given to high-ranking officers of the police, armed forces and emergency services.
Also used for politicians in Folketinget after 8 years of elected service. Ministers are given the rank of Knight 1st Class.
The rank of Commander is given to Colonels, ministers and other high-ranking officials as a retirement-decoration after long service.
Commander 1st class is given for Admirals, Generals, Supreme-court judges, ambassadors and other governmental leaders as a retirement decoration.
Grand Cross is most often used for admirals, generals, Supreme-court judges, ambassadors and similar as a reward for very meritorious service to Denmark.
Finally, the Grand Commander grade is only given to 8 people. The reigning monarch is always a Grand Commander, and he/she may give the grade to 7 others - most often close family.
The Order of the Dannebrog is often used as a tool of diplomacy. If a foreign country has an Order that they give to foreign diplomats in their country, then their diplomats in Denmark can also be given an Order of the Dannebrog. To be eligible the foreign ambassador must reside in Denmark for at least three years.
|Diplomatic rank||Rank of the Order|
|Chargés d Affairs e.p.||Commander (Commander 1st Class, if over 40 years of age)|
|Chargés d Affairs a.i.||Commander or Knight 1st Class|
|1st Embassy Secretary||Knight 1st Class|
|2nd or 3rd Embassy Secretary||Knight|
|Defence Attachés||Depending on military rank|
|Other Attachés||Knight or Commander depending on merit|
The Dannebrogordenens Hæderstegn (Cross of Honour of the Order of the Dannebrog) in modern times is only awarded to Danes on whom the Order of the Dannebrog has already been bestowed. It is also worn by the individual members of the royal family. Its badge is similar to the badge of the Order, but all in silver, and is worn on a ribbon (gentlemen) or bow (ladies) with rosette on the left chest.
The insignia of the Order must be returned upon the death of the holder.
The late Prince Henrik of Denmark had been a Grand Commander since 1973. As such, his death in 2018 left one position of Grand Commander available. The number of Grand Commanders never exceed 8.
It is possible for membership in the Order to be revoked. Before 1808, only two people have had their membership revoked, Peder Griffenfeld who was charged with treason, and Samuel Christoph von Plessen who was charged with looting and gross misconduct. In more recent times it has been revoked on basis of criminality, such as Peter Adler Alberti (1910), Erik Ninn-Hansen (1995), and Peter Brixtofte (2008).
Below is a list of jewelers who have made the insignia for the Order:
|Royal Goldsmith Poul Kurtz||1655–1679|
|Royal Goldsmith Ferdinand Küblich||1670–1687|
|Royal Goldsmith Fridrich Kurtz||1679–1703|
|Royal Goldsmith Pierre Tresfort||1687–1729|
|Royal Goldsmith Jean Henri de Moor||1688–1696|
|Royal Goldsmith Andreas Normand||1700–1727|
|Royal Jeweler Frederik Fabritius||1746–1778|
|Royal Jeweler Christopher Fabritius||1778–1829|
|Royal Jeweler Frederik Fabritius||-1832|
|Royal Goldsmith Nicolai Christensen||? - 1832|
|Jeweler Poul Ressen Eggersen||1832–1841|
|Royal Jeweler Anton Michelsen||1848 -|
Anton Michelsen was made a part of Royal Copenhagen A/S who is now the supplier.
The Queen heads the two Danish Royal Orders of Chivalry, the Order of the Elephant and the Order of the Dannebrog....Any decision about the bestowal of honours continues to lie solely with the Head of the Order, but the day-to-day administration of the honours system is undertaken by the College of Arms, which forms part of the royal court
Ribbon: White with red edges...Instituted: 12 October 1671 by King Christian V...Awarded: For special deeds or conspicuous service to Denmark..Grades: 6 plus a Silver Cross - renamed Cross of Honour of the Order of the Dannebrog (Dannebrogordenens Hæderstegn) in 1952
Danmark har to kongelige ridderordener, Elefantordenen og Dannebrogordenen (Denmark has two Royal Orders of Chivalry: The Order of the Elephant, and The Order of Dannebrog)
According to those statutes, the order had only one grade called ¨White Knight¨, corresponding to today’s ¨Grand Cross Knight¨. The circle of knights was limited to Danish royalty and noblemen; commoners did not come into consideration. That changed in connection with the expansion of the Order of the Dannebrog in 1808. On that occasion, the order was divided into different grades, and the circle of those decorated was widened to include common-born persons. Along with a series of lesser changes later, the decisions from 1808 continue as the formal basis for conferral of the Order of the Dannebrog. Today, Danish commoners constitute by far the largest group of those decorated
The order had one class and the members were called 'white knights' (as opposed to the Order of the Elephant's 'blue knights')
Storkommandør af Dannebrogordenen (S.Kmd.)
Hans Majestæt Carl XVI Gustaf, Konge af Sverige (10.4.1975); Hans Majestæt Kong Harald, Norges Konge (28.10.1991); Hans Majestæt Konstantin II, fhv. Konge af Grækenland (12.3.1964)
Storkommandører, Prinsesse til Danmark (27.1.1993)
Storkommandør af Dannebrogordenen (S.Kmd.)Hjemmeværnets Fortjensttegn (Hjv.Ft.)
Storkommandører Kronprins til Danmark (1.1.2004)
Storkommandører, Prins til Danmark (16.4.2004)
Storkommandør af Dannebrogordenen (S.Kmd.)