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Order of Dannebrog

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Order of Dannebrog

Order of the Dannebrog

Order of the Dannebrog, Breast Star with Grand Cross, unofficial model
Awarded by Queen of Denmark[1]
Type Chivalric order with six classes, one class augmentation, and one decoration
Awarded for meritorious civil or military service, for a particular contribution to the arts, sciences or business life or for those working for Danish interests
Status Currently conferred
Motto God and the King (Gud og Kongen)
Post-nominals S.Kmd – Grand Commander (Storkommandør)

S.K. – Grand Cross (Storkors)
K1 – Commander 1st Class (Kommandør af 1. grad)
K – Commander (Kommandør)
R1 – Knight 1st Class (Ridder af 1. grad)
R – Knight (Ridder)
D.Ht. – Cross of Honour(Dannebrogordens Hæderstegn)

Established 12 October 1671[2]
Next (higher) Order of the Elephant

Grand Commander

Grand Cross with Diamonds

Grand Cross

Commander 1st Class


Knight 1st Class


Cross of Honour
Ribbon bars of the order

The Order of the Dannebrog (Danish: Dannebrogordenen)[3] is an Order of Denmark, instituted in 1671 by Christian V. It resulted from a move in 1660 to break the absolutism of the nobility. Until 1808, membership in the order was limited to fifty members of noble or royal rank[4] 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.[5] In 1808, the Order was reformed and divided into four classes, with the ranks:

  • Special class
Grand Commander (Storkommandør) — wears the badge with diamonds[6] on a necklet (gentlemen) or on a bow (ladies), plus the star on the left chest;
  • First Order class
Grand Cross (Storkors) — wears the badge on a collar or on a sash on the right shoulder, plus the star on the left chest;
  • Second Order class
Commander 1st Class (Kommandør af 1. grad) — wears the breast cross on the left chest, plus (for gentlemen) the badge on a neck ribbon;
Commander (Kommandør) — wears the badge on a neck ribbon (gentlemen) or on a bow (ladies);
  • Third Order class
Knight 1st Class (Ridder af 1. grad) — wears the badge on a ribbon (gentlemen) or on a bow (ladies) with rosette on the left chest;
Knight (Ridder) — wears the badge on a ribbon (gentlemen) or on a bow (ladies) on the left chest.

The Grand Cross can, as a special honor, be awarded "with diamonds". There is also a Cross of Honour (D.Ht.) (Dannebrogordens Hæderstegn).[2]

The Grand Commander class is reserved to persons of princely origin. It is only awarded to Royals 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.


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[7] 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,[8] 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 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 ribbon of the Order is white silk moiré with red borders, the national colours of Denmark.[2]

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 forced 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.

Grand Cross with Breaststar with Diamonds[9] is most often given to high-ranking officers of the Royal Court, such as Hofmarskals.

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.

Diplomatic use

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
Ambassador Storkors
Chargés d Affairs e.p. Kommandør (Kommandør 1. Grad, if over 40 years of age)
Chargés d Affairs a.i. Kommandør or Ridder 1. Grad
Ambassador Advisor Kommandør
1st Embassy Secretary Ridder 1. Grad
2nd or 3rd Embassy Secretary Ridder
Defence Attachés Depending on military rank
Other Attachés Ridder or Kommandør depending on merit

Cross of Honour

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.

Grand Commanders

Besides the above 7, HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is also a Grand Commander.[19]

Jewelers and Goldsmiths

Below is a list of jewelers who have made the insignia for the Order:

Jeweler Period
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.

See also


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