12 May 2012

Heder og ære - Honour and glory

The Norwegian Armed Forces has recently published the booklet Heder og ære. Nasjonale og internasjonale dekorasjoner brukt i Norge ("Honour and glory. National and international dekorations used in Norway"), which is a wonderfully illustrated survey of orders, medals and other decorations used in Norway. The booklet was published as an enclosure to the May 2012 issue of Forsvarets Forum, the monthly magazine of the Norwegian Armed Forces, but is a joint project with Forsvarets veterantjeneste (The Norwegian Armed Forces Veteran Affairs).

The booklet is divided into 6 groups (sections). The first group deals with orders and medals awarded/approved by HM The King, and includes everything from the War Cross with Sword and the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav to the Police Medal and the Armed Forces' service medal. The second group contains a survey of orders and medals awarded by foreign heads of state and include the Order of the British Empire (United Kingdom), the Order of the Dannebrog (Denmark), the Order of the Lion (Finland), the Order of the Falcon (Iceland), the Royal Order of the Polar Star (Sweden), the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order of Leopold II (Belgium), the Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spain), the Legion of Merit (USA), Ordre National de Mérite (France), the Order of the Oak Crown (Luxembourg) and the the Order of Oranje-Nassau (the Netherlands). I am not sure why just these decorations were included, though.

The third group shows decorations awarded by the UN, NATO, EU, OSCE and similar international organsiations/unions. The fourth group deals with various medals awarded by different military (and some civil) associations etc., for instance the Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany Veterans' medal and HM The King's Guard's medal. The fifth group shows other foreign medals, while group VI deals with merit badges. In addition you can find information about the Armed Forces' medal for casualties (killed in action) and the Dag Hammarskiöld's memorial medal.

Included in the booklet is also information about the use and awarding of orders and medals, a selection of statutes of various orders and decorations as well as a useful dictionary. The booklet is written in Norwegian, but some of the decorations have an English summary as well.

See also the chapter about the Norwegian orders and medals at the official website of the Norwegian Royal Court.

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