Order of the Netherlands Lion

The Order of the Netherlands Lion, also known as the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands (Dutch: De Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw, French: L'Ordre du Lion Néerlandais) is a Dutch order of chivalry founded by King William I of the Netherlands on 29 September 1815.

Order of the Netherlands Lion
Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw
The decoration of a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
Awarded by Kingdom of the Netherlands
TypeChivalric order with three degrees
Established29 September 1815
MottoVirtus Nobilitat
Awarded forThose with merits of a very exceptional nature for society
StatusCurrently constituted
Grand MasterKing Willem-Alexander
ChancellorMajor general H. Morsink[1]
GradesKnight Grand Cross
Former gradesBrother
Next (higher)Honorary Medal for Charitable Assistance in Gold
Next (lower)Order of Orange-Nassau

Ribbon bar of the Order of the Netherlands Lion

The Order of the Netherlands Lion was until recently awarded upon eminent individuals from all walks of life, including generals, ministers of the crown, mayors of large towns, professors and leading scientists, industrialists, high-ranking civil servants, presiding judges and renowned artists. Since 1980 the Order has been primarily used to recognise merit in the arts, science, sport and literature; others are awarded the Order of Orange-Nassau.

The Order ranks after the Military William Order, which is only awarded for military merit. The second and third class of the Order are not awarded to foreigners; they are eligible for the Order of Orange-Nassau or the Order of the Crown instead.

The King of the Netherlands is the Grand Master of the Order. The Order is issued in three classes. There was also a Medal for "Brothers" which had not been conferred since 1960. The Brothers became extinct and the grade was abolished in 1994.