Norwegian royal awards part one: The King’s Medal of Merit


Do you keep seeing references to Norwegian royal awards, but have no idea what they mean? Take a deep dive into the different medals with Norway Today, starting with the famous King’s Medal of Merit.

Royal awards are, in a nutshell, a way for the Norwegian king to honor various people’s efforts for Norway and Norwegian society.

The King’s right to distribute orders is laid out in the Constitution. According to the Royal House of Norway, it states that “the King may award orders to whoever he wishes, as a reward for excellent merits, and this must be publicly announced.”

It is further underlined that knightship does not entail any special rights: “The order does not relieve anyone of the citizens’ common duties and burdens, nor does it entail a preferential right to state offices.”

There are a whopping 49 different types of decorations, with one of them being the King’s Medal of Merit. If you want to learn more about this prestigious award, keep on reading!

The gold version of the King’s Medal of Merit is only awarded in extraordinary cases. Photo: The Royal House of Norway

An honorary badge

The King’s Medal of Merit was founded by King Haakon VII on February 1, 1908. According to the Royal House of Norway, it is conferred as “a reward for service in the fields of art, science, and industry and for outstanding public service.”

Not an everyday achievement, in other words!

The medal has the portrait of the reigning king with his name and motto on the front. The last three kings have all used the motto “Alt for Norge,” which translates to “All for Norway.” Inside the wreath, the recipient’s name is engraved.

Up until March 30th, 2012, the award was named “King’s Medal of Merit in Silver.” A gold version of the award was then introduced, only to be awarded in extraordinary cases. While one applies for the King’s Medal of Merit, one cannot apply directly for a gold medal.

The medal is worn on the left side of the chest in a ribbon with the colors of the national banner – red with a yellow stripe in the middle.

Among the people who have been awarded the medal in 2021, we have the midwife Ann-Åse Baustad from Brønnøysund, Harald Anton Nilsen from Steigen and Hans Eyvind Næss from Stavanger.

Baustad was awarded for her great commitment to pregnant women and those giving birth. Nilsen was recognized for his community efforts in Steigen, especially through his voluntary work, while Næss worked as a state archivist in Stavanger for 35 years.

Source: #NorwayTodayTravel

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