Order of Saint Olav
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Order of Saint Olav
  • Order of Saint Olav
  • Sankt Olavs Orden
Cross Norwegian Order of St. Olav.JPG
Cross of the Order of St. Olav
Awarded by
Royal Arms of Norway.svg
King of Norway
TypeChivalric order with five degrees
Established21 August 1847; 172 years ago (1847-08-21)
MottoRET OG SANDHED (Justice and Truth)
Criteriaremarkable accomplishments on behalf of the country and humanity
StatusCurrently constituted
Grand MasterKing Harald V
  • Grand Cross with Collar
  • Grand Cross
  • Commander with Star
  • Commander
  • Knight 1st Class
  • Knight
Next (higher)None (formerly the Order of the Norwegian Lion)
Next (lower)Order of Merit
St. Olavs Orden stripe.svg
Riband of the Order of St. Olav

The Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav (Norwegian: Den Kongelige Norske Sankt Olavs Orden; or Sanct Olafs Orden, the old Norwegian name) is a Norwegian order of chivalry instituted by King Oscar I on 21 August 1847. It is named after King Olav II, known to posterity as St. Olav.

Just before the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905, the Order of the Norwegian Lion was instituted in 1904 by King Oscar II, but no appointments were awarded by his successor, King Haakon VII. The Order of St. Olav thus became the kingdom's only order of chivalry for the next 80 years. The Grand Master of the order is the reigning monarch of Norway. It is used to reward individuals for remarkable accomplishments on behalf of the country and humanity. Since 1985, appointments to the order has only been conferred upon Norwegian citizens, though foreign heads of state and royalty may be appointed as a matter of courtesy.

Grades and classes

The reigning monarch of Norway is the order's Grand Master.[1] The order consists of three grades, of which two are divided into two classes, and may be awarded for either civilian or military contributions, in descending order of distinction. The collar is awarded as a separate distinction of the Grand Cross to those recipients deemed exceptionally worthy.

  • Grand Cross (Storkors)  – awarded to heads of state as a courtesy and in rare cases to individuals for merit; wears the badge on a collar (chain), plus the star on the left chest. If the collar is not worn the badge may be worn on a sash on the right shoulder;
  • Commander, which is divided into two classes:
    • Commander with Star (Kommandør med stjerne)  – wears the badge on a necklet, plus the star on the left chest;
    • Commander (Kommandør)  – wears the badge on a necklet;
  • Knight, which is divided into two classes:
    • Knight 1st Class (Ridder av 1. klasse)  – wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest;
    • Knight (Ridder)  – wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest.
Ribbon bars
St Olavs Orden storkors stripe.svg
Grand Cross with Collar
St Olavs Orden storkors stripe.svg
Grand Cross
St Olavs Orden kommandør med stjerne stripe.svg
Commander with Star
St Olavs Orden kommandør stripe.svg
St Olavs Orden ridder 1 klasse stripe.svg
Knight 1st Class
St. Olavs Orden stripe.svg


The Star of The Order of Saint Olav
Design of the collar of the Order of St. Olav since 1906.

The collar of the Order is in gold, with five enamelled and crowned monograms "O" (for "Oscar", the royal cipher of Oscar I, the Order's founder), five enamelled and crowned coat-of-arms of Norway, and 10 gold crosses bottony each flanked by two battle axes with silver blades and golden shafts (The latter element is also featured in the coat of arms of the Church of Norway).

The badge of the Order is a white enamelled Maltese Cross, in silver for the knight class and in gilt of the higher classes; crowned monograms "O" (for "Oscar") appear between the arms of the cross. The obverse central disc is red with the golden Norwegian lion rampart bearing a battle-axe; the reverse disc bears the King Oscar's motto «Ret og Sandhed»  – "Justice and Truth" in Norwegian; both discs are surrounded by a white-blue-white ring. The cross is topped by a crown; military awards have crossed swords between the crown and the cross.

The star of the Order for the Grand Cross is an eight-pointed silver star with faceted rays, bearing the obverse of the badge of the Order (minus the crown on the top).

The star for Commander with Star is a silver faceted Maltese Cross, with gilt crowned monograms "O" (for "Oscar") between the arms of the cross. The central disc is red with the golden Norwegian lion rampart bearing a battle axe, surrounded by a white-blue-white ring.[2]

The ribbon of the Order is red with white-blue-white edge stripes.

In very exceptional circumstances the Order may be awarded "with diamonds", in which case a ring of diamonds replaces the white-blue-white enamel ring surrounding the central disc on the front of the badge.

The insignia are expected to be returned either upon the receiver's advancement to a higher level of the order or upon his or her death. The insignia are produced in Norway by craftsmen.

Eligibility and appointment

The King makes appointments upon the recommendation of a six-member commission, none of whom may be a member of the government, consisting of a chancellor, vice chancellor, the Lord Chamberlain (acting as treasurer), and three other representatives. The Lord Chamberlain nominates the members of the commission, and the monarch approves them.[3] Nominations to the order are directed at the commission through the county governor.

Princes and Princesses with succession rights to the throne are appointed to the highest degree upon reaching their age of majority.[4]


The Order of St. Olav is the highest civilian honour currently conferred by Norway and only ranks after the military War Cross among all Norwegian decorations still awarded in the general ranking.

In the order of precedence used at the royal court of Norway, bearers of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav with collar are ranked 15th in the order of precedence, directly after the Mistress of the Robes and generals and directly before recipients of the War Cross with Sword. Bearers of the Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav are ranked 16th.

Current holders of the Grand Cross

This list contains holders of the Grand Cross, some of whom have also been awarded the Collar and gives the year of their appointment. The list is collated alphabetically by the last name; those recipients not possessing the last name, such as royalty and most Icelanders are collated by the first name. Six of the listed are not heads of states or royals; these are marked by names in bold. Before the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit was created in 1985, appointments to the Order of St Olav was awarded to members of a foreign delegation during state visits. Many holders of the Grand Cross who are not heads of state are not listed here.

Country Name Charge Grand Cross
with Collar
Grand Cross Year
 Argentina Mauricio Macri Former President YesY 2018
 Austria Heinz Fischer Former President YesY 2007
 Belgium Albert II Former King YesY 1964
 Belgium Mathilde Queen YesY 2003
 Belgium Paola Former Queen YesY 1997
 Belgium Philippe King YesY 2003
 Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Former President YesY 2003
 Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov Former President YesY 2006
 Chile Sebastián Piñera President YesY 2019
 Croatia Ivo Josipovi? Former president YesY 2011
 Denmark Benedikte Princess YesY 1974
 Denmark Frederik Crown Prince YesY 1990
 Denmark Joachim Prince YesY 1991
 Denmark Margrethe II Queen YesY 1958
 Denmark Marie Princess YesY 2014
 Denmark Mary Crown Princess YesY 2005
 Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves Former President YesY 2014
 Estonia Arnold Rüütel Former President YesY 2002
 Finland Martti Ahtisaari Former President YesY 1994
 Finland Tellervo Koivisto Former President's wife YesY 1983
 Finland Sauli Niinistö President YesY 2012
 Finland Tarja Halonen Former President YesY 2000
 France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing Former President (when Minister of Finance) YesY 1962
 Germany Joachim Gauck Former President YesY 2014
 Germany Horst Köhler Former President YesY 2007
 Germany Marianne von Weizsäcker Former first lady YesY 1986
Hellenic Kingdom Flag 1935.svg
Constantine II Former King YesY YesY 1964, 1962
 Iran Farah Pahlavi Former Empress YesY 1965
 Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson President YesY 2017
 Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson Former President YesY 1998
 Iceland Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Former President YesY 1982
 Italy Sergio Mattarella President YesY 2016
 Japan Akihito Emperor Emeritus YesY YesY 2001, 1953
 Japan Masako Empress (when Crown Princess) YesY 2001
 Japan Michiko Empress Emerita YesY 2001
 Japan Naruhito Emperor (when Crown Prince) YesY 2001
 Japan Nobuko Princess YesY 2001
 Jordan Abdullah II King YesY 2000
 Jordan Hussein Crown Prince YesY 2020
 Jordan Hassan Prince (when Crown Prince) YesY ?
 Jordan Rania Queen YesY 2000
 Latvia Guntis Ulmanis Former President YesY 1998
 Latvia Vaira Ve-Freiberga Former President YesY 2000
 Latvia Andris B?rzi Former President YesY 2015
 Lithuania Valdas Adamkus Former President YesY 1998
 Lithuania Dalia Grybauskait? Former President YesY 2011
 Luxembourg Henri Grand Duke YesY 2011
 Luxembourg Maria Teresa Grand Duchess YesY 1996
 Netherlands Beatrix Former Queen (when Princess) YesY 1964
 Netherlands Margriet Princess YesY 1964
 Netherlands Willem-Alexander King YesY 1996
 Netherlands Máxima Queen YesY 2013
 Norway Astrid Princess YesY 1956
 Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik Former Prime Minister YesY 2004
 Norway Lars Petter Forberg Former Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household YesY 2004
 Norway Åge Bernhard Grutle Former Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household YesY 2015
 Norway Haakon Crown Prince YesY 1991
 Norway Magne Hagen Former Cabinet Secretary to the King YesY 2000
 Norway Harald V King YesY
Grand Master
1955, 1991
 Norway Märtha Louise Princess YesY 1989
 Norway Mette-Marit Crown Princess YesY YesY 2001, 2016
 Norway Edvard Moser Professor, psychologist and neuroscientist, Nobel laureat YesY 2018
 Norway May-Britt Moser Professor, psychologist and neuroscientist, Nobel laureat YesY 2018
 Norway Arne Omholt Former Marshal of the Court YesY 2016
 Norway Carsten Smith Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Norway YesY 2003
 Norway Sonja Queen YesY 1972
 Norway Berit Tversland Former Cabinet Secretary to the King YesY 2012
 Poland Andrzej Duda President YesY 2016
 Poland Bronislaw Komorowski Former President YesY 2012
 Poland Aleksander Kwa?niewski Former President YesY 1996
 Poland Lech Wasa Former President YesY 1995
 Portugal António Ramalho Eanes Former President YesY 1978
 Portugal Jorge Sampaio Former President YesY 2004
 Portugal Aníbal Cavaco Silva Former President YesY 2008
 Romania Emil Constantinescu Former President YesY 1999
 South Korea Moon Jae-in President YesY 2019
 Slovakia Andrej Kiska Former President YesY 2018
 Slovakia Ivan Ga?parovi? Former President YesY 2010
 Slovenia Borut Pahor President YesY 2019
 Slovenia Danilo Türk Former President YesY 2011
 Spain Cristina Princess YesY 1995
 Spain Elena Princess YesY 1995
 Spain Felipe King YesY 1995
 Spain Juan Carlos I Former King YesY 1982
 Spain Sofía Former Queen YesY 1982
 Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf King YesY 1974
 Sweden Carl Philip Prince YesY 2005
 Sweden Christina Princess YesY 1992
 Sweden Désirée Princess YesY 1992
 Sweden Madeleine Princess YesY 2005
 Sweden Silvia Queen YesY 1982
 Sweden Victoria Crown Princess YesY 1995
 Thailand Sirikit Former Queen YesY 1965
 Turkey Abdullah Gül Former president YesY 2013
 United Kingdom Elizabeth II Queen YesY 1955
 United Kingdom Philip Prince consort and Duke of Edinburgh YesY 1952
 United Kingdom Andrew Prince and Duke of York YesY 1988
 United Kingdom Charles Prince of Wales YesY 1978
 United Kingdom Edward Prince and Duke of Kent YesY 1988
 United Kingdom Richard Prince and Duke of Gloucester YesY 1973

See also


  1. ^ Statutes, §2
  2. ^ "Utnevnelse til St. Olavs Orden". Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ section 5, Statues of the Order of St. Olav
  4. ^ section 3, Statues of the Order of St. Olav

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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