Our Knight in Shining Armor Andre Rieu
On May 27, 2002 Andre received a phone call in his hotel room in
Columbus. Kerstin Cornelis, Andre's tour manager picked up the
phone and told Andre it was a Mr Mayer for an interview.
In reality it was the Mayor of Maastricht, Mr Leers, with the news
that on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
he was to be awarded the distinction of Knight in the Order of the
At the soundcheck André wanted to tell all the crew the exciting
news about his Royal Award during the soundcheck... but of course
they were already informed, so they prepared him some extra
surprises: the tour manager Kerstin presented him a home-made pie!
Not an easy feat in a hotel. And instead of the pieces they usually
play during the soundcheck, the orchestra started to play songs like
"for he's a jolly good fellow" and the theme from Ivanhoe... After that they also played the Wilhelmus, the Dutch
national anthem, conducted by Knight André... so far away from home, and yet it felt so close... a Royal and very
special soundcheck indeed!
Almost a month later, since it had not been possible to decorate André with his award while he was in the USA
giving concerts with the Johann Strauss Orchestra, he finally received the medal out of the hands of mayor Leers,
in Andre's own studio
The inscription on the medal is in Latin and says "Virtus nobilitat". This means "virtue ennobles
After the mayor spoke and decorated our knight, it was André's turn to give a
speech. He said he was very pleased to be able to celebrate this special moment
with so many of his friends. But there was one person he wanted to thank in
particular: he dedicated this award with love to the most important person in his
life: his wife Marjorie!
André is very proud of his decoration, a very special award for people who have
accomplished exceptional achievements for the society.
A royal distinction (informaly called a ribbon) is a symbolic recognition of personal, exceptional merit for society as a
whole. It can in princeple be rewarded to every Dutch person. Even Foreign subjects can be considered for
certain Royal distinctions. Some distinctions are part of the order of Knights, others are crosses and medals with
their own merit.
The yearly awards of distinction are held on Queens day. On April 27, 2007, 3573 people received an award.
Knight in the order of the Dutch Lion.
The Order of the Dutch Lion (De Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw) is an order of the Netherlands which was first
created on 29 September 1815 by the first King of the Netherlands, King William I.
The Order of the Dutch 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, sport and
literature; others have been awarded the Order of Orange Nassau instead.
The Queen of the Netherlands is the Grand Master of the Order.
The breast cross the Order is a gilt, white-enamelled Maltese Cross, with the monogram "W"
(for King William I) between the arms of the cross. The orverse central disc is in blue enamel,
bearing the motto Virtus Nobilitat (Virtue Ennobles). The reverse central disc is plain golden,
with the lion from the Dutch coat-of-arms. The badge is topped by a crown.
Since you would want to wear the medal on a daily basis, people awarded this distinction can
wear the ribbon which goes with the order.
The ribbon of the Order is blue with yellow stripes near the border.
Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau
As I said there are several orders, and I am very proud to say that my grandfather
received the distinction of Knight in the order of Orange-Nassau. My mom gave
me the ribbon it looks a bit different than the awards do today, and has a small
medallion on the ribbon, but even though the colors are a bit faded you can see they
did remain the same. My uncle the oldest of grandpa's children has the medal.
The Order of Orange-Nassau (Dutch: Orde van Oranje Nassau) is a military and civil
order of the Netherlands which was first created on 4 April 1892 by the Queen regent
Emma of the Netherlands, acting on behalf of her under-age daughter Queen Wilhelmina.
The Order of Orange-Nassau has two divisions, civil and military, the former denoted by
a wreath of laurel on the badges, and the latter by crossed swords on both the badges
and the stars.
To be appointed the distinction of Knight in the order of Orange-Nassau people will be
considered who have been extremely valuable for society. This means people who
deserve appreciation and recognition for the exceptional way by which they give
concert to their activities.
The breast cross of the Order is a blue-enamelled, white enamel-bordered Maltese Cross, in
gilt for the officers and above, in silver for knights and members. The obverse central disc
has the lion from the Dutch coat-of-arms of the Netherlands in gold and blue enamel,
surrounded by a white enamel ring bearing the Dutch national motto Je Maintiendrai
(I shall maintain). The reverse central disc has the crowned monogram "W"
(for Queen Wilhelmina) surrounded by the motto God Zij Met Ons (God be with us).
The badge is topped by a crown. The civil division has a wreath of laurel between
the arms of the cross; the military division has crossed swords instead. The badge is
attached to a ribbon which is orange with white and blue border stripes. The way the badge
and ribbon should be worn differs between men and women.
Andre's signature pin/brooch
The pins Andre wears on his ascot are just that, jewelery, I once heard on a Dutch TV station during an interview
that he started wearing one after he discovered and bought one at a flea market. I do not know if that is true, but it
makes for a nice story.
In the time that he played with the Maastricht Salon Orchestra he wore a white tie during the performances. The
first time I know of that he wears a pin/brooch is with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. The first picture I have of it is
New pin/brooch 2007
The one with the pearl we have seen for
many years, and which he wore in the
Efteling again. Could it be the flea
Andre wearing the little ribbon