Honorary Medal for Merits toward Museum Collections

Honorary Medal for Merits toward Museum Collections
Museum Medal
Awarded by Flag of the Netherlands.svg Kingdom of the Netherlands
Type Civil decoration,
with degrees gold, silver and bronze
Status Currently awarded
Established 26 June 1817
Next (higher) The Ruyter Medal
Next (lower) Flood disaster Medal
Ribbon bar golden Dutch Museum Medal.jpg
Ribbon bar of the golden Dutch Museum Medal

The Honorary Medal for Merits toward Museum Collections (Dutch: Erepenning voor Verdiensten jegens Openbare Verzamelingen), also named as Museum Medal (Dutch: Museummedaille), is one of the oldest civil decorations of the Netherlands. It was created by royal decree on 26 June 1817 by King William I of the Netherlands. The decree describes the following "Erepenning voor blijken van belangstelling in 's Rijksverzamelingen door schenking betoond" (English: a Honorary Medal for appearance of interest in the state collection by donation shown). The medal is awarded in the degrees gold, silver or bronze as token of appreciation to those who "aan hen, die enig boek- of kunstwerk, dat de vrucht van hun arbeid was, de Koning deden toekomen" (English: for those, who donate to the Dutch monarch any works of art, that was collected with much effort). In the royal decree of 5 May 1877 the eligibility of awarding this decoration was extended by King William III of the Netherlands with the description "aan hen, die door het aanbieden van belangrijke geschenken of op andere wijze zich verdienstelijk hebben gemaakt ten opzichte van de verschillende wetenschappelijke en kunstverzamelingen des Rijks" (English: to those who donated important works of art to the state museums or who showed praiseworthy acts regarding the different scientific collections or art collection of the state museums). Due to this description the medal obtained the official elongated name, however since the end of the 19th century the decoration is primarily known as the "Museum Medal". Till 1897 the honorary medal was only a standing decoration, but since Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands the medal can be worn with a ribbon at the left breast. By royal decree of 28 October 1919 the eligibility criteria were again extended by Queen Wilhelmina with the description "verdiensten jegens gemeentelijke (openbare) verzamelingen" (English: merit towards community (public) collections). What was initially a medal for generous donors became now an official royal award for merit. Queen Juliana of the Netherlands decided by royal decree at 26 July 1952 that the shape of the medal and ribbon should be changed. From then the ribbon is orange with in the middle two small red lanes. Also the recipients may wear a ribbon bar with the same composition (although concerning the golden or silver medal receiptians a golden or silver palm branch is added). Finally, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands changed only the shape of the medal by placing her image on the medal.

Notable recipients

  • Rudi Fuchs - a well known Dutch art historian and former director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
  • Dollie Defesche-Bakker - widow of Pieter Defesche, a former Dutch visual artist
  • Rosetta C. Musaph-Andriesse - former director of the Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam
  • A.W. Swaanswijk-Koek - widow of Lucebert, a former Dutch painter
  • Johan Wertheim - a Dutch sculptor
  • A.R. Wittop Koning - a Dutch architect

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