Orders, decorations, and medals of the German states

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The orders, decorations, and medals of the German states, in which each states of Germany has devised a system of orders and awards to honour residents for actions or deeds that benefit their local community or state, are in turn subsumed within the German honours system. Each state sets their own rules and criteria on eligibility and also how each medal is awarded and presented. Most of the orders allow for the recipient to wear their orders in public.


Most of the orders have the form of a maltese cross.

Hanseatic rejection[edit]

The city states of Bremen and Hamburg do not allocate any orders. An exception was made during World War I when the Hanseatic Cross was awarded jointly with the city of Lübeck. Even today, senators of the two states reject any foreign orders. Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt received a number of accolades, among them was the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, which he chose not to accept in Hanseatic tradition, in order to refuse any decoration presented for merely fulfilling one's duty.[1]

State orders[edit]

State Name Ribbon bar Established Number of inductees Living holders Limit of living holders Note
 Baden-Württemberg Order of Merit of Baden-Württemberg DE-BW Verdienstmedaille des Landes Baden-Württemberg BAR.png 1974 1,754 1,000
 Bavaria Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art DE-BY Der Bayerische Maximiliansorden für Wissenschaft und Kunst BAR.png 1980 184[2] 92 100 Re-establishment of the order from 1853
 Bavaria Bavarian Order of Merit DE-BY Der Bayerische Verdienstorden BAR.png 1957 5,537 1,637[3] 2,000
 Berlin Order of Merit of Berlin DEU Der Verdienstorden des Landes Berlin BAR.png 1987 431[4] 400[5]
 Brandenburg Order of Merit of Brandenburg DE-BB Der Verdienstorden des Landes Brandenburg BAR.png 2003 108 300
 Hesse Hessian Order of Merit

Presented in two grades:

  • Cross of Merit (Verdienstkreuz)
  • Cross (Verdienstkreuz am Bande)
DE-HE Der Hessische Verdienstorden BAR.png 1989 430 800
 Lower Saxony Lower Saxony Order of Merit

Presented in three grades:

  • Commander's Cross (Großes Verdienstkreuz)
  • Officer's Cross (Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse)
  • Cross (Verdienstkreuz am Bande)

DE-NI Der Niedersächsische Verdienstorden (Gross) BAR.png
DE-NI Der Niedersächsische Verdienstorden (Klasse) BAR.png
DE-NI Der Niedersächsische Verdienstorden (Bande) BAR.png

1961 no limit
 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Order of Merit of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern DE-MV Der Verdienstorden des Landes Mecklenburg-Vorpommern BAR.png 2001 no limit
 North Rhine-Westphalia Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia DE-NW Der Verdienstorden des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen BAR.png 1986 1,357 3,500
 Rhineland-Palatinate Order of Merit of Rhineland-Palatinate DE-RP Der Verdienstorden des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz BAR.png 1981 991[6] 800[7]
 Saarland Saarland Order of Merit 1974 no limit
 Saxony Order of Merit of the Free State of Saxony DE-SAX Der Verdienstorden des Freistaates Sachsen BAR.png 1996 243[8] 500
 Saxony Saxon Flood Helpers Order 2002 2002 For helpers during the 2002 European floods
 Saxony Saxon Flood Helpers Order 2013 2013 For helpers during the 2013 European floods
 Saxony-Anhalt Order of Merit of Saxony-Anhalt DE-SN Der Verdienstorden des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt BAR.png 2006 300[9]
 Schleswig-Holstein Order of Merit of Schleswig-Holstein DE-SH Der Verdienstorden des Landes Schleswig-Holstein BAR.png 2008 500[10]
 Thuringia Order of Merit of the Free State of Thuringia DE-TH Der Verdienstorden des Freistaats Thüringen BAR.png 2000 300[11]

State medals[edit]


  • Bavarian Constitution Medal
  • Bavarian Lifesaving Medal


  • Berlin Lifesaving Medal
  • Louise-Schroeder-Medaille



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bundesverdienstkreuz: Das Kreuz mit dem Dank". Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Seehofer zeichnet 12 verdiente Persönlichkeiten mit dem Bayerischen Maximiliansorden für Wissenschaft und Kunst aus" (Press release) (in German). Bayerische Staatskanzlei. 2010-10-20. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Bayerischer Verdienstorden: Verleihung 2017". Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Der Verdienstorden des Landes Berlin" (in German). Ordensmuseum.de. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Verdienstorden des Landes Berlin" [Orders of Merit of Berlin] (in German). Landes Berlin. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Der Verdienstorden des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz" (in German). Ordensmuseum.de. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Landesverdienstorden | Willkommen in Rheinland-Pfalz" (in German). Rlp.de. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Sachsen gestern und heute - Sächsischer Verdienstorden" (in German). Geschichte.sachsen.de. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Landesrecht Sachsen-Anhalt Ministerpräsident | Verwaltungsvorschrift (Sachsen-Anhalt) | Stiftung des Verdienstordens des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt | i. d. F. v. 28.08.2007 | gültig ab 11.09.2007" (in German). Landesrecht Sachsen-Anhalt. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2013. External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ "Der Verdienstorden des Landes Schleswig – Holstein" (in German). Ordensmuseum.de. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Thüringer Staatskanzlei - Gesetz – Text of the law for the Order of Merit of the Free State of Thuringia". thueringen.de. Retrieved 11 September 2018.