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The Military Order of William was established by King William I of the Netherlands in 1815 and has remained the most prestigious decoration of the Netherlands since its creation. The reigning Dutch monarch is the Grand Master of the Order.
The Order is conferred upon Dutch military personnel and military units for exceptional acts of bravery and distinction during combat. Between 1873 and 1927, the Grand Master has awarded two Grand Crosses, six Commanders, 42 III Class Knights and over 800 IV Class Knights. Since 1940, it has been conferred on 199 individuals, both Dutch civilians and foreigners. It may be awarded posthumously.
Upon receiving the award, recipients take an Oath in which they state, "I swear that I shall conduct myself as a faithful and valiant knight, to stand ever ready to defend King and Country with my Life, and with all my Powers to always strive to be worthy of this Distinction, which the King has bestowed upon me. So help me God Almighty."
All members are entitled to a monetary award in the form of a state pension, and a military funeral. The decorations are meant to be returned to the state following the death of the member.
The Knight features obverse and reverse inscriptions that translate to "For Bravery, Leadership, Loyalty," as well as the royal monogram of William I. Early examples tend to be smaller in size, but there may be additional versions that differ in composition and manufacturer.
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