Each year some 4,500 members of the public receive an honour, or royal decoration, in recognition of special or exceptional services to Dutch society. Most honours (approximately 3,000) are conferred on the occasion of His Majesty the King’s birthday (known in Dutch as the lintjesregen). The rest are conferred on other special occasions.


Each year approximately 3,000 members of the public receive royal decorations during the General Event, also known in Dutch as the lintjesregen. Traditionally, this is when mayors confer most of the honours. The event usually takes place on the last working day before the birthday of His Majesty the King, who is the Grand Master of the Dutch Orders.

The General Event is part of an international tradition. In other countries, too, State decorations are conferred on the occasion of the birthday of the Head of State. It is not known exactly when the first General took place in the Netherlands, although it would have been some time in the mid-nineteenth century. 

Video: an impression of the conferrals of the royal honours on the occasion of His Majesty the King’s birthday 2022 by the mayors anywhere across The Netherlands

Special Events

Honours are also conferred during Special Events, such as farewell ceremonies for people leaving an organisation or job where they have worked for many years, anniversaries, or symposiums. The mayor (or ambassador) attends the event and announces to those present that His Majesty the King is graciously pleased to ….