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

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

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
 Bavaria Bayerische Verfassungsmedaille 1961 (2011)
 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
 Lower Saxony Flood-Medal 2013 of the State of Lower Saxony
Hochwassermedaille 2013 des Landes Niedersachsen (Bandschnalle).jpg
2013 20,000 no official limit, but was only

awarded in 2013

For helpers during the 2013 European floods,

who did their duty in the State of Lower Saxony

 Lower Saxony Lower Saxonian State Medal 54 24 no official limit but unofficially 30
 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





Lower Saxony



See also


  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). 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). Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Landesverdienstorden | Willkommen in Rheinland-Pfalz" (in German). Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Sachsen gestern und heute - Sächsischer Verdienstorden" (in German). 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.
  10. ^ "Der Verdienstorden des Landes Schleswig – Holstein" (in German). Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Thüringer Staatskanzlei - Gesetz – Text of the law for the Order of Merit of the Free State of Thuringia". Retrieved 11 September 2018.