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The Order of St. Olav

The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav was founded by King Oscar I in 1847. It is conferred as “a reward for distinguished services rendered to Norway and mankind”. His Majesty The King is the Grand Master of the Order.

The Order of St. Olav takes its name from Norway’s canonised king, Olav the Holy. It is divided into five classes:

  • Grand Cross
  • Grand Officer
  • Commander
  • Officer
  • Knight

With the exception of foreign royalty and heads of state, the Order of St. Olav is only bestowed on Norwegian nationals. The Collar of the Order may also be conferred by the King on holders of the Grand Cross. The Grand Cross with the Collar represents the order’s highest class.


The Insignia of the Order is a white-enamelled Maltese cross made of gold. In its centre is a crimson medallion encircled by a blue and white ring. The obverse of the medallion bears the Norwegian lion in gold, and on the reverse is the motto of King Oscar I “Ret og Sanhed”, meaning “Justice and Truth”. In the four corners between the arms of the cross is a Gothic O of gold surmounted by a crown. The cross on the Commander and Officer insignia bears a king’s crown of gold.

When a class of the Order of St. Olav is conferred for military service, this is indicated on the insignia by two blue-enamelled swords, crossed and positioned under the king’s crown on the cross.

The Insignia of the Order is attached to a crimson ribbon with blue and double-edged white borders.

How the insignia is worn

The Knight’s Cross is worn on the left breast, and the Commander’s Cross is suspended from a ribbon around the neck. The Grand Cross is attached to a broad sash worn passing from the right shoulder to the left side. Women wear the Knight’s Cross and Commander’s Cross on the left breast attached to a bow made from the Knight’s Cross ribbon.

The Insignia of the Order is returned to the Council of the Order in the event of the promotion or death of the recipient.



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