National Order of Merit (France)
|National Order of Merit|
Officer of the National Order of Merit (obverse)
|Awarded by France|
|Type||Order of Merit with five degrees|
|Awarded for||Distinguished civil and military achievements|
|Established||3 December 1963|
|Next (higher)||Military Medal|
|Next (lower)||Croix de guerre|
The National Order of Merit (French: Ordre national du Mérite) is an Order of State with membership (about 187,000 members) awarded by the President of the French Republic. It was founded on 3 December 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle. The reason for the Order’s establishment was twofold: to replace the large number of ministerial orders previously awarded by the ministries; and to create an award that can be awarded at a lower level than the Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honour), which is generally reserved for French citizens.
Statute of the Order
French citizens as well as foreign nationals, men and women, can be received into the Order, for distinguished civil or military achievements, though of a lesser level than that required for the award of the Légion d'honneur. The President of the French Republic is the Grand Master of the Order and appoints all other members of the Order, by convention, on the advice of the Government. The Order has a common Chancellor and Chancery with the Légion d'honneur. Every Prime Minister of France is made a grand cross of the order after 24 months of service.
- Chevalier (Knight): to be of a minimum age of 35, have a minimum of 10 years of public service (although, in practice, 15 years is the minimum commonly needed to be conferred the rank of Chevalier), and "distinguished merits" (for active duty commissioned officers, this is achieved after fifteen years of meritorious service).
- Officier (Officer): minimum of 5 years in the rank of Chevalier (for active duty commissioned officers, this is achieved after seven years in the rank of Chevalier).
- Commandeur (Commander): minimum of 5 years in the rank of Officier (for active duty commissioned officers, this is achieved after five years the rank of Officier).
- Grand Officier (Grand Officer): minimum 3 years in the rank of Commandeur.
- Grand-Croix (Grand Cross): minimum 3 years in the rank of Grand Officier.
Defunct ministerial orders
The Ordre National du Mérite replaced the following ministerial and colonial orders:
- Colonial orders
- Ordre de l'Étoile d'Anjouan (1874) (Order of the Star of Anjouan)
- Ordre du Nichan El-Anouar (1887) (Order of Nishan-e-Anuar or Order of Light)
- Ordre de l'Étoile Noire (1889) (Order of the Black Star)
- Special ministerial orders of merit
- fr (Order of Societal Merit) (1936)
- Ordre de la Santé publique (Order of Public Health) (1938)
- fr (Order of Commercial and Industrial Merit) (1939)
- fr (Order of Artisanal Merit) (1948)
- fr (Order of Tourism Merit) (1949)
- fr (Order of Combatant Merit) (1953)
- fr (Postal Order of Merit) (1953)
- fr (Order of the National Economy) (1954)
- fr (Order of Sports Merit) (1956)
- fr (Order of Work Merit) (1957)
- fr (Order of Military Merit) (1957)
- Ordre du Mérite civil (Order of Civil Merit) (1957)
- Ordre du Mérite Saharien (Order of Saharan Merit) (1958)
Insignia and wear
- Grand-Croix - wears the badge on a sash on the right shoulder, plus the star on the left chest;
- Grand Officier - wears the badge on a ribbon with rosette on the left chest, plus the star on the right chest;
- Commandeur - wears the badge on a ribbon around the neck;
- Officier - wears the badge on a ribbon with rosette on the left chest;
- Chevalier - wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest.
- The medal of the Order is a six-armed Maltese asterisk in gilt (silver for chevalier) enamelled blue, with laurel leaves between the arms. The obverse central disc features the head of Marianne, surrounded by the legend République française (French Republic). The reverse central disc has a set of crossed tricolores, surrounded by the name of the Order and its foundation date. The badge is suspended by a laurel wreath.
- The star (plaque) is worn by Grand-Croix (in gilt on the left breast) and Grand Officier (in silver on the right breast) respectively; it is a twelve-armed sunburst, with rays (formerly plain, now in blue enamel) between the arms. The central disc features the head of Marianne, surrounded by the legend République française and the name of the Order, and in turn surrounded by a wreath of laurel.
- The ribbon for the medal is a solid blue field. For the grade of Officier and above, a rosette is centered in the field. For the grades of Commandeur, Grand Officier, and Grand-Croix, the rosette is centered bar of silver; silver and gold, and a solid gold respectively.
The individuals listed below have been admitted as members of the Ordre national du Mérite:
- List of Foreign recipients of the Ordre national du Mérite
- Order (decoration)
- Ribbons of the French military and civil awards
- State decoration
- Nostradamus (9 August 2008). "L'Ordre national du Mérite". Les décorations Francaises (in French). Retrieved 2009-02-06. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Historique: Naissance des ordres" (in French). Association Nationale des Membres de l'Ordre National du Mérite. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-06. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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