The Order of Vytautas the Great
is the Lithuanian Presidential Award. It may be conferred on the heads of Lithuania and foreign states, as well as their citizens, for distinguished services to the State of Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...
The Order was instituted in 1930 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas the Great
Vytautas ; styled "the Great" from the 15th century onwards; c. 1350 October 27, 1430) was one of the most famous rulers of medieval Lithuania. Vytautas was the ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which chiefly encompassed the Lithuanians and Ruthenians...
. The badge of the Order, struck in pre-war Lithuania, was designed by a Lithuanian artist, Jonas Burba
Jonas Burba was an artist born in Skuodas, Lithuania. His notable works include the interwar design of the Order of Vytautas the Great and the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.-References:...
. The insignia of the Order issued today are of the same design.
The Order of Vytautas the Great has five classes:
|1. Grand Cross
|2. Commander's Grand Cross
|3. Commander's Cross
|4. Officer's Cross
|5. Knight's Cross
|Special class of this insignia - the Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain.
The insignia of the Grand Cross consists of the Grand Cross, Star and sash. The Grand Cross is 50mm wide. It is made from gold and covered with white enamel. On the front of the Cross a rider is depicted against a background of a red shield. The same shield, with a V (to signify the name Vytautas) in the middle is on the reverse of the Cross. Above the shield is the Grand Crown of the Duke. On the edges of the Cross are the dates of Vytautas the Great's rule (1392–1430). The reverse of the Cross features a golden Royal Crown embellished with three crystal stones.
The Star measures 85mm, and is made from gold. It has nine sides. In the centre, a smaller version of the Vytautas the Great Cross with a golden Crown above is depicted on a background of blue enamel.
The Order's sash is made from white moiré and is 100mm wide for men, 65mm for women. It features two smaller orange strips on the sides.
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia were the first foreigners to receive the Order in 1995, during the official visit of the President of Lithuania to Sweden.
Commander's Grand Cross
The Commander's Grand Cross insignia consists of the Grand Cross, Star and Ribbon. The Grand Cross has most of the same features as above. The Order's ribbon is made from white moiré with two orange stripes, and is 40mm wide for men and women.
The Order's Star measures 85mm and has nine sides. It is made from gold. In the centre, there is a smaller version of the Vytautas the Great Cross with a golden Crown, on black enamel.
The Commander's Cross consists of a Cross and Ribbon. It is similar to the Grand Cross.
The Officer's Cross consists of a Cross and small Ribbon. It is similar to the Grand Cross, but smaller at 42mm. The Ribbon is 32mm wide and made from white moiré.
The Knight's Cross consists of a Cross and small Ribbon, similar to the Officer's Cross.
Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain
This special class of Order is the highest award of the State of Lithuania. It consists of a golden chain, cross, star and sash.
Parts of the Golden Chain form a double (six angle) cross, graced with a stylized V. Both edges of the Chain are linked by the central part, whose form and ornaments are taken from the seal of Vytautas the Great. The bear represents Smolensk
Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...
, the horseman represents Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...
, the warrior represents Trakai
Trakai is a historic city and lake resort in Lithuania. It lies 28 km west of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Because of its proximity to Vilnius, Trakai is a popular tourist destination. Trakai is the administrative centre of Trakai district municipality. The town covers 11.52 km2 of...
and the cross represents Volyn.
Recipients of the Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain
- President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus
Valdas Adamkus was President of Lithuania from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2004 to 2009.In Lithuania, the President's tenure lasts for five years; Adamkus' first term in office began on February 26, 1998 and ended on February 28, 2003, following his defeat by Rolandas Paksas in the next...
, decorated on 26 February 2003
- President of Lithuania, Algirdas Brazauskas
Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas was the first President of a newly independent post-Soviet Union Lithuania from 1993 to 1998 and Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006....
, decorated on 3 February 2003
- President of Lithuania, Rolandas Paksas
Rolandas Paksas is a Lithuanian politician who was President of Lithuania from 2003 to 2004. He was previously Prime Minister of Lithuania in 1999 and again from 2000 to 2001, and he also served as Mayor of Vilnius from 1997 to 1999 and again from 2000 to 2001...
, decorated on 25 February 2003
- Chairman of the Supreme Council of Lithuania, Vytautas Landsbergis
Professor Vytautas Landsbergis is a Lithuanian conservative politician and Member of the European Parliament. He was the first head of state of Lithuania after its independence declaration from the Soviet Union, and served as the Head of the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas...
, decorated on 3 February 2003
- President of Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...
, Arnold Rüütel
Arnold Rüütel OIH was the third President of the Republic of Estonia from October 8, 2001 to October 9, 2006. He was the second President since Estonia regained its independence in 1991....
, decorated on 30 September 2004
- President of Germany, Horst Köhler
Horst Köhler is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union. He was President of Germany from 2004 to 2010. As the candidate of the two Christian Democratic sister parties, the CDU and the CSU, and the liberal FDP, Köhler was elected to his first five-year term by the Federal Assembly on...
, decorated on 19 October 2005
- President of Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...
, Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Aleksander Kwaśniewski is a Polish politician who served as the President of Poland from 1995 to 2005. He was born in Białogard, and during communist rule he was active in the Socialist Union of Polish Students and was the Minister for Sport in the communist government in the 1980s...
, decorated on 2 November 2005
- President of Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...
, László Sólyom
László Sólyom is a Hungarian political figure, lawyer, and librarian who was President of Hungary from 2005 to 2010. Previously he was President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary from 1990 to 1998....
, decorated on 7 September 2006
- President of Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...
, Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko is a former President of Ukraine. He took office on January 23, 2005, following a period of popular unrest known as the Orange Revolution...
, decorated on 14 November 2006
- King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, decorated on 1 June 2005
- King of Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...
, Albert II
Albert II is the current reigning King of the Belgians, a constitutional monarch. He is a member of the royal house "of Belgium"; formerly this house was named Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...
, decorated on 16 March 2006
- Queen of 16 states
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...
, Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...
, decorated on 17 October 2006
- Emperor of Japan, Akihito
is the current , the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989.-Name:In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to . In...
, decorated on 22 May 2007
- Queen of Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...
, Beatrix of the Netherlands
Beatrix is the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands comprising the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba. She is the first daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. She studied law at Leiden University...
, decorated on 24 June 2008
- President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė
Dalia Grybauskaitė is the current President of Lithuania, inaugurated on 12 July 2009. She had previously been Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finance Minister, and European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget...
, decorated on 12 July 2009
- Former President of Poland, Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity , the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 95.Wałęsa was an electrician...
rejected this award on September 6 2011 as a result of constant discrimination on the part of the Lithuanian government towards its Polish minority.