Fashion designer, football referee in this year’s king’s birthday honours list

Honours ready to be distributed. Photo: Herman Wouters/Hollandse Hoogte
Honours ready to be distributed. Photo: Herman Wouters/Hollandse Hoogte

Television presenter Humberto Tan, football referee Bjorn Kuipers and police officer Zefanja Engberts are among the people recognised in this year’s king’s birthday honours list.

Engberts broke both his heel bones when he was forced to escape from a burning building after going into to look for possible victims – an act that was dramatically captured on film.

Lawyer Gerard Spong and fashion designer Carla Maria Fong Leng Tsang were presented their medals by Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema. In her speech, Halsema described Spong as a lawyer who shows great social responsibility ‘with a touch of vanity’.

The annual honours list is always announced the day before the monarch’s birthday and focuses mainly on people who have made a major contribution to society, usually in the form of volunteering.

In total, 2,882 people were awarded an honour. Some 65% of the recipients were male.

The oldest recipient was Gerrit Karssenberg, 94, who has been a volunteer at his local church since 1975 and until 2017 was involved in helping refugees learn Dutch.

Most people were made members of the Order of Oranje-Nassau – which has six levels. That honour was introduced in 1892 for foreigners and the ‘lower classes’. Just 18 people were given an honour in the more exclusive Order of the Dutch Lion.

The first Dutch honour was introduced by king Willem 1 in 1815.

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