From 1909 to the present day.
Medals of the Nijmegen Vierdaagse.
From 1909 to the present day.
These are medals and badges that have been awarded by the (K)NBVLO and other recognised bodies over the years in relation to the Vierdaagse.
While this is not a Vierdaagse award, this is included as it is similar to the medal given in early Vierdaagse marches to civilian recipients.
There were two types, both in silvered bronze:
- the same 53mm diameter as the general NBVLO prize medal; and
- smaller, with a diameter of 23mm.
Both have the reverse inscription in embossed letters, not engraved. They were presented in a white cardboard box bearing the maker's name, Koninklijke Begeer. They were awared without a ribbon and were not intended to be worn.
This one-day march was held on 9 May 1948 and was again open to all, not just to recipients of the Vierdaagse gold cross. It was organised by the NBVLO, helped by March Leader Major Breunese and the informal network of gold cross holders.
The walk started from the Grote Markt in Nijmegen, about 30 Gold Cross Holders leading over 1,600 other walkers.
The medal was awarded to all participants. It has a width of 28 mm and is made of gilded bronze. It was given to all walkers, without a ribbon. The ribbon seen in the photograph appears to have been added later by the recipient.
The ten civilian participants of the first Vierdaagse in 1909 received a bronze medal, not the cross. A representation of this medal appears on page 11 of De Wereld Wandelt, (below, right). In 1910 civilians were eligible for the gilded bronze cross if they walked the full 55km distance. They received a medal, similar to that of 1909, if they completed one of the optional shorter 35 or 45 km routes. Award of these medals for completing shorter distances had ceased before 1920, to be replaced by the Vierdaagse Cross in ungilded bronze.
This small white metal badge is 16 mm in diameter.
Early awards were hallmarked silver,
It was established by the Board of the Gold Cross Holders Association in 1982. It is presented to those who have been members of the Association for at least two years and have completed the Vierdaagse at least 15 times. A new badge is given for the 20th march and then after every further five successful marches.
The number of marches completed appears at the centre of the badge. While the inscribed band around the edge is consistently orange, the background colour behind the cross depends on the number of marches rewarded. There are three types:
15 and 20 marches: blue background;
25, 30 and 35 marches: green background;
40 or more marches: white background.
There were originally two types of suspension:
For men: On a long pin, intended to be worn as a lapel badge.
For women: With a small top ring, designed to be worn as a pendant.
Medal for civilian participants, 1909.
The Hague sports medal, 1910.
Anniversary award of the Vierdaagse Gold Cross Holders Association.
(De Lustrumbeloning van de Vereniging Goudenkruisdragers).
Gold Cross Holders' March, 1948.
The smaller Hague medal in silvered bronze. The reverse inscription reads ''Bonds Wedstrijden s-Gravenhage 1910''. Wedstrijden translates as 'sports event'.
Gold Cross Holders' lead the May 1948 March.
The buildings behind still show the damage caused when US planes bombed Nijmegen in error in February 1944.
[From 50 jaar Vereniging Gouden Kruisdragers]
The Vierdaagse Gold Cross Holders Association, as well as being a network for those who have marched at Nijmegen many times, has a role in commenting on the running of the Vierdaagse, including any proposed changes. It currently has over 3,500 members.
Figure 1: A 1980's women's award for 40 marches. It is of silver with the Dutch silver hallmark [†] and makers mark on the reverse.
This medal was introduced shortly after the NBVLO was established in April 1908 as a general prize for sports events sponsored by the NBVLO. The example below was given for a Vuistbal (handball) competition in August 1908, (below left). It is of bronze and has a diameter of 53mm. This medal, including the Vierdaagse civilian medal of 1909, was probably originally awarded without a ribbon and was not intended to be worn.
This medal was also adopted as the Vierdaagse group medal.
The medal awarded to civilians who participated in the 1909 Vierdaagse.
[De Wereld Wandelt]
The NBVLO sports medal established in 1908.
This example was awarded for second place in a Vuistbal (handball) competition on 31 August 1908.
Although the Association of Vierdaagse Gold Cross Holders was established in 1951, informal reunions of Gold Cross Holders date back to 1946. In June that year about forty gold cross holders, including five women, gathered in Nijmegen. The reunion included a formal dinner and, on 23 June, a one-day march. While the gold cross holders took part in the march, it was an open event, and it is likely that several hundred walkers participated. The Mayor (burgemeester) of Nijmegen was also involved in the reunion. He attended the formal dinner and was probably present at the march. At that time the City authorities were keen to promote Nijmegen as the centre of the Vierdaagse. Due to the city’s severe war damage, the NBVLO were considering holding the March elsewhere. This caused concerns locally since, as well as the prestige of the event, it brought in significant revenue for local business. All participants of the 23 June 1946 march would have received the medal.
This was gilded and had a width of 30 mm at its widest point. It was awarded without a ribbon. The inscription on the arms of the cross reads: "REUNIE GOUDEN KRUIS DRAGERS 23-6-46".
Gold Cross Holders' March, 1946.
The first reunion of gold cross holders, photographed after their dinner at the Hotel - Restaurant Normandië, near Keizer Karelplein in Nijmegen. This took place on 23 June 1946, the same day as the march.
A copy of the 1946 medal.
[From 50 jaar Vereniging Gouden Kruisdragers].
The medal was given to participants of a 1910 national sports event organised by the NBVLO and held at Houtrust in The Hague. The games included football, basketball, athletics, fencing and equestrian events. The event was repeated in 1911 at Assen, near Groningen, and a similar medal was awarded.
Figure 3: The current award for 20 marches, made of white metal.
Figure 2: A 1980's men's award for 15 marches. It is made of white metal.
The current award is the same for both men and women and is attached by a short pin behind the badge.
Medan Four Day March, 1935.
Medan is a town on the island of Sumatra, formerly in the Dutch East Indies.
The Deli Courant, a local newspaper, reported the event as a “successful experiment”. Over the following four years, (1936-39) the Dutch Indies Athletic Union, under the auspices of the NBVLO, held four day marches at various locations across the Dutch Indies. As these adhered to the same regulations as the Nijmegen event, successful participants received the same awards, including the Vierdaagse Cross, certificate and Group Medal.
The Sumatra Athletic Association presented a medal to successful marchers. The reverse inscription reads "Voor 4Daagsche Marschen in N.I. (Nederlandsche Indies).
In 1935 Medan was the base for a preliminary Four Day March (voorvierdaagse), a trial to see if a four day event on the Nijmegen model would work in the Dutch Indies. Organised by the Sumatra Athletic Association, the march took place from 7-10 June. Each of the four days had a different 35km route and started at 14:00, to avoid the worst of the day’s heat. Even so, one of the walkers said it was hard walking due to the great heat and tropical rain showers. Of the 99 walkers who started the march, 88 completed the full four days.
(With thanks to Marc Poelen for supplying the photos).