Vierdaagse Cross From 1977. Awards for 40 years or more

Introduction

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As the numbers of walkers who have completed a large number of marches has increased, special crosses have been authorised and awarded to mark their achievement.  There are now distinct crosses for 40, 50, 60 and 70 marches.  All have a crown suspension and a ribbon number from the first year of their award.

Since 2007 the crosses for 50 or more marches have been manufactured to a higher standard, are made of gilded silver (hallmarked) and are heavier than the old version.  While still produced by W. van Veluw, the look and quality of these crosses is closer to the ones produced formerly by Koninklijke Begeer.  The new versions have the same dimensions as the previous crosses, and are 36 mm at their widest point and bear the makers name: “W.v.Veluw B.V. Zeist” at the centre of the reverse.

Those walkers who had previously received the 40, 50 or 60 year crosses can purchase and wear the new versions.  There is no requirement to return the old medal.

The design of the ribbon numbers, as shown in the photographs, has remained unchanged.

Gold Cross: fortieth successful march

By the early 1970's a number of walkers had completed 40 or more marches.  Each year, these walkers continued to receive the relevant wreathed number to attach to the ribbon of their original gold cross.

In about 1978 a distinct 40 year cross was first approved and awarded, produced by the new makers, W. van Veluw.  As well as being awarded to walkers on reaching their fortieth march, those who had already successfully walked more than forty marches could claim the medal.

1978 – 2005

Original version, 1978 to early 1980's

Version from early 1980's to 2005

This cross was similar in metal and general quality to the ten and eleven year cross, the only difference being in the colour of the laurel behind the arms. The wreathed year figure on the ribbon also changed its background colour.

Crosses from earlier years, like the 10 and 11 year medal, were of a slightly darker metal, changing in the mid 1980's to a bright yellow metal.

The ribbon numbers also changed by the mid 1980's.  Earlier ones were of a metal-fronted design (on the left).  The version with a glazed front (on the right) was then adopted.

As with other Vierdaagse crosses, awards up to 1982 were suspended from a pin, those from 1983 having the same suspension bar as seen on 10 and 11 year gold crosses.

From 2007

The version awarded since 2007 is of the same broad design and metal as before, but with the detail of the cross and, in particular the crown, better defined.  The wreathed figure on the ribbon and top bar on the ribbon remain unchanged.

Including 2019, about 770 walkers have been awarded the 40 year cross.  This includes about 350 who received the pre 2007 version, although they are entitled to claim the new type if they so wish.

Version awarded since 2007

Gold Cross: fiftieth successful march

Older version

Current  version

This was first awarded in 1985 when Miss Mies Klaver-Budding became the first participant to walk 50 marches.

The old version was similar in metal and general quality to the 10 and 11 year cross.  The only difference was in the colour of the arms of the cross and the laurel behind.  A new design was introduced for the year number plaque on the ribbon.

The new version introduced in 2007 is of silver gilt, and is hallmarked with both the maker’s name [WvV] and the Dutch silver hallmark [] in the centre of the reverse.  While following the old design, the cross is of very high workmanship and the enamel of better quality.  The top bar is also hallmarked silver gilt with a better quality pin clasp.

Including 2019, about 172 walkers have been awarded the 50 year cross.  This includes over 60 who received the old version, although they are entitled to claim the new type to wear instead if they so wish.

The first holder of the 50 year Gold Cross: Miss Klaver-Budding during her eighth March in 1937. [Regional Archives Nijmegen].

Gold Cross: sixtieth successful march

Older version

Current  version

This was first awarded in 1996 when the late Miss Annie Berkhout became the first participant to walk 60 marches.  Miss Berkhout finally completed a total of 66 marches.  The first man to earn the medal was Theo de Blécourt in 1999.

The old version was similar in metal and general quality to the 10 and 11 year cross.  The only difference was in the colour of the arms of the cross and the laurel behind. The design of the plaque on the ribbon bearing the number of years walked was changed slightly from that worn on the 50 year cross.

The new version awarded since 2007 is of silver gilt, being hallmarked with both the maker’s name [WvV] and the Dutch silver hallmark [] in the centre of the reverse.  While following the old design, the cross is of very high workmanship and the enamel of better quality.  The top bar is also hallmarked silver gilt with a better quality pin clasp.

Up to 2019, a total of thirteen walkers have received the 60 year cross. This includes four who received the old version, although they are entitled to claim the new type if they so wish.  In 2018, one cross was awarded (the first since 2012) and only one ribbon number - '69' to Dick Koopman. No new crosses were awarded in 2019.

Gold Cross: seventieth successful march

The 70th cross has not been produced in the 'old' design with an integral crown.

To date, this medal has only been awarded twice: to Bert van der Lans from Nijmegen, who completed his seventieth march in 2017 at the age of 85; and to Dick Koopman from Alkmaar, in 2019, then aged 88.

Van Der Lans received the ribbon number '71' after a successful march in 2018, but had to withdraw after the first day of the march in 2019, after a bike accident on his way home.

In 2019, only one other walker completed the march for the sixtieth time or more, receiving the number '61'. Therefore the seventy year cross will remain a very rare honour.

Bert van der Lans, the first recipient of the gold medal for 70 marches.

[Regional Archives Nijmegen].

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