Gold Cross Holders Association: Medals and awards

The Vierdaagse Gold Cross Holders Association (Vereniging Gouden-Kruisdragers Vierdaagseacts as a network for those who have marched at Nijmegen at least ten times. It also has a role in commenting on the running of the Vierdaagse, including any proposed changes.  It currently has over 3,700 members from twenty different countries.

Although the Association of Vierdaagse Gold Cross Holders was established in 1951, informal reunions of Gold Cross Holders date back to 1946. This includes at least two one-day walking events for which medals were awarded aas souvenirs

Gold Cross Holders' March, 1946

The 1946 medal.

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.

The medal was gilded and had a width of 30 mm at its widest point.  The inscription on the arms of the cross reads: "REUNIE GOUDEN KRUIS DRAGERS 23-6-46".

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.

[From 50 jaar Vereniging Gouden Kruisdragers].

Gold Cross Holders' March, 1948

 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.

The 1948 medal.

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].

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.

Lustrum anniversary award of the Vierdaagse Gold Cross Holders Association. 

(De Lustrumbeloning van de Vereniging Goudenkruisdragers Vierdaagse)  

Figure 1: A 1980's women's award for 40 marches. It is silver with the Dutch silver  hallmark [†] and makers mark on the reverse.

Figure 2: A 1980's men's award for 15 marches.  It is made of white metal.

This small metal badge 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 or tie pin.

  • or women: With a small top ring, designed to be worn as a pendant.

Older badges are 16 mm in diameter, with the earliest awards made of hallmarked silver.

The current award is white metal and 13 mm in diameter. It is attached by a short pin behind the badge.

Figure 3:  The current awards for 15 and for 20 marches. 

They are made of white metal and have a short pin behind the badge.

Figure 4:  A 1980's men's award for 25 marches.

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