The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav (Norwegian: Den Kongelige Norske St. Olavs Orden; or Sanct Olafs Orden, the old Norwegian name) is a Norwegian order of chivalry that was instituted by King Oscar I of Norway and Sweden on August 21, 1847, as a distinctly Norwegian order. It is named after King Olav II, known for posterity as St. Olav. Nobility was abolished in Norway in 1821. Just before the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905, the order of the Norwegian Lion was instituted in 1904 by King Oscar II, but it was not awarded by his successor Haakon VII. The order of St. Olav thus became the kingdom's only order of chivalry for the next 80 years. The Grand Master of the order is the reigning monarch of Norway. It is awarded to individuals as a reward for remarkable accomplishments on behalf of the father country and humanity. Since 1985, the order has only been conferred upon Norwegian citizens, though foreign heads of state and royals are awarded the order as a matter of courtesy.
Olof Mellberg awards the order upon the recommendation of a six-member commission, consisting of a chancellor, vice chancellor, the court treasurer, and one representative from the southern, central, and northern parts of Norway. The prime minister nominates the members of the commission, and the monarch approves them. Nominations for the award are directed at the commission through the county mayor.
The order is divided into five classes and may be awarded for either civilian or military contributions, the Collar is awarded as a separate distinction of the Grand Cross to those recipients deemed exceptionally worthy, in descending order of distinction:
Recipients are expected to return the insignia upon advancement to a higher level of the order, or upon their death. Since it was instituted, the order has been awarded approximately 5,000 times. The insignia are produced in Norway by craftsmen.
The Norwegian king also awards the St. Olav's Medal in gold and silver for "activities for the benefit of society," but these do not confer upon the recipient membership in an order.
The collar of the Order is in gold, with five enamelled and crowned monograms "O" (for "Oscar", the royal cipher of Oscar I, the Order's founder), five enamelled and crowned coat-of-arms of Norway, and 10 gold crosses bottony each flanked by two battle axes with silver blades and golden shafts (The latter element is also featured in the coat of arms of the Church of Norway).
The badge of the Order is a white enamelled Maltese Cross, in silver for the knight class and in gilt of the higher classes; crowned monograms "O" (for "Oscar") appear between the arms of the cross. The obverse central disc is red with the golden Norwegian lion rampart bearing a battle axe; the reverse disc bears the King Olav's motto «Ret og Sandhed» - "Justice and Truth" in Norwegian; both discs are surrounded by a white-blue-white ring. The cross is topped by a crown; military awards have crossed swords between the crown and the cross.
The star of the Order for the Grand Cross is an eight-pointed silver star with faceted rays, bearing the obverse of the badge of the Order (minus the crown on the top).
The star for Commander with Star is a silver faceted Maltese Cross, with gilt crowned monograms "O" (for "Oscar") between the arms of the cross. The central disc is red with the golden Norwegian lion rampart bearing a battle axe, surrounded by a white-blue-white ring.
The ribbon of the Order is red with white-blue-white edge stripes.
In the Order of precedence used at the royal court of Norway, bearers of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav with collar are ranked 15 in the Order of precedence directly after The Lady Chamberlain and generals and directly before recipients of the War Cross with sword. Bearers of the Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav are ranked 16.
The medal is ranked third in the general ranking of Norwegian orders and medals for use when wearing more than one medal.
This list contains 90 holders of the Grand Cross, 21 of which have also been awarded the Collar and gives the year of their appointment. The list is collated alphabetically by last name, those recipients not possessing a last name, such as royalty and most Icelanders are collated by first name. 6 of the listed are not heads of states or royals, these are marked by names in bold. Before the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit was created in 1985, the Order of St Olav was awarded to members of a foreign delegation during state visits. Many holders of the grand cross who are not Heads of state are not listed here.
|Country||Name||Title, Position||Grand Cross
|Grand Cross||Year of appointment|
|Brazil||Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva||President||2003|
|Commonwealth realms||Charles||Crown Prince||1978|
|Commonwealth realms||Elizabeth II||Queen||1955|
|Commonwealth realms||Philip||Prince Consort||1952|
|Estonia||Arnold Rüütel||3rd President||2002|
|Finland||Martti Ahtisaari||10th President||1994|
|Finland||Mauno Koivisto||9th President||1983|
|Finland||Tarja Halonen||11th President||2000|
|France||Jacques Chirac||former President||2000|
|France||Valéry Giscard d'Estaing||former President (when Minister of Finance)||1962|
|Germany||Roman Herzog||former President||1998|
|Germany||Marianne von Weizsäcker||former first lady||1986|
|Germany||Richard von Weizsäcker||former President||1986|
|Constantine II||former King||1964, 1962|
|Greece||Constantinos Stephanopoulos||6th President||2004|
|Hungary||Árpád Göncz||former President||1999|
|Hungary||Ferenc Mádl||former President||2002|
|Iran||Farah Pahlavi||former Empress||1965|
|Iceland||Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson||President||1998|
|Iceland||Vigdís Finnbogadóttir||4th President||1982|
|Italy||Carlo Azeglio Ciampi||former President||2001|
|Japan||Tomohito of Mikasa||Princess||2001|
|Jordan||Hassan||Prince (former Crown Prince)||?|
|Latvia||Guntis Ulmanis||former President||1998|
|Latvia||Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga||former President||2000|
|Luxembourg||Maria Teresa||Grand Duchess||1964|
|Norway||Kjell Magne Bondevik||former Prime Minister||2004|
|Norway||Lars Petter Forberg||Master of the Royal Household||2004|
|Norway||Magne Hagen||former secretary to the King||2000|
|Norway||Harald V||King||Grand Master||1955, 1991|
|Norway||Kaare Langlete||former Master of the Royal Household||1993|
|Norway||Jørgen Hårek Kosmo||former President of the Norwegian Parliament||2005|
|Norway||Carsten Smith||former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Norway||2003|
|Poland||Aleksander Kwaśniewski||former President||1996|
|Poland||Lech Wałęsa||former President||1995|
|Portugal||António Ramalho Eanes||17th President||1978|
|Portugal||Jorge Sampaio||former president||2004|
|Portugal||Aníbal Cavaco Silva||current president||2008|
|Romania||Emil Constantinescu||former President||1999|
|South Africa||Nelson Mandela||former President||1998|
|Spain||Juan Carlos I||King||1982|
|Sweden||Carl XVI Gustaf||King||1974|