Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands
His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard Leopold Frederik
Everhard Julius Coert Karel Godfried Pieter, prince of the Netherlands, prince of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1911-2004) was a German
prince that married Princess Juliana in 1937 (photo: RVD/Herman van Dam). In
May 1940 he and his family fled to England when the German army invaded the country.
While his wife and
daughters travelled on to Canada he stayed in London. During the war he was the right hand of Queen
Wilhelmina. In 1944 he became Commander of the Netherlands Armed Forces and in
that capacity he was present at the German capitulation in Wageningen, May
After the war he was
engaged in many economic missions, like to South America. In 1976 it emerged
that there were some shadowy sides to those contacts with commercial companies
(the Lockheed Affair). As a result he resigned from many official duties.
Nevertheless he retained his popularity, especially amongst war veterans and
the former resistance. He worked actively for nature conservation and culture.
His great passion was flying airplanes. He enjoyed life to the most, crossed
boundaries and did not care much for the restrictions his marriage put on him.
On 30 October 1967 Prince Bernhard received the Nansen Medal for his services in
supporting refugee causes during a special ceremony at the Palais des Nations
High Commissioner Prince
Saruddin Aga Khan made the following statement to the Third Committee of the
General Assembly at its 1519th and 1522nd meetings on 20 November 1967:
"I have already
referred to the fund-collecting Campaign organized in October 1966. This
Campaign produced $18 million collected in Europe, Australia and New Zealand for the refugees in Africa and Asia. The profits of this remarkable undertaking, due
largely to the initiative of His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, who acted as Chairman of the Working Group responsible for the
co-ordination of activities in the course of the Campaign, will go largely to
projects outside the High Commissioner's programme, but designed to reinforce
its effect. I shall return to this subject when I touch upon the problem of
financing the programme, but I wish here and now to stress that in spite of the
small sum contributed to the High Commissioner's projects in 1967, it is thanks
to the European Campaign that a part of the programme's financial deficit for
the present year could be wiped out. However, the immediate results of the
Campaign are slight in comparison with its political and practical implications
for the future and the improvements which it will bring to the lives of tens of
thousands of refugees, particularly Tibetans.
This Campaign has helped to make public opinion in Europe more aware of the reality and the gravity of the refugee problem in Africa and Asia; it represents the first really organized effort in
favour of these refugees. This is the reason why we are particularly pleased
that His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was recently awarded in Geneva the Nansen Medal in token of gratitude for the vital
personal part which he played in this generous voluntary effort."
In 1991 the Prince received
the Global 500 Roll of Honour Award from UNEP for founding the World Wildlife
Fund (WWF) and raising funds to finance conservation activities and projects in
all countries where WWF is active.
The In Memoriam for Prince
Bernhard at the Dutch Royal House website.
queen of the Netherlands
European Refugee Campaign
Netherlands 29 June 1971
Netherlands Antilles 29 June 1971
Surinam 29 June 1971
last revised: 27 February 2010