Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands


Prince Bernhard - portrait ca. 2000His 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 1945.


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.


Prince Bernhard - portrait ca. 1960On 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 in Geneva.


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, Nansen Medalwho 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.


Global 500 Roll of HonourThis 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.



Related person


Juliana, queen of the Netherlands



Related subject


European Refugee Campaign



Stamp catalogue


Netherlands                            29 June 1971

Netherlands Antilles                29 June 1971

Surinam                                 29 June 1971









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last revised: 27 February 2010