State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen places the Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau medal around the neck of Governor Eugene B. Holiday as his wife Marie-Louise looks on. (Suzanne Koelega photo)
THE HAGUE--St. Maarten Governor Eugene B. Holiday was appointed Commander in the Order of Orange-Nassau during a reception hosted by State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitization Alexandra van Huffelen in The Hague on Friday.
At the end of her speech at the reception in the Grote Kerk, a large, historic church of the late Middle Ages in the city centre, and right after presenting him with a gift, Van Huffelen announced that Holiday was the recipient of the Commander in the Order of Orange-Nassau, which is a very high royal distinction.
A very surprised Holiday, who stood on stage together with his wife Marie-Louise, together with the state secretary watched as the large blue velvet box was brought in. Van Huffelen then proceeded to hang the prestigious medal around Holiday’s neck on behalf of King Willem-Alexander.
The distinction of Commander is not often conferred on people. Only a few persons are appointed in this grade, the third of the six grades of the Order of Orange-Nassau. The recipient of this royal decoration must have carried out highly exceptional and important activities, sometimes of an international appeal and effect.
There are only two higher distinctions in the Order of Orange-Nassau: Knight Grand Cross, which is the highest, and Grand Officer, the second highest. Commander is the third highest decoration of the in total six classes in the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Holiday received the royal distinction during his farewell reception hosted by the state secretary and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK as the governor’s 12-year tenure comes to an end on October 10.
Van Huffelen praised and thanked Holiday for his enormous contribution to helping build Country St. Maarten, not only as governor, but also in other capacities before becoming St. Maarten’s first Governor in 2010.
Governor Holiday spoke to the invited guests after receiving the royal decoration. “Today has become extra special because of this great honour. This decoration is thanks to many people who played an important role in my life, my parents, my wife Marie-Louise to whom I dedicate this distinction,” he said.