Universalmuseum Home

Honour and Vanity

100 Years of Decorations of the Republic of Austria 1922–2022

In cooperation with the Austrian Society for Phaleristics


Coin Cabinet, Schloss Eggenberg, Eggenberger Allee 90, 8020 Graz


Curated by Hermann Dikowitsch, Helmut-Theobald Müller, Karl Peitler and Johann Stolzer
Press tour: 04.05.2022, 11 am
Opening: 05.05.2022, 7 pm
Duration: 06.05.-30.10.2022


Info exhibition: +43-316/8017-9200
Info press: +43-316/8017-9214 and -9213

About the exhibition 


With the law passed on April 3rd, 1919, the Republic of Germany-Austria abolished the nobility and the ‘existing secular knights’ and ladies’ orders’. Many political decision-makers believed at the time that the young nation would be able to get by without wearable decorations, but they were wrong. As early as November 4th, 1922, the National Assembly passed the federal law for the creation of ‘decorations for services to the Republic of Austria’ and thus – albeit avoiding the term ‘order’ (Orden) – revived the custom of rewarding special services through the awarding of decorations. In the corporative state, a law passed by the federal government on September 24th, 1934, meant that the decoration (Ehrenzeichen) was changed into the ‘Austrian Order of Merit’ with affiliated merit badges and merit medals, while retaining its meanwhile 16 classes and the appearance of the decorations with their characteristic ‘cross potent or crutch cross’. Following the ‘Anschluss’ with Nazi Germany, the German system of awards also applied to the ‘Ostmark’ (eastern province), as did a prohibition on the wearing of insignia of the Order of Merit. With the federal law of April 2nd, 1952 the Second Republic linked up with 1922, creating anew a ‘Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria’, now with 15 classes, but with newly designed insignia in the form of ‘Maltese Crosses’. In the exhibition in the Coin Cabinet in Schloss Eggenberg, part of the Universalmuseum Joanneum, Austrian decorations and orders of merit, including cases, decrees, pictures of awards being made etc. are on show, as well as other federal awards and a selection of decorations made by the regional governments of Austria that are high in quality. A richly illustrated catalogue with interesting contributions on the Austrian system of awards will also accompany the exhibition.



Publication is permitted exclusively in the context of announcements and reviews related to the exhibition. Please avoid any cropping of the images. Thank you for crediting the photographs according to the enclosed indications.

Press images Expand Box


Silver order of merit for services rendered to the Republic of Austria,
Silver order of merit for services rendered to the Republic of Austria,

Photo: UMJ/Coin cabinett

Silbernes Ehrenzeichen REpublik OEsterreich UMJ Muenzkabinett.JPG (1.09 MB)

Great golden order of merit of the Country of Styria, neck decoration,
Great golden order of merit of the Country of Styria, neck decoration,

Photo: UMJ/Coin cabinett

Grosses Goldenes Ehrenzeichen Halsdekoration UMJ Muenzkabinett.JPG (1.01 MB)

Press contact


Universalmuseum Joanneum
Marketing & Communications


Mariahilferstraße 4
8020 Graz, Austria
P: +43/316/8017-9211
F: +43/316/8017-9253

Marketing & Communications