Exhibition under the auspices of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Mirek Topolánek and Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra  was prepared by Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, National Museum and Military History Institute in Prague
Hrzánský palác, Loretánská 177/9, Praha 1     	  	3 February 2009 – 1 March 2009, 10:00 – 17:00 (Free admission)
Česká verze English version

INTRODUCTION BY MIREK TOPOLÁNEK

Europe has a long tradition of awarding merit. Even if the orders and honours conferred by individual countries vary, even if their form has changed over the centuries and the circles of people they could be granted to has expanded, it has always been about the same thing:
The recognition of demonstrated service. Recognition that comes neither in the form of material possessions nor in powers of authority. State honours bring their bearers honour and renown that cannot be compensated with either money or influence.

The exhibition, "The Beauty of European Faleristics," shows how individual countries in Europe appreciate "honour and renown". It reflects particular national traditions, differing historical developments and cultural uniqueness. But it also is proof of an all-encompassing unifying element – the relationship between service and honours. The motto of the European Union,
"In Varietate Concordia (Unity in Diversity)," holds true for faleristics as well.

Honours and orders have gone through a long development. The once-exclusive insignia of closed knightly communities have gradually transformed, have grown more varied and have "democratised" into the forms of state honours accessible to all citizens. But they have maintained their exceptional character in awarding individual service conferred by the appropriate authority. Nowadays, orders and medals serve as a very necessary reminder to
our mass consumer democracies: Not everything important in this world can be bought,
and not everything meaningful can be voted on.

Mirek Topolánek
prime Minister of the Czech Republic

picture: Mirek Topolánek, prime Minister of the Czech Republic

Mirek Topolánek
prime Minister of the Czech Republic

Exhibition under the auspices of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Mirek Topolánek and Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra  was prepared by Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, National Museum and Military History Institute in Prague