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External appearances of the police throughout the years

Heraldry and military fashion

The British like to see themselves as the inventors of the international police star and of blue as the uniform color for the police.

More and more there are international parallel developments and cross-fertilization. Heraldry (heraldry) owes its origins to the strikingly painted decorations that knights put on their shields in the early 12th century to make themselves recognizable in a tournament and battle. These emblems were handed over from father to son and developed into family weapons. Families rose in social and political prestige, played a crucial role in the development of cities, regions and states and thereby passed on their emblems. Non-noble citizens and institutions of all kinds started using heraldic emblems.
The traditions, symbols and uses of heraldry can be found not only in national flags and state weapons, but also in emblems that are used today by families, trading companies, institutions and organizations, cities and municipalities.
The original significance of the coat of arms as a personal identification mark in the war bustle also developed further: from the recognition mark of the knight and his soldiers to emblems of regiments, armed forces and national armies.

The main components in heraldic emblems are: color, shield, helmet, crown and signs. There are multiple signs in heraldry: crosses, swords, structures and tools, celestial bodies, plants and animals.

Colors
Heraldry distinguishes six main colors: yellow, white, red, blue, black and green.
Yellow (= gold) and white (= silver) are the "metals" that are used with the "colors". The other colors are most common in the order: red, blue, black and green. Each color has one or more symbolic values. Red (also called "throat" in heraldry) stands for desire and making himself deserving of his homeland. Blue ("azure") stands for loyalty and perseverance; black ("saber") for mourning. And green ("sinopel") symbolizes freedom, joy and hope.

Blue
Blue, white and red are heraldic colors and also the national colors of the Netherlands. The symbolic values ​​of red and blue are respectively: making merit for the fatherland, and loyalty and perseverance. Characteristics that an army must have.
In 1912 the Dutch army introduced the green-gray field kit. Wherever possible, blue cloth was used for collars and samples to increase the appearance. Minister of War H. Colijn motivated the choice of blue with the strength of this color, which does not easily lose its fresh hue, and the desire to keep the memory "of the old national uniform color" alive.
Indeed, it is already clear from the oldest Dutch uniform regulations, from 1752, that the dragonders (heavy cavalry), the guards on horseback and the infantry of the State army were dressed in blue uniform coats. For the army, white was the color for the cavalry and red for the Scottish regiments in the service of the Republic of the United Netherlands.
At that time, blue was already the dominant color. The textile industry around Leiden was an important supplier of "militia cloth" and blue dyeing was most common in the Leiden area.

In choosing uniform colors, the Republic followed the military superpowers, in particular France. After the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648), which was primarily fought by mercenary armies by the warriors, the national armies took shape. The soldiers swore allegiance to the sovereign prince, who chose national or heraldic colors for the uniforms of his troops. The mercenary commanders no longer determined the loyalty and uniform colors of their soldiers.
France is the trendsetter in the field of military fashion and the French national colors red, white and blue determine the color combinations for the uniforms in the French army. In England, from Cromwell's rule (1645-1658), the scarlet uniform coat is typical.
After the fall of Napoleon, the Netherlands became a sovereign kingdom. The regained national independence had to be expressed in the uniform colors of the new Dutch army and the memory of French hegemony and uniforms disappeared. Unfortunately, the favorite uniform colors at the time of the Republic - red, white and blue - were also the French national colors. Blue again became the dominant uniform color. The dark blue was often combined with the light blue or sky blue color, which symbolizes the House of Orange Nassau: nassau blue.
The Dutch police system took shape in the course of the 19th century. The police joined military fashion and tradition as a strong executive arm of the state and as a uniform-bearing organization. The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee was even a national police organization and part of the army as a military police force.

The eight-pointed star
The star, or rather the shining sun as the brightest celestial body, is an old heraldic sign. The enormous power of the sun's rays appeals to many princes. Think of Louis XIV, the Sun King. The sun is also the symbol of freedom and the hope for a better future. That is why the sun appears in countless royal and national weapons and emblems.

Great Britain: police helmet and star
The eight-pointed star is called the Brunswick star in Great Britain and is associated with the British royal family Hanover. This noble family, from the Electors of Hanover, had its roots in Braunschweig-Lüneburg. During the First World War, the British royal family changed its name: Hannover then became Windsor
The first British king of the House of Hanover, George I (1714-1727), founded his own knighthood, the Order of the Bath, like many other kings in that period. In the decorations of this order, the Maltese cross is depicted on an eight-pointed star, with Ich dien (I serve) on the spellbinding. A century later, George IV (1820-1830) reigned. He was a lover of costumes, uniforms and military chic and issued the first general dress codes for the British army. The shakos of the British regiments often received the crowned Brunswick star as emblem plate. The shako is a stiff, top hat in the shape of a truncated cone, with a flap. In the first half of the 19th century, the shako was the most common military headdress.
In the mid-19th century, the British army fought out countless colonial wars in the vast Empire. The tropical helmet, a fabric-covered cork helmet hat, appeared as an alternative to the heavy and warm shako.
While lacquered felt or leather helmets with comb or peak (Pickelhaube) increasingly determined military fashion on the European continent, in 1878 the British army introduced the cork helmet hat for the troops in the motherland itself, covered with dark blue fabric and fitted with dark blue fabric. a peak (Home Service Helmet, 1878 Pattern). The regimental emblems on these peak helmets consist of separate regiment symbols and spells in the middle of the crowned Brunswick star.

The Metropolitan Police in London were created by the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829.
This police law, initiated by Interior Minister Robert Peel, governed police supervision in the London metropolis.

In choosing uniform colors, the Republic followed the military superpowers, in particular France. After the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648), which was primarily fought by mercenary armies by the warriors, the national armies took shape. The soldiers swore allegiance to the sovereign prince, who chose national or heraldic colors for the uniforms of his troops. The mercenary commanders no longer determined the loyalty and uniform colors of their soldiers.
France is the trendsetter in the field of military fashion and the French national colors red, white and blue determine the color combinations for the uniforms in the French army. In England, from Cromwell's rule (1645-1658), the scarlet uniform coat is typical.
After the fall of Napoleon, the Netherlands became a sovereign kingdom. The regained national independence had to be expressed in the uniform colors of the new Dutch army and the memory of French hegemony and uniforms disappeared. Unfortunately, the favorite uniform colors at the time of the Republic - red, white and blue - were also the French national colors. Blue again became the dominant uniform color. The dark blue was often combined with the light blue or sky blue color, which symbolizes the House of Orange Nassau: nassau blue.
The Dutch police system took shape in the course of the 19th century. The police joined military fashion and tradition as a strong executive arm of the state and as a uniform-bearing organization. The Royal Netherlands Military Police was equally a national police organization and part of the army as a military police force.

The eight pointed star
The star, or rather the shining sun as the brightest celestial body, is an old heraldic sign. The enormous power of the sun's rays appeals to many princes. Think of Louis XIV, the Sun King. The sun is also the symbol of freedom and the hope for a better future. That's why the sun appears in countless royal and national weapons and emblems.

Great Britain: police helmet and star
The eight-pointed star is called the Brunswick star in Great Britain and is associated with the British royal family Hanover. This noble family, from the Electors of Hanover, had its roots in Braunschweig-Lüneburg. During the First World War, the British royal family changed its name: Hannover then became Windsor
The first British king of the House of Hanover, George I (1714-1727), founded his own knighthood, the Order of the Bath, like many other kings in that period. In the decorations of this order, the Maltese cross is depicted on an eight-pointed star, with I serve (I serve) on the spellbinding. A century later, George IV (1820-1830) reigned. He was a lover of costumes, uniforms and military chic and issued the first general dress codes for the British army. The shakos of the British regimental often received the crowned Brunswick star as emblem plate. The shako is a stiff, top hat in the shape of a truncated cone, with a flap. In the first half of the 19th century, the shako was the most common military headdress.
In the mid-19th century, the British army fought out countless colonial wars in the vast Empire. The tropical helmet, a fabric-covered cork helmet hat, appeared as an alternative to the heavy and warm shako.
While lacquered felt or leather helmets with comb or peak (Pickelhaube) increasingly determined military fashion on the European continent, in 1878 the British army introduced the cork helmet hat for the troops in the motherland itself, covered with dark blue fabric and fitted with dark blue fabric. a peak (Home Service Helmet, 1878 Pattern). The regimental emblems on these peak helmets consist of separate regiment symbols and spells in the middle of the crowned Brunswick star.

The Metropolitan Police in London were created by the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829.
This police law, initiated by Interior Minister Robert Peel, governed police supervision in the London metropolis.

The emblem of police forces led the eight-pointed star in the Netherlands before 1945 to a marginal existence. In price lists of suppliers of police uniforms and equipment, such as the Netherlands Weapon Warehouse in Haarlem, an eight-pointed star is offered as a helmet plate. This star has a circular surface in the middle in which the municipal coat of arms can be engraved. The star's wreath has the shape of the German Gardestern. A helmet with helmet plate of this model was in use around 1910 at the police force of Veendam.

The lion, the crown and the national coat of arms
Animals are heraldic signs. The lion is the most common weapon of all heraldic animals, particularly in state weapons. He is king of the animals as a symbol of kingship. In addition, the royal crown is the symbol of royal dignity. The most important characteristic of the royal crown are the brackets with the royal apple on top of the crown. They are the symbol of sovereignty.
Color, lion, crown and coat of arms are the main elements in the most important heraldic emblem of the Netherlands, the national coat of arms, which was established in 1815.
In the azure shield surface, studded with cubes, there is a climbing, accustomed and crowned lion. The lion carries a bared Roman sword in its claws and a bundle of seven arrows.
The coat of arms reflects the emergence of the kingdom: the lion from the family crest of Nassau is crowned (elevated to royal dignity) and provided with the attributes of the States, namely the sword and the bundle of arrows that symbolize the union and constitution of the seven ancient regions . The blocks symbolize the regions of the Southern and Northern Netherlands.
The coat of arms with the royal crown, the two heraldic lions as shield holders and the motto je maintiendrai ("I will maintain") in Latin letters of gold on an azure ribbon are the so-called external ornaments.
The lion-shield holders, too, were originally crowned and looked rather than profiled. This heraldic blunder was corrected in 1907: only the lion on the shield should wear a crown.
The use of the national coat of arms, placed on the coat of arms and canopy, is usually reserved for the king himself.
If the national coat of arms is not shown in color, the hatching of horizontal stripes in the shield area symbolizes the color azure (blue).

The Marechaussee and the jumping grenade

Military Police
The term Marechaussee is of French origin. During the Late Middle Ages, military police units on horseback were established in France. These troops were assigned to the headquarters (maréchalcé or maréchaucée), also tribunal, of a marshal (maréchal). The marshals (maréchaux de France) were charged with the administration of justice and the exercise of police care in the army and were under the connétable in the hierarchy. The name military police for a soldier of the military police and as a name for the corps itself is probably a corruption of maréchalcé and maréchaucée. Marshmallows were originally stable masters at the royal court and the connétable the supreme master. This term was derived from the Latin constabularius: the person with whom you share the stable. The English name for police officer, constable, is also derived from that.
Gradually, the French Marechaussee grew to a strength of several divisions with mounted and non-mounted parts, which were charged with general police supervision in all provinces of the kingdom. As emblem they had a wreathed coat of arms with three French lilies, with the royal crown on top of the shield. After the revolution of 1789, which ended the ancien regime of king and nobility, the Marechaussee was abolished in 1791.

The police force was promptly re-established under the name Gendarmerie Nationale; a name that is not associated with the old regime. It means corps of gens d’armes, armed men.

Jumping grenade
In 1791 the grenadier-gendarme rankings appeared for men at least two non-ridden companies of the gendarmerie. From 1801, several units of the gendarmerie used the jumping grenade as an emblem.
The exploding or jumping grenade has traditionally been the emblem of artillery and grenadiers, the hand grenade launchers. The grenadiers soon become elite corps: heroism is needed to defy the range of fire of enemy muskets to throw grenades. Grenadier units often receive the status of guardian regiments. The leaping grenade thus became the emblem of wardrobe regiments.
In 1804, Napoleon incorporated units from the Gendarmerie into his Guard Imperiale.
It is certain that the leaping grenade already appeared at the gendarmerie before 1804 as an emblem. But it is possible that the jumping grenade only became the general corps emblem of the gendarmerie when in 1804 the guards status was obtained.

Marechaussee and jumping grenade in the Netherlands
During the Batavian republic (1795-1806) a small Corps gens d’armes was established in 1805. These armed people supervised import and export duties.
As King of Holland (1806-1810), Louis Napoleon expanded the Corps gens d’armes to a squadron of the Royal Gendarmerie of two companies. They were entirely stationed in Amsterdam to maintain public order.

In the French period (1810-1813) a police organization on the Dutch territory took shape following the French example:
- in the cities, schouten and schout servants were absorbed in a municipal police (police municipale), with the introduction of the ranks of commissioner (in cities with more than 5000 inhabitants), inspector and police officer. In the cities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants, the mayor was the head of the police rather than a commissioner;
- in the countryside, forestiers and gardes-champetres were the police (rural);
- for the entire area a general police (police generale) came in the form of the French Gendarmerie, a military police force.
In this police system the emphasis was on general police at national level and political state security (haute police).

In 1813, after the departure of the French occupiers, the Netherlands became a sovereign kingdom. The police structure based on the French example was largely maintained:
- municipal police in the cities;
- municipal field guard in the countryside;
- also in the countryside, initially only in the border areas, the Wapen der Koninklijke Marechaussee, copied from the French Gendarmerie and founded in 1814. The partly ridden - and therefore mobile, corps of military police (for the internal police in the armed forces) was also national police, under the responsibility of the Minister of War, but funded for two-thirds by the Department of Justice.

In this police order the emphasis was on the local police. The night watch, which was abolished by the French, was restored to its former glory.
The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee in the Netherlands, the Rijkswacht in Belgium, the Gendarmerie in Luxembourg and Austria and the Carabinieri in Italy are all gendarmerie corps after the French example. They all wear a jumping grenade as a corps emblem.

Decorative cords: nestle, fourragere and catch cord
Decorative cords have a long tradition within the armed forces and the police. The origin of these decorative cords is covered in mists and the subject of often beautiful, but not verifiable anecdotes.

Nestel
The characteristic decorative cord of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and the Police Force (1919- 1940) is the nest with metal nesting pins. Within the armed forces, the nest symbolizes the police authority of the wearer.
A military encyclopedia from the 19th century places the origin of the nest during the Eighty Years' War. The duke of Alva threatened to hang a troop of Flemish soldiers if they were to show cowardice in the next fight.
The Flemings attached a noose of rope with a nail to it around their necks to make Alva's punishment easier to enforce. Of course they fought heroically and from now on they wore the bow as a distinguishing sign.
At the French Marechaussee, the nest is mentioned for the first time in 1720 and it remains a characteristic of only the riders of this corps, the French Gendarmerie, the Royal Gendarmerie of the Kingdom of Holland (1806-1810) and the Royal Marechaussee. Only in 1862 did the non-ridden members of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee bear the nest. The nickname "snare riders" for the gendarmerie and marechaussee probably refers to the nest.
The colors of the nest are different for the three rank groups: men, non-commissioned officers, and adjutants and officers.

Fourragere
The fourragère is a long cord with tassels that is worn as a neck cord or shoulder cord and where the tassels depend on the shoulder. It probably comes from the forage bow, a cord to tie the hay or straw for the horse, and it originally had a practical function. Cavalry riders attached the cord to their uniform and its two ends, respectively, to the hilt of the saber and to the headgear, so that they could not lose it in battle. For the hussars of the Dutch army, the fourragère was an officer-distinctive from 1820 and in 1865 this decorative cord with tassels became a general distinguishing sign for officers in the army. The number of brushes and their color indicate the grade. The ornamental cords are always worn by chief and chief officers during service. Lower officers wear the cords only when wearing the big outfit.
After 1945 fourragères in the army belong to the ceremonial dress.

Towards the end of the 19th century, fourragères were also worn here and there by some municipal police forces, municipal field guards and militia groups, as an ornament on the small (daily) outfit. But wearing a decorative cord is not generally introduced by those organizations.
At the Rijksveldwacht, on the other hand, fourragères have been in use since the establishment of the corps (in 1856) in the small (daily) outfit for grades higher than the Rijksveldwacht. The color of the cord and the number of tassels indicate the grade.

Catch cord
The fourragère of the Rijksveldwacht was changed in the period 1915-1923 to a braided cord with tassels. The braid cord was hung horizontally on the chest with the tassels on the left shoulder. In 1932 this braided cord was replaced by a cord made of two braided cords without tassels and also the staff with the rank of National Guard were given this cord. A part of the cord hangs on the chest and a part goes over the left shoulder, back under the armpit as an arm cord and is attached to the breast piece with a flat knot.
The colors of the cord indicate the three different rank groups. This situation remained so until the dissolution of the corps in 1941.