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Queen bestows decorations on four Dutch Americans

Generous annual ‘Medal Shower’

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

CHICAGO, Illinois - At the occasion of Queen’s Day in the Netherlands, two U.S. citizens and two Dutch citizens living in the U.S. have been inducted into a Royal order. In a custom going back many decades, the Dutch monarch bestowed over 3,000 Royal decorations, including dozens of Knightings.

Recognized for his leading work as an astronomer and astrophysicist is Dr. Jacques M. Beckers of the University of Chicago. Arnhem-born Beckers (71) was educated at the University of Utrecht. After working in Australia, he moved to the U.S. in the early ‘60s and became a naturalized citizen in 1968. Beckers, who also works for NASA, is Senior Scientist at the University of Chicago and a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. On April 30, 2005, he became a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion (Nederlandse Leeuw).

Also a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (since 1999) is Prof. Dr. George T. Robillard, a professor at the Bimolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute of the University of Groningen. U.S.-born Robillard was the founder of the institute, which he headed as scientific director until 1999 when he founded university-associated Biomade, a research institute developing and exploiting molecular nanotechnologies. Robillard was named an Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau.

Evolving date

Inducted as Member of Order of Oranje Nassau were two Dutch Americans. Acknowledged for his leadership in a number of Dutch American clubs and societies, is Buskirk, N.Y. resident Jippe J. Hiemstra, a former President of New York-based The Netherlands Club. His presidency of the Netherlands-American Field Hockey Club The Privateers in New York was the reason for noted for his royal recognition.

Mrs. Charlotte (Lotti) Cohen-Stad, who resides in Sherman Oaks, California, was recognized as a volunteer who helps those who were persecuted during the 1940-1945 occupation of the Netherlands. Born in Amsterdam, Lotti Stad, her parents and her sister emigrated to California after the country was liberated.

The current range of Royal decorations are Commander, two types of Officer or Knight, and Member in the Order of Oranje-Nassau, and Officer and Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion. Queen Beatrix celebrates her birthday on April 30, although she was born on January 31. April 30 is the birthday of her late mother Queen Juliana. When Queen Beatrix succeeded her mother in 1980, she did not change the date for Queen’s Day. Before 1948, during the long reign of Queen Wilhelmina, the Dutch celebrated Queen’s Day on 31 August.