Order of Franz Joseph

The Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order was an award of the Austro- Hungarian Empire and was founded on December 2, 1849 by Emperor Franz Joseph I as an award for achievements in military and civil matters. The Foundation took place on the first anniversary of the enthronement of Francis Joseph I.

Order of classes

The graded as a knightly order award, initially involved three classes of Grand Cross, Commander's Cross ( " Comthure " ) and Knight's Cross, which were later expanded to five classes:

  • Grand Cross
  • Commander's Cross with Star
  • Commander's Cross
  • Officer's Cross
  • Knight's cross

The Franz Joseph Order was thus the only one of the Order of Merit of the monarchy, which was awarded five levels.

Order characters

The insignia of the Franz- Joseph- Order consists of an octagonal, crimson enameled gold cross, whose arms are wider at the ends. In the center is a white sign with FJ ( Francis Joseph ). There is a black enamel, Austrian double eagle carrying in their beaks a gold chain with the Order Currency Viribus unitis ( Joining Forces ) Between the arms of the cross. Above the cross an unspecified crown in gold is attached, does not represent the actual Austrian imperial crown, but abstract majesty. The insignia of the Order of five classes differ only in size.

The ribbon of the Order is solid red.

Knight of the Order wore the insignia on the belt in his buttonhole, officers as plug decoration on the left chest. Commanders of both stages wore the insignia around the neck, Grand Cross - carrier with the sash over the right shoulder. Commanders with Star and owner of the Grand Cross wore in addition a medal star that was plugged into the left chest.

If the Order of Merit awarded at war, the red ribbon was replaced by the ponceaurot and white striped ribbon of the Military Cross of Merit.

The insignia of all levels of the Order of Franz Joseph Order can be seen in the Museum of Military History in Vienna.


The ceremony took place without regard to birth, religion or status and nationality. All members of the Order had access to the court festivities. However, no claim was linked to an elevation to the peerage with the Franz -Joseph- Orden, which was an innovation compared to the previously created Merit of the monarchy ( Military Maria Theresia Order, Stephan Order, Order of Leopold, Order of the Iron Crown).

Connected to the Franz -Joseph- Orden was the (kk ) Civil Merit Cross, which was awarded at various stages (eg as Iron Cross with the Crown or as the Golden Cross of Merit on ribbon of Valor Medal). The insignia of the Order of Merit corresponded to the Knight's Cross of the Franz Joseph Order, however, did not show the black enameled double eagle.

Social Historical Significance

Even more than other was this Order of Merit for " mass north" par excellence. Care were mostly members of social medium layers - should be awarded without receiving a claim to the collection in the peerage - for whatever reason. In business circles, sometimes the credit rating of company owners, it was also used to determine whether they are " at least" holder of the Order of the Iron Crown (mostly III. Grade) or "only" those of Franz Joseph's Order were.