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Van Riebeeck Decoration
Awarded by South African Defence Force
Type Medal
Eligibility Military Officers
Awarded for Distinguished service in the field
Status Discontinued
Post-nominals DVR
First awarded 1974
Last awarded 1974
Total awarded 2
Next (higher) Louw Wepener Decoration[1]
Next (lower) Honoris Crux
Ribbon - Van Riebeeck Decoration.gif
Van Riebeeck Decoration ribbon

The Van Riebeeck Decoration was a South African military decoration that was in use from 1952 to 1975. It was awarded to military officers, for distinguished service in the field.


The decoration is of silver gilt in the shape of a five-pointed star representing in outline the Castle of Good Hope. The suspension consists of a cluster of 8 protea leaves[2]


Jan van Riebeeck is depicted in relief against a background of three rings representing his three ships, with the words UITNEMENDE DIENS * DISTINGUISHED SERVICE in the outer rings.


The Coat of Arms of South africa, in relief, surmounted by the Royal Cipher. Specimens struck before 31 May 1961 have Queen Elizabeth II's royal cipher above the coat of arms.


32mm in width, sky blue

The DVR was awarded only for distinguished service against an enemy in the field. A silver-gilt bar was authorised to denote a second award, but no bar was ever awarded.


Medal Number Name Service Rank Unit Date of award Action cited for
Breytenbach J. South African Army Cmdt. 1 Recce Commando 1972[3] Special Forces operation in Tanzania
Woodburne L.J South African Navy Lt. Cdr. SAS Emily Hobhouse 1972[4] Special Forces operation in Tanzania


The 1967 Order of Precedence[5] listed the Louw Wepener Decoration before the Van Ribeeck Decoration. However in the 1993 and 2005 Orders of Precedence[6] the Van Riebeeck Decoration is before the Louw Wepener Decoration.


  • Alexander, E. G. M., Barron G. K. B. and Bateman, A. J. (1986). South African Orders, Decorations and Medals. Human and Rousseau.
  • Monick, S, (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History.
  2. Monick, S (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History. pp. 28. 
  3. Uys, Ian. Cross of Honour. pp. 11. 
  4. Uys, Ian. Cross of Honour. pp. 10. 

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