On 16 February conductor Bernard Haitink was promoted to Commander of the Order of Lion of the Netherlands, the country’s oldest and most distinguished civil order. Bernard received the rarely-granted honour following a concert marking his sixty-year relationship with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. The conductor first led the orchestra in the season of 1956–57, became its Principal Conductor in 1961 and is currently its Honorary Conductor.
Throughout his extensive career, Bernard has received many awards and honours in recognition of his services to music, including several honorary doctorates, an honorary Knighthood and Companion of Honour in the United Kingdom, and the House Order of Orange-Nassau in the Netherlands.
The title of Commander is reserved exclusively for individuals whose contributions to Dutch society are outstanding. It was most recently granted to Ben Feringa, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016. Previous recipients also include the writers Gerard Reve and Harry Mulisch and the painter Karel Appel.