jewellery and history

‘A is for Adjudant, P is for Paperweight’

What if a desk is a landscape, a paperweight a jewel, a workspace an island. What scenario’s could be projected on the white scene in the Adjudant’s Room? And what are the symbols and occupations related to this work environment? Zooming in and zooming out, in and out of a Royal realm.

Inspired by the way how the worktables of the Royal Family and the Royal Adjudant are shown on photos, our installation re-visits the workroom of the adjudant. The tables carry large paperstacks (as a link to the administrative work of the adjudant) with paperweights on top.  These paperweights are found object as well as objects designed by us, all referring to the work and the distinctins of the adjudant. As an additional layer to our research, Sandberg Institute graduate Annee Grøtte Viken collected documents and wrote texts about a fictional character who works as an adjudant. ‘A is for Ajudant, P is for Paperweight’ is part of a larger research project on jewellery under the name Jewellery Perspectives (Evelien Bracke & Irma Foldenyi).

An additional text about the Adjudant for the desks is developed by Annee Grotte Viken. Currently on show at the Royal Paleis in Soestdijk, Netherlands, as part of the exhibition ‘Bal’.




In 1991 September the Dutch Delegation has prepared a state visit to Japan of Queen Beatrix. In the room the delegation presents the report to the members of the court traveling to Japan. From left to right: V.L.n.r. H.j.L.c. BAX (Head of Department of press and publicity of the Government Information, C.H.E. Brainich von Brainich Felth (Vice Admiral, chief of the Military House), Prof. Dr. W.R. van Gulik (Centre for Japanese and Korean Studies at the University of Leiden) S.A.B/P.M. Schellens (adjudant of the Queen), G.H.AA. Monod de Froideville (ceremony master)




Prins Bernhard at his workdesk.




bernard copy







The adjudant serving the Royal family functions as a daily support, he/she was preparing meetings and visits, administration and traveling around with delegations.





The adjudant serving the Royal family is different from the regular adjudants. A Royal adjudant receives the distinctions with his/her uniform when starting at the Royal family. There are 3 distinctions that come with the uniform: the nestel, the epaulettes and the batons.

The nestel originally served as a rope to tie weapons together. It later became a ceremonial distinction.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 14.34.36




The batons are references to medalions that the person received. The medalions were only worn on ceremonial occasions, therefore the batons represented the medalions on the daily uniforms. The ribbons of the batons refer to the ribbons used for the medalions. Batons are also mentioned to as the curriculum of its wearer.

batons bernhard


The epulettes were introduced in the 20th century, and were in military until 1940. In the contemporary military fashion epoulettes are simplified into a symbol attached onto the collar.




see the outcome of the project here