The Order of Leopold II was introduced in 1900 by King Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo Free State, that was then in his private possession. The motto of the order is "l'Union fait la force / Eendracht maakt macht" or "Harmony brings strength" and the order was granted for services to the Congo and services to the head of state. When Congo became a Belgian colony in 1908, the order was also adopted by the Kingdom of Belgium.
The Order was still counted among the Belgian orders of knights after the independence of the colony. The Order is now granted to people and military personnel for special services to the King and as “a mark of his personal regard". Knights must be forty years of age. The order of knights is administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with five categories and three medals usually awarded on 8 April (day of King Albert I’s birth) and on 15 November (King’s Day)