A three-letter
happiness giver: Pin

Gloriously colourful, light and often no larger than a thumbnail

They are proudly worn on lanyards around the neck like a medal. And are just as sought after! There are often so many of them that it is fortunate that they only weigh around 8 grams each. Otherwise the flag pins, fun pins and word pins would cause the collectors to lean forward when walking. Because one pin seldom comes alone…

Everything began in the USA in1896 when an astute businessman obtained the patent for the manufacture of the pins, the precursor of the lapel badge. Pins were designed to be more practical than decorative in nature. They were to be used to make a statement. Today, they are also very suitable for creating a feeling of solidarity.

Chris, from Canterbury in England, also suspects that it was the Americans who were the first to start swapping and collecting pins. “They are totally crazy about this,” he says. He’s not entirely sure, but thinks the passion for pin collecting was reinforced at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. And he has caught the bug. With 31 pins, his Invictus Games lanyard is already full. So his cap has to be used for further pins, the accreditation wallet already being pierced full of holes. He is particularly proud of a pin he obtained at the first Invictus Games in London in 2014 He explains that the ways in which pins are swapped vary from situation to situation. He sometimes gives children several pins and doesn’t ask for anything in exchange.

Eddy, from Fontainebleau in France, proudly states that he has 20 pins. He is an instructor at the Centre National des Sports de la Defense and describes himself as “a kind of boss”. That is why he has a number of pins to distribute to competitors or staff. Collecting pins is a bit more challenging with the team from Israel. The team is new to the Invictus Games and hasn’t brought many pins with them.

Gosa comes from Abuja in Nigeria. His eyes sparkle when he looks at the pins he has collected. With 17 pins, his lanyard is already pretty full. However, there is still enough space for more. Gosa is able to name every person who has given him a pin. As with all his teammates, he is at the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 presented by Boeing for the first time and wants to take advantage of his time in Düsseldorf to obtain cherished mementos. And he has been extremely fortunate to be given a rare pin from the Israeli team as a present. “I am overwhelmed by the respect that I feel and am shown here,” said Gosa. He accepts the pins in exchange for the love that he shows people. “And I feel tremendous love here.”

Esther and her daughter Bo from Tiel in The Netherlands have a total of 39 pins, with Bo, amassing 27 of them. She will soon need a second lanyard. Esther explains that people come up to her asking to swap while some simply give their pins away. “My husband is in Düsseldorf this year as a competitor,” says Esther. “Compared to The Hague, which we only visited for the day, we can gather pins here to our hearts’ content.”

Roberta, from Monza in Italy, was given 30 pins to swap by her father who is competing in the Invictus Games. This has brought her 13 “trophies” from countries including Canada, Germany and The Netherlands. “I am pleased about my collection even at this early stage,” she says. However, she still dreams of a South Korean pin. And if she finally meets a team member who will give her one, this would make this Invictus Games perfect for her.

Written by Sandra Wriedt