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|Belgium and Belgian Coins|
A New Nation
Although coins have been used in Belgium since ancient times, Belgium itself has only existed as a nation since 1830. It was once part of France, but following the Napoleonic Wars, it was then part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, tensions over religion and the rule of Wilhelm I of the Netherlands boiled over in 1830, when following revolution in France, the Southern Provinces rose up against Wilhelm and declared independence. Wilhelm’s attempt to restore Dutch rule in the southern provinces was not entirely successful and foreign recognition of the new Belgian state, and the threat of French military intervention in 1831, forced Wilhelm to withdraw and eventually recognise Belgian independence. Prince Leopold (who was incidently, the widower of Princess Charlotte, former heir presumptive to the British throne) was elected to become king of the new nation as Leopold I, King of the Belgians. The new nation was founded as a constitutional monarchy with Parliamentary government.
Belgium, despite being a fairly small country, had its own overseas Empire. In 1885, the Congo Free State was acquired by Leopold II as a personal possession of the Belgian King, but controversial stories of atrocities created a scandal that led to the Belgian Government taking over the colony and renaming it Belgian Congo in 1908.
World War I
Belgium suffered invasion at the hands of the Germans during World War I, when Germany tried to knock France out of the war quickly, by attacking France through an area that was less well fortified. However, this violation of Belgian neutrality brought Britain into the war, and Belgium suffered for being used as a battlefield during this destructive conflict.
World War II
Belgium again suffered invasion at the hands of the Germans, but was swiftly conquered and occupied by the Nazis in May 1940. She was occupied until she was liberated by advancing allied armies in 1944.
Following World War II, Belgium was one of the founder members of the European Coal and Steel Community, which eventually evolved into the European Union. Brussels is today the home of many of the EU’s major institutions, including the European Commission, Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
Upon independence in 1830, Belgium adopted a currency based on the French Franc, called not unnaturally, the ‘Belgian Franc’, with similar sub-units. As with the French 20 Franc, the Belgian 20 Franc contained 0.1867 troy ounces of gold when Europe was on the gold standard, making the Belgian Franc effectively interchangeable with countries whose currencies issued coins of this gold content (the others being Italy, Switzerland and Greece, who were part of the Latin Monetary Union). Belgium left the gold standard in 1914, and the Belgian Franc, in common with many other European currencies, depreciated heavily due to events throughout the turbulence of the 20th Century.
Belgium was amongst the first to adopt the Euro, and the Belgian Franc was replaced by the Euro at the rate of 40.3399 Belgian Francs to the Euro. As with all Eurozone countries, Belgian Eurocoins feature a reverse design common to all Eurozone nations, with a nationally unique obverse.
In Belgium’s case, the obverse of her Euro Coins feature the portrait of Albert II, King of the Belgians.
For Sale and Wanted
If you are interested in coins from Belgium please see our product index:-
We also have gold coins from Belgium on our taxfreegold website:-
Belgian Gold Coins
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