Tag: Early modern period

The Carolus guilder: an imperial coin

Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was born in Ghent in 1500. His almost legendary reputation is due to the statement that in his empire the sun never set. Charles V ruled over the Burgundian Netherlands, he was King of Spain (and Spain’s overseas colonies) and he was also the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. During his reign the economy flourished. Herman van der Wee even talks of the emergence of a global economy led by Europe in the 16th century. It is therefore no coincidence that Charles V laid some of the foundations for the modern coinage.

The Robustus

The Antwerp Robustus daalder, dating from 1584, is an emergency coin which illustrates the difficult situation then facing the city on the River Scheldt. In the 16th century, Protestantism was spreading rapidly in the Netherlands. However, the regions which had gone over to the reformed church very soon clashed head-on with the Catholic Spanish ruler.

Margaret of Austria, a woman who managed to play a political role

Only one female personality was selected to appear on a banknote: Margaret of Austria was depicted on the back of the 500 franc note featuring Bernard (or Barend) Van Orley. She was therefore carefully chosen.

The cradle of the European banknote stood in … Sweden

In 1654 Christina, the young Swedish queen, caused upheaval when she abdicated and became a convert to the Roman-Catholic faith. Her extravagancy and the recently ended Thirty years’ war (1618-1648) had left her country with enormous debts. To make financial matters worse, her successor and cousin, Charles X Gustavus, continued warfare with Poland and Denmark. These lasting conflicts were a serious threat to the economy and caused a depreciation of the copper plate money or kopparplätmynt.

Money, source of vanity: a pictorial warning

Frans Francken II, a talented Flemish painter (Antwerp, 1581-1642) who ran an important workshop in his hometown, belonged to an artistic family. Both his father and his son were painters as well, although he was the most productive and the best known of the Francken dynasty.

The patagon

Perhaps on Newyear’s Day, after having read out loud your letter with Season’s greetings, you have received a currant loaf or other type of sweet bread, which is called ‘zoetekoek’, ‘krolleman’ or kramiek’ in several regions of Flanders. Some of these delicious breads are decorated with a painted clay pipe disk. Not only these party breads but also the disks are known by different names such as ‘patacon’, ‘schild’ (shield or ecu), ‘maan’ (moon), ‘rondelle’ (slice), …

An Antwerp double ducaton issued by Albrecht and Isabella (1618)

The 17th century got off to an auspicious start for the Antwerp mint. Following the death of Philip II, the Southern Netherlands came into the hands of Philip’s daughter Isabella and her fiancé and later husband, the Austrian Archduke Albrecht.