Tag: King of the Belgians

Portraying the fatherland

In 1869, nearly 20 years after its foundation, the National Bank of Belgium first saw big-themed bank notes roll off the presses. Their recognition value to the general populace and the level of detail put in by their creators quickly turned these drawings into a key weapon in combating forgery. The iconography also had a symbolic, nation-building purpose, and in Belgium its allegories and images typically captured the aspirations and successes of the nation state. This ‘In the Spotlight’ provides a snapshot of the way in which the National Bank has portrayed the fatherland on its franc banknotes over time.

The royal portrait in our wallet

Royalty are the only Belgians to have been honoured by being depicted on a coin or banknote during their lifetime, so it is high time we took a close look at the royal portrait in this edition of ‘Spotlight’.

The last series of Belgian franc banknotes

This month, the Spotlight focuses on the last series of Belgian franc banknotes. Indeed, although some people still convert euros to francs, the notes themselves often seem to have been forgotten already.

The Dynasty series of Belgian franc notes

For the month of November, this latest edition of the Museum’s Object of the Month turns its attention to a very specific series of Belgian banknotes: the Dynasty series, issued just after the Second World War.

Leopold II: a currency for the Congo Free State?

At the end of the 19th century, the Congo, with its territory 80 times bigger than Belgium, became the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium. After the 1885 Berlin Conference, Leopold II was internationally recognised as the sovereign of the Congo Free State. In other words, he became the absolute sovereign ruler of the free State, with sovereignty being fully incarnated in the king’s persona.

1000 francs for the Battle of the Yser

The Belgian banknote has always been the nation’s ambassador. At its very beginning national allegories decorated the note, later on they were replaced by royals and only the latter series made room for Belgian historical or cultural figures. By doing so the iconographic field became much larger for the latter series.

First centenary: time for innovation

The design of the euro banknotes depicts the architectural styles of seven periods in Europe’s cultural history. Compared to the former notes of the member states of the euro area which can be regarded as glorious portrait galleries, the euro notes no longer depict portraits from famous persons of the euro area. Questions that might have given rise to discussion were, amongst others: who? males? females? what nationality? In the 20th century the portrait became one of the main motifs of the Belgian notes.