Die belgische Banknote

The first series of banknotes issued by the National Bank of Belgium (1851) are printed in black ink only, with a discreetly coloured background on the reverse side for security. At the time, the Governor would sign each bank note by hand in a bid to restore the Belgian people’s confidence in paper money. The disastrous episode with the assignats during the French period was still fresh in their memories.

Up until the middle of the 20th century, banknotes are mainly decorated with allegorical scenes made up of figures usually symbolising trade and industry. The River Scheldt, the port of Antwerp and shipping depict trade, while industry is symbolised by the Meuse, metallurgy or the mines. Belgium, the economy, work and even the railways feature among other prominent subjects. Colours also appear on banknotes that contain more and more security features. Banknotes are usually designed by famous artists.

Introduced in 1926, the new unit of account, the belga, is intended to distinguish the Belgian franc from the French franc and to cover up inflation to some extent. So, banknotes had a double denomination of “franc belge-belga” right up until 1946.

After the First World War, the head of State, King Albert I, is depicted for the first time on banknotes, on those from the ‘National Series’.

From the beginning of the 1960s, the allegorical scenes depicted on banknotes give way to key personalities in the country’s history. The last series is in honour of renowned Belgian artistes like Adolphe Sax, who invented the saxophone, the architect Victor Horta, as well as the famous painters James Ensor, Constant Permeke and René Magritte. The Belgian franc was eventually replaced by the euro in 2002.

Check all this out and even more via the application ‘The Belgian banknote’.