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Since 2004, the countries belonging to the Eurosystem have received, from the European Council, the right to mint commemorative €2-coins, but only once a year and one per country. These coins are legal tender in the whole euro area. They are struck to commemorate historic or current events of a specific importance. In exceptional cases, two different €2-coins may be issued during the same year by a single country, as long as the topic of one of them concerns the whole euro area and celebrates a European event. These special issues are nevertheless ruled by specific regulation. The country concerned has to inform the European Commission which will then publish the information in the Official Journal of the European Union.

2 euro, common side

2 euro, common side

Alike the other euro coins, these €2-commemorative coins have a common side as well as a national side. The latter is the only one that can be modified. They are legal tender throughout the euro area. Since 2006, the issuing country has to be clearly identifiable, either by its full name or its abbreviation on the national side. The issue has a maximum volume which can be increased if it involves universal and highly symbolic topics. However, in these cases, the country concerned has to refrain from issuing other commemorative coins within four years. The first country to strike commemorative coins was Greece, on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Athens. Belgium started minting one each year in 2005. All Belgian commemorative coins and the common coins of each country of the euro area are on display, in room 4 of the museum, as well as the coins of Monaco, Vatican City and San Marino. Other commemorative coins with a higher value than 2€ also exist. They are also legal tender but solely in the issuing country. They are rarely used as common currency as their purchase price is very often higher than their facial value. Hence, they are almost exclusively minted for collectors. The Belgian €100-coin minted in 2009 to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of the Belgian Royal Couple, Albert II and Paola belongs to this category of commemorative coins.

2 euro, The Belgian-Luxemburg Economic Union

2 euro, The Belgian-Luxemburg Economic Union

2005 The Belgian-Luxemburg Economic Union

This coin shows the heads of Grand-Duke Henri of Luxembourg and King Albert II to the left and slightly posed on top of one another. The year 2005 and the engraver, Luc Luycx’s initials can also be seen on this side. As for the rim, it shows the twelve stars of the European flag, as well as the sovereigns’ monograms.      

2 euro, The reopening of the Atomium

2 euro, The reopening of the Atomium

2006 The reopening of the Atomium

The Atomium, an enlargement of an iron crystal and the emblem of the Universal Exhibition of Brussels in 1958 is represented on this coin. Its spheres also stand for the then nine Belgian provinces, nowadays Belgium has ten provinces. Its renovation began in March 2004 and ended in February 2006.    

2 euro, 50th anniversary of Treaty of Rome

2 euro, 50th anniversary of Treaty of Rome

2007 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome

 The treaty signed by the six founding countries of the European Union (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) is represented on this coin. In the background, the pattern of the paving designed by Michel-Angelo for the Piazza del Campidoglio, where the treaty was signed in 1957. The Treaty of Rome established the Common Market for free competition in the products of all sectors of the economy and laid thus the foundation of the current European Union. The coin has been jointly minted by the then 13 countries of the euro area. The design was elected after a competition held by the European mints. The inscriptions in the upper part of the coin, include the terms PACTVM ROMANVM / QVINQVAGENARIVM and EUROPA/E above the treaty drawing, whereas in the lower part of the coin, the year of its issuance 2007 is visible.

2 euro, 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

2 euro, 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

2008 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The central part of the field shows a rectangle that includes a circle in its upper part and the number 60 in its lower part. Between the two, some curved lines evoking palm trees are going on outside the frame. Underneath, one can read UNIVERSAL / DECLARATION / OF / HUMAN RIGHTS.    

2 euro, 10th anniversary of the European Economic and Monetary Union and the 10th anniversary of the euro

2 euro, 10th anniversary of the European Economic and Monetary Union and the 10th anniversary of the euro

2009 Jointly the 10th anniversary of the European Economic and Monetary Union and the 10th anniversary of the euro

The field represents a human stylized figure whose left arm is extended to form the €-symbol. As for the irregular outline, it reminds of the old Athenian tetradrachme which also found its way to the current Greek €1- coin. Note that George Stamatopoulos, the designer of this commemorative coin, is an engraver at the Minting department of the Bank of Greece. His initials appear above the euro symbol. This coin is issued by the 16 countries of the euro area (knowing that Vatican City, Monaco and San Marino are not members of the euro area even if they use the euro as their official currency). It shows in its upper part, the name of the issuing country: BELGIE – BELGIQUE – BELGIEN, with on either side, the mark of the mint master and the Brussels’ mintmark. The acronym EMU (Economic and Monetary Union) and the years 1999 – 2009 are engraved in the lower part. Citizens and residents of the European Union had the opportunity to vote online for their favourite design out of five. The selected one symbolizes the idea that the single currency, and by enlargement also the Economic and Monetary Union, are the accomplishment of a long history of commercial exchanges and economic integration in Europe. For their issue is limited, these coins are highly prized by collectors and therefore do not circulate for long. Nevertheless, the high frequency of issue of these specific coins leads continually to new discoveries in our purses.

Valérie Pede,
Museum guide

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