Medals are generally coin-shaped but, unlike coins, they have no payment value. They are works of art in a relatively small format, that were produced, in particular, to commemorate a person (portrait medal) or an event (historical medal). In addition, there are also attendance tokens, accounting jettons, commemorative jettons, guild medals, etc.

lead plaque

Renaissance plaque

No, this is not a kind of dance, but represents the conclusion of an alliance. Following the Italian example, medals were produced in the Low Countries from the Renaissance onwards. This single-sided lead plaque forms part of a series of seven entirely devoted to the revolt and capture of the citadel of Antwerp in August 1577. It has a diameter of 17.1 cm.



Medals are not only intended to be kept in a cabinet; some can be worn in the form of pendants or pinned to clothing. In 1789-1790, during the Brabant Revolution, supporters wore distinctive signs of various shapes, materials and techniques representing coats of arms, the Lion of Brabant or the leaders of the Brabant Revolution, Henri van der Noot and General van der Mersch.

portrait medal

portrait medal

When Queen Louise-Marie died in 1850, the engraver Adolphe Jouvenel (1798-1867) made this magnificent portrait medal in bronze. But queens and kings are not alone in being portrayed on medals. Many people had themselves immortalised in metal, as is shown by the museum’s medal collection.