Tag: art

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.

The Compagnie des Bronzes and lighting at the Hôtel of the Governor

On 5 May 1850, King Leopold I gave royal assent to the bill providing for the creation of the National Bank. After being located initially in the rue Royale, the Bank decided in 1859 to construct its new headquarters in the rue du Bois Sauvage on the north side of the collegiate church of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula.

Victor Hugo: shareholder of the National Bank

The document which we are displaying is a letter from Victor Hugo acknowledging receipt of shares bought from the National Bank of Belgium. Victor Hugo was born at Besançon in 1802 and died in Paris in 1885 at the age of 83. He is the most important of the French romantic authors. Hugo produced a very diverse range of works, writing stories, lyrical poetry, plays in verse and prose, political speeches and a great many letters.

The zappozap: a decorative axe as a means of payment

In 1887, two years after acquiring the Congo as his personal kingdom, Leopold II signed a decree organising the currency system, and giving the Belgian franc the status of the single currency. However, the Congolese people were very reluctant to use this new coinage, and it was a long time before the standard currency became generally accepted.

Henri Beyaert (1823-1894)

Henri Beyaert was one of the most influential architects that Belgium has ever known. With prestigious projects such as the Petit Sablon park and the Concert Noble in Brussels or Tournai station, he became decidedly famous. However, the reason for this portrait lies in his designs for the National Bank, especially the Bank’s Hotel in Brussels, the building in which the museum is housed, and the Antwerp branch of the Bank, depicted next to him on the banknote.