Tag: history

The 500 BEF van Orley note

From 20 February to 26 May 2019 BOZAR is holding the exhibition ‘Bernard van Orley. Brussels and the Renaissance’. This provides us with an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at the 500 Belgian franc note, which shows a portrait of this 16th century Brussels artist. The 500 franc note, which was printed from […]

Money That Goes Up In Smoke

Since being discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, tobacco has become a significant feature of our society. While its detrimental effects on health are now well-known, it was initially regarded as a medicine before becoming a symbol of freedom and a life style represented, for example, by the famous Marlboro cowboy. What many people don’t know is that tobacco was used as a means of payment at various times in history ….

This way to the money. Come and see the banking hall at the National Bank

Have you ever had occasion to enter the imposing banking hall at the National Bank of Belgium? Do you know what it looks like and the reasons why ordinary people go there? You go in via the main NBB entrance just a few steps away from the Temporary Museum. The time has come to devote this new edition of Spotlight to the banking hall.

There’s a cow in the museum!

After all the banknotes and coins on display at the National Bank of Belgium’s Temporary Museum, in the fifth room a large cow makes a sudden appearance. But just what is this animal doing here?

Coin production through the ages: casting, and manual or mechanical hammering

Coins gradually came into use for everyday transactions from 700 BC onwards. Nowadays, we cannot imagine being without them. They are recognised as a means of payment in virtually all cultures. This month we are therefore putting the “Spotlight” on coin production.

Centenary of the Great War: the National Bank in wartime

This edition of ‘Spotlight’ describes what happened to the National Bank during the Great War.

Brussels, m’as-tu vu? Exploring the Hôtel du gouverneur

Did you know that the Governor of the National Bank of Belgium has an official residence within the Bank itself for the entire duration of his mandate?

The Carolus guilder: an imperial coin

Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was born in Ghent in 1500. His almost legendary reputation is due to the statement that in his empire the sun never set. Charles V ruled over the Burgundian Netherlands, he was King of Spain (and Spain’s overseas colonies) and he was also the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. During his reign the economy flourished. Herman van der Wee even talks of the emergence of a global economy led by Europe in the 16th century. It is therefore no coincidence that Charles V laid some of the foundations for the modern coinage.

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 National Bank has had 21 governors

The person in charge of the National Bank of Belgium is called the governor. Room 1 in the museum comprises the former governor’s office, which was in use until 1953. Since the Bank was set up in 1850, 21 men have held the post of governor, and have made their mark on this institution (some more so than others). This month, the Spotlight focuses on this high office at the Bank and the men who have held it.