Belgian franc
Overview
 
The franc was the currency of Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 until 2002 when the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 was introduced into circulation. It was subdivided into centimes (French), 100 centiem (Dutch) or Centime (German).
The conquest of most of western Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by revolutionary and Napoleonic France led to the French franc
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

's wide circulation. In the Austrian Netherlands (now Belgium), the franc replaced the kronenthaler. This was in turn replaced by the Dutch guilder when the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

 was formed.

Following independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the new Kingdom of Belgium in 1832 adopted its own franc, equivalent to the French franc
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

, followed by Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 in 1848 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 in 1850.
Encyclopedia
The franc was the currency of Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 until 2002 when the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 was introduced into circulation. It was subdivided into centimes (French), 100 centiem (Dutch) or Centime (German).

History

The conquest of most of western Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by revolutionary and Napoleonic France led to the French franc
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

's wide circulation. In the Austrian Netherlands (now Belgium), the franc replaced the kronenthaler. This was in turn replaced by the Dutch guilder when the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

 was formed.

Following independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the new Kingdom of Belgium in 1832 adopted its own franc, equivalent to the French franc
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

, followed by Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 in 1848 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 in 1850. Newly-unified Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 adopted the lira
Italian lira
The lira was the currency of Italy between 1861 and 2002. Between 1999 and 2002, the Italian lira was officially a “national subunit” of the euro...

 on a similar basis in 1862.

In 1865 France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 created the Latin Monetary Union
Latin Monetary Union
The Latin Monetary Union was a 19th century attempt to unify several European currencies, at a time when most circulating coins were still made of gold and silver...

 (to be joined by Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 in 1868): each would possess a national currency unit (franc, lira, drachma) worth 4.5 g of silver or 290.322 mg of fine gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, all freely exchangeable at a rate of 1:1. In the 1870s the gold value was made the fixed standard, a situation which was to continue until 1914.

In 1926, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, as well as France, experienced depreciation and an abrupt collapse of confidence, leading to the introduction of a new gold currency for international transactions, the belga worth 5 francs, and the country's withdrawal from the monetary union, which ceased to exist at the end of the year. The belga was tied to the British pound at a rate of 35 belgas (175 francs) = 1 pound and was thus put on a gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

 of 1 belga = 209.211 mg fine gold. The 1921 monetary union of Belgium and Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 survived, however, forming the basis for full economic union in 1932. In 1935, the Belgian franc was devalued by 28% to 150.632 mg fine gold and the link between the Luxembourg and Belgian francs was revised to 1 Luxembourgish franc = 1¼ Belgian francs.

Following Belgium's occupation by Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in May, 1940, the franc was fixed at a value of 0.1 Reichsmark
German reichsmark
The Reichsmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 until June 20, 1948. The Reichsmark was subdivided into 100 Reichspfennig.-History:...

, reduced to 0.08 Reichsmark in July, 1940. Following liberation in 1944, the franc entered into the Bretton Woods system
Bretton Woods system
The Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states in the mid 20th century...

, with an initial exchange rate of 43.77 francs = US dollar set on October 5. This was changed to 43.8275 in 1946 and then to 50 following the devaluation of the British pound in September 1949. The Belgian franc was devaluated again in 1982.

Like 10 other European currencies, the Belgian/Luxembourgish franc
Luxembourgish franc
The Luxembourgish franc was the currency of Luxembourg between 1854 and 1999 . The franc remained in circulation until 2002, when it was replaced by the euro...

 ceased to exist on January 1, 1999, when it became fixed at 1 EUR= 40.3399 BEF/LUF, thus a franc was worth € 0.024789. Old franc coins and notes lost their legal tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

 status on February 28, 2002.

Linguistics

Initially, the currency was monolingual in French. However, Dutch language coins were introduced from 1869. Some later coins featured inscriptions in both languages. When the two languages appeared on either side of the same face of a coin, two versions were still produced, one with Dutch to the left and French to the right, and one with the alternate arrangement. Banknotes became bilingual in the 1880s and, from 1992, banknotes were introduced which were trilingual, with either French or Dutch on the obverse and German and the remaining language on the reverse. Some commemorative coins were issued with German inscriptions but none for circulation.

Use of Luxembourgish francs in Belgium

Between 1944 and 2002, 1 Luxembourgish franc
Luxembourgish franc
The Luxembourgish franc was the currency of Luxembourg between 1854 and 1999 . The franc remained in circulation until 2002, when it was replaced by the euro...

 was equal to 1 Belgian franc. Both francs were legal tender in the two countries. Nevertheless, payment with Luxembourgish banknotes were commonly denied by shopkeepers in Belgium, either by ignorance or by fear that their other customers would refuse the banknotes (again, either by ignorance or fear of being denied payment with it later), forcing them to go through the hassle of a trip to their bank to redeem the value of the banknote.

Coins

Between 1832 and 1834, copper 1, 2, 5 and 10 centime, silver ¼, ½, 1, 2 and 5 franc, and gold 20 and 40 franc coins were introduced. Some of the early 1 and 2 centimes were struck over Dutch ½ and 1 cent coins. The 40 franc was not issued after 1841, whilst silver 2½ francs and gold 10 and 25 francs were issued between 1848 and 1850. Silver 20 centimes replaced the ¼ franc in 1852. In 1860, cupro-nickel 20 centimes were introduced, followed by cupro-nickel 5 and 10 centimes in 1861. The silver 5 franc was discontinued in 1876. Between 1901 and 1908, holed, cupro-nickel 5, 10 and 25 centime coins were introduced.

In 1914, production of the 1 centime and all silver and gold coins ceased. Zinc 5, 10 and 25 centimes were introduced in the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 occupied zone, followed by holed, zinc 50 centimes in 1918. Production of 2 centimes ended in 1919. In 1922 and 1923, nickel 50 centime and 1 and 2 franc coins were introduced bearing the text "Good For" ("Bon pour" in French, "Goed Voor" in Dutch). Nickel-brass replaced cupro-nickel in the 5 and 10 centimes in 1930, followed by the 25 centime in 1938. Nickel 5 and 20 francs were introduced in 1930 and 1931, respectively, followed by silver 20 francs in 1933 and 50 francs in 1939.

As a consequence of the German occupation in 1940, the silver coinage was discontinued. In 1941, zinc replaced all other metals in the 5, 10 and 25 centimes, and 1 and 5 francs. In 1944 the Allies minted 25 million 2 franc coins at the Philadelphia Mint
Philadelphia Mint
The Philadelphia Mint was created from the need to establish a national identity and the needs of commerce in the United States. This led the Founding Fathers of the United States to make an establishment of a continental national mint a main priority after the ratification of the Constitution of...

 using leftover planchets for the 1943 steel cent
1943 steel cent
The 1943 steel cent, also known as a steelie, was a variety of the U.S. one-cent coin which was struck in steel due to wartime shortages of copper. It was designed by Victor D...

. In 1948, cupro-nickel 5 francs and silver 50 and 100 francs were introduced, followed by silver 20 francs in 1949 and cupro-nickel 1 franc in 1950. Bronze 20 and 50 centimes followed in 1953 and 1952, respectively. The silver coinage ceased in 1955.

Cupro-nickel 25 centime coins replaced the 20 centime in 1964. Nickel 10 francs were introduced in 1969 (only struck until 1979), followed by bronze 20 francs in 1980 and nickel 50 francs in 1987. Aluminium-bronze replaced cupro-nickel in the 5 franc in 1986, whilst nickel-plated iron replaced cupro-nickel in the 1 franc in 1989.

Coins ceased to be convertible in 2004.
Circulating Coins
Image Value € equivalent Diameter Weight Composition Obverse Reverse First Minted Obsolete
25 centimes 0.62 cent 16 mm 2.00 g Cu : 75 %
Ni : 25 %
Crown and letter B Value 1964 1980
50 centimes 1.24 cent 19 mm 2.75 g Cu : 95 %
Sn : 3 %
Zn : 3 %
A Miner
Miner
A miner is a person whose work or business is to extract ore or minerals from the earth. Mining is one of the most dangerous trades in the world. In some countries miners lack social guarantees and in case of injury may be left to cope without assistance....

 and lamp
Crown and value 1952 2002
1 franc 2.48 cent 21 mm 4.00 g Cu : 75 %
Ni : 25 %
Woman's head Crown, branch and value 1950 1988
1 franc 2.48 cent 18 mm 2.75 g Fe : 94 %
Ni : 6 %
King Baudouin  Crown and value 1988 2002
1 franc 2.48 cent 18 mm 2.75 g Fe : 94 %
Ni : 6 %
King Albert II Value 1994 2002
5 francs 12.39 cent 24 mm 6.00 g Cu : 75 %
Ni : 25 %
Woman's head Crown, branch and value 1948 1988
5 francs 12.39 cent 24 mm 5.50 g Cu : 92 %
Al : 6 %
Ni : 2 %
King Baudouin Value 1986 2002
5 francs 12.39 cent 24 mm 5.50 g Cu : 92 %
Al : 6 %
Ni : 2 %
King Albert II
Albert II of Belgium
Albert II is the current reigning King of the Belgians, a constitutional monarch. He is a member of the royal house "of Belgium"; formerly this house was named Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...

 
Value 1994 2002
10 francs 24.79 cent 27 mm 8.00 g Ni : 100 % King Baudouin Coat of arms of Belgium
Coat of arms of Belgium
The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Belgium bears a lion, called the Belgian Lion, or Leo Belgicus. This is in accordance with article 193 of the Belgian Constitution: The Belgian nation takes red, yellow and black as colours, and as state coat of arms the Belgian lion with the motto UNITY MAKES...

 
1969 1985
20 francs 49.58 cent 25.65 mm 8.50 g Cu : 92 %
Ni : 6 %
Al : 2 %
King Baudouin Leaves and value 1980 2002
20 francs 49.58 cent 25.65 mm 8.50 g Cu : 92 %
Ni : 6 %
Al : 2 %
King Albert II Value 1994 2002
50 francs 1.24 22.75 mm 7.00 g Ni : 100 % King Baudouin Value 1987 2002
50 francs 1.24 22.75 mm 7.00 g Ni : 100 % King Albert II Value 1994 2002

Banknotes

Between 1835 and 1841, notes were issued by the Société de Commerce de Bruxelles, the Banque Legrelle, the Société Génerale pour Favoriser l'Industrie Nationale, the Banque de Belgique, the Banque de Flandre and the Banque Liègeoise et Caisse d'Épargnes in denominations which included 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1000 francs.

In 1851, the National Bank of Belgium
National Bank of Belgium
The National Bank of Belgium has been the central bank of Belgium since 1850...

 began issuing paper money, in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 francs. 1, 2 and 5 franc notes were introduced in 1914. The Société Génerale de Belgique issued paper money in the German occupied areas between 1915 and 1918 in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 20, 100 and 1000 francs.

The treasury took over production of 5 and 20 franc notes in 1926. In 1927, notes were introduced by the National Bank with denominations given in both francs and belgas. These were 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 10,000 francs (10, 20, 100, 200 and 2000 belgas).

In 1944, following liberation, new banknotes were introduced (dated 1943 and printed in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

) in denominations of 5, 10, 100, 500 and 1000 francs (1, 2, 20, 100 and 200 belgas). These were the last notes to bear denominations in belgas. Treasury notes for 50 francs were introduced in 1948, followed by 20 francs in 1950, whilst the National Bank continued to issue 100, 500 and 1000 francs. 5000 franc banknotes were introduced in 1971, with the 20 and 50 franc treasury notes replaced by coins in 1980 and 1987, respectively. 10,000 franc banknotes were introduced in 1992, the same year that production of the 5000 franc note ceased. 2000 franc notes were introduced in 1994.

Unlike coins, banknotes removed from circulation in 2002 (as well as all other banknotes with denominations of at least 100 francs of earlier series issued since 1944, and certain rare banknotes issued prior to 1944) may be exchanged into euros at the National Bank of Belgium
National Bank of Belgium
The National Bank of Belgium has been the central bank of Belgium since 1850...

 for an indefinite period of time.

The notes taken out of circulation in 2002 were
100 francs: James Ensor
James Ensor
James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor was a Flemish-Belgian painter and printmaker, an important influence on expressionism and surrealism who lived in Ostend for almost his entire life...

200 francs: Adolphe Sax
Adolphe Sax
Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax was a Belgian musical instrument designer and musician who played the flute and clarinet, and is best known for having invented the saxophone.-Biography:...

500 francs: René Magritte
René Magritte
René François Ghislain Magritte[p] was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images...

1000 francs: Constant Permeke
Constant Permeke
Constant Permeke was a Belgian painter and sculptor who is considered the leading figure of Flemish expressionism.Permeke was born in Antwerp but when he was six years old the family moved to Ostend, where his father became curator of the Municipal Museum of Arts. Permeke went to school in Bruges...

2000 francs: Victor Horta
Victor Horta
Victor, Baron Horta was a Belgian architect and designer. John Julius Norwich described him as "undoubtedly the key European Art Nouveau architect." Indeed, Horta is one of the most important names in Art Nouveau architecture; the construction of his Hôtel Tassel in Brussels in 1892-3 means that...

10,000 francs: Albert II of Belgium
Albert II of Belgium
Albert II is the current reigning King of the Belgians, a constitutional monarch. He is a member of the royal house "of Belgium"; formerly this house was named Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...

 and Queen Paola of Belgium
Queen Paola of Belgium
Paola, Queen of the Belgians , is the queen consort of Albert II of Belgium....




Earlier notes included
20 francs: King Baudouin 50 francs: King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola
Queen Fabiola of Belgium
Queen Fabiola of Belgium is the widow of King Baudouin of Belgium. She was Queen consort of the Belgians for 33 years...

100 francs: Hendrik Beyaert
Hendrik Beyaert
Hendrik Beyaert or Henri Beyaert was a Belgian architect.He was born in Kortrijk, Belgium on 29 July 1823 and died in Brussels 22 January 1894. He is considered one of the most important Belgian architects of the 19th-century....

500 francs: Constantin Meunier
Constantin Meunier
Constantin Meunier , Belgian painter and sculptor, was born in Etterbeek, Brussels.His first exhibit was a plaster sketch, "The Garland," shown at the Brussels Salon in 1851. Soon afterwards, on the advice of the painter Charles de Groux, he abandoned the chisel for the brush...

1000 francs: André Ernest Modeste Grétry
André Ernest Modeste Grétry
André Ernest Modeste Grétry was acomposer from the Prince-Bishopric of Liège , who worked from 1767 onwards in France and took French nationality. He is most famous for his opéras comiques....

5000 francs: Guido Gezelle
Guido Gezelle
Guido Pieter Theodorus Josephus Gezelle was an influential Flemish language writer and poet and a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium.- Life :...

10,000 francs: King Baudouin of Belgium and Queen Fabiola of Belgium
Queen Fabiola of Belgium
Queen Fabiola of Belgium is the widow of King Baudouin of Belgium. She was Queen consort of the Belgians for 33 years...


See also

  • Belgian euro coins
    Belgian euro coins
    Belgian euro coins feature only a single design for all eight coins: the portrait or effigy of King Albert II of the Belgians and his royal monogram...

  • Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union
    Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union
    The Belgium–Luxembourg Economic Union , abbreviated to BLEU or UEBL, is an economic and monetary union between Belgium and Luxembourg, two countries in the Benelux economic union....

  • Economy of Belgium
    Economy of Belgium
    The modern, private enterprise economy of Belgium has capitalised on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base...

  • Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Belgium)
    Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Belgium)
    Euro gold and silver commemorative coins are special euro coins minted and issued by member states of the Eurozone, mainly in gold and silver, although other precious metals are also used in rare occasions. Belgium was one of the first twelve countries in the Eurozone that introduced the euro on...


External links

  • NBB.be, A brief history of Belgian banknotes and coins (NBB
    National Bank of Belgium
    The National Bank of Belgium has been the central bank of Belgium since 1850...

    )
  • NBB.be, Exchange of Belgian banknotes (NBB
    National Bank of Belgium
    The National Bank of Belgium has been the central bank of Belgium since 1850...

    )
  • NEWS.BBC.co.uk, Overview of Belgian franc from the BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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