The Dutch have always invested in creating beautiful money. Pre-euro, their paper bills were the most beautiful around. My wife and I bought a few denominations before the Euro took over, and have them framed in a double-sided glass frame. The money is not only visually beautiful, it is full of symbology from Dutch history and culture, as well as being extremely counterfeit-proof. Now the Dutch have a coin to match, albeit a 5 euro coin rather than a gilder.
The Dutch government commissioned a comemorative coin to celebrate the long history of Dutch architecture. Here’s how the Royal Dutch Mint describes it:
The Architecture five-euro coin was designed by artist Stani Michiels (b. 1973). The design on the obverse of the coin pays tribute to the history of Dutch architecture, with the portrait of Queen Beatrix being distinctively constructed using the names of important architects from Dutch history. The artist used the internet as a popularity-meter to determine the names’ order of appearance.
The reverse of the Architecture five-euro coin draws attention to the striking fact that many Dutch architects have also included publishing books on architecture in their professional activities. To illustrate this phenomenon, recent books on architecture rise up from the sides of the coin like buildings. Through their careful placement they combine to outline the Netherlands, while birds’ silhouettes suggest the capitals of all the provinces.
What’s more interesting is the designer’s own description of his process in creating the coin, it’s really fascinating. I’d love to see one of the coins up close and see how the intricateness of the imagery holds up “in the metal”.