Author Topic: The queen as a young girl  (Read 323 times)

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Online Figleaf

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The queen as a young girl
« on: August 03, 2020, 12:18:37 PM »
This coin has three stories. The first begins with William III, king of the Netherlands.

While I wouldn't want to go as far as Dutch comedian Arjen Lubach, who said William III was simply mad, I do think he was highly ex-centric, ego-centric, out of touch with reality and given to promote political ideas of times long passed. He was so unpopular at the time of his death, that there was serious talk about the kingdom becoming a republic again.

In his final years, William had married again, a young girl of 21. She is known in Dutch as queen Emma and regarded at least as well as later queens. She did not appear on a coin, but does figure on commemorative stamps. On William's death, Emma set out to preserve the kingdom. She behaved strictly in accordance with the mores of her time, from dressing as a widow to being a political power behind the scenes only, which made her extremely popular. Her daughter, Wilhelmina, got a very strict education that stressed decorum at all times. Emma was regent for Wilhelmina in the period 1890-1898. She carefully introduced Wilhelmina to the population, starting by keeping her out of the public eye and loosening that policy in small steps, culminating in Wilhelmina's coronation in 1898, at which point she withdrew in turn. That event is what the coin commemorates.

The coin is arch-conservative in character. An early renaissance head with titles and a coat of arms. It is just a continuation of the coins of William III (stressing the legitimacy of the succession) with another head. But what a head it is. You are looking at an 18 year old, pictured as an adult and crowned ruler. Only the perceived freshness of her face betrays her true age.

Preparations for the coin started in 1897. Dutch sculptor Pier Pander, at the time living in Rome for health reasons, was approached for the design the coin. The design was planned to be engraved by Paul Tasset, a Paris engraver. Tasset did not deliver the dies until 1900. They were found to be unfit and had to be redone at the Utrecht mint. While the reason why the dies were unfit is not known, I suspect that Pander made the usual mistake of sculptors: too much relief. The coins could at last be struck in the period 1900-1902, but they nevertheless retained their 1898 date, confirming that they were meant as coronation commemoratives. Emma must have been behind the planning and the specification of the design, leaving its execution to Wilhelmina after 1898. Tellingly, the same head was used for smaller denominations and details changed, in particular for the 10 cent coin. Maybe Wilhelmina wasn't as happy with the design as Emma was.

The second story is personal. My parents were not impressed by my performance in school. When I did get promoted almost every year, they were so surprised that my father promised his coin-collecting son a really nice Dutch coin each time I passed. The first was this coin. It remained the star of my collection, far surpassing the gold pieces he bought in later years.

The third story is how I got this coin. My collection was stolen in 2013. It was one of the most frustrating experiences in my life. It was on the level of losing all your photo albums and documents. Those coins were a life of collected memories and many of those memories were of people now dead. Many of the cheapest pieces were irreplaceable and others just wouldn't be the same. It took me years to start buying Dutch coins again. I bought this coin off a WoC member - the first coin I bought after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted - who had bought it for one of his children. His offspring didn't appreciate coins, so  the coin was "bought back" in order to provide some money when it was needed. It's in about the same grade as my father's coin, circulated and scratched, but just as elegant. The second and the third stories are starting to merge.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline <k>

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Re: The queen as a young girl
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2020, 12:56:00 PM »
Poignant story.

The phrase 'Koningin der Nederlanden' interests me. It means Queen of the Netherlands, of course. Apart from in that phrase, is the genitive plural ('der' - of the) still in regular use in the Netherlands? And do the Dutch in general speak of 'de Nederlanden' when referring to their country or just of 'Nederland' ?
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Online Figleaf

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Re: The queen as a young girl
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2020, 01:50:22 PM »
Koningin der Nederlanden is the Dutch equivalent of BRITT:REG: on UK coins. The title is related to the land, not the population. In the French revolution, the title of the king was changed from "Roi de France" to "Roi des françois", reflecting the shift of sovereignty from the king to the people. After the Napoleonic period, William I would have none of it. It lost importance after the position of the king was regulated in the constitution. BTW, the constitution uses only koning, but that is generally accepted to cover queens also.

The plural Nederlanden refers to the remaining Dutch colonies. It is not in use any more, just like der, now (van) de. It survived longest in bureaucratese.

Peter
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Offline <k>

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Re: The queen as a young girl
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2020, 01:52:31 PM »
Thank you, Figleaf.
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Offline chrisild

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Re: The queen as a young girl
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2020, 04:42:42 PM »
The plural Nederlanden refers to the remaining Dutch colonies. It is not in use any more, just like der, now (van) de. It survived longest in bureaucratese.

... and can still be seen on today's Dutch coins. :)  As for the name "Koninkrijk der Nederlanden", I had wondered about that too for quite a while. But the 2013 collector coin dedicated to the Koninkrijksstatuut made that a little clearer, to me anyway.

Interesting story about young Wilhelmina! That is a good mix of facts and background info on one hand, and your personal connections to the coin. As for Emma, I remember that, as a kid, I was on a bike tour with my parents, on an awful cobblestone road called Koningin Emmaweg. So I asked about her, and my mother told me that Emma had not been a queen in the sense of head of state but as a royal consort. That made sense to me – if you were not a real queen, you would get such a second rate road. 8)

Christian

Online Figleaf

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Re: The queen as a young girl
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2020, 11:47:25 PM »
You are right. The coinage law still specifies a similar formula. The wording was changed from Munt van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden to Koning(in) der Nederlanden. The first is a continuation of the latin formula Moneta Argentea Provinciarum Confœderatum Belgicarum (or any of a number of variants) on pre-decimal silver coins, an identification of the state, the second is a royal title that includes the personal union with some Caribbean islands.

I couldn't imagine anyone actually saying that, other than it coming out of a pompous rectum. Normal people would use a combination starting with Rijks. ::)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.