Dutch guilder

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Dutch guilder
Nederlandse gulden  (Dutch)
Gulden 03.png
1968 one-guilder coin
ISO 4217
Code NLG
1100 cent
Plural guilders
cent cents
Symbol ƒ or fl.
Banknotes ƒ5 (replaced for coin in 1988), ƒ10, ƒ25, ƒ50, ƒ100, ƒ250, ƒ1000
 Freq. used 5c, 10c, 25c, ƒ1, ƒ2 12, ƒ5
 Rarely used 1c (withdrawn 1 March 1983), 12c, 2 12c (withdrawn 1948)
User(s)  Netherlands (until 2002)
 Suriname (until 1962)
 Netherlands Antilles (until 1940)
 Luxembourg (until 1839)
 Belgium (until 1832)
Central bank De Nederlandsche Bank
 Website www.dnb.nl
Printer Joh. Enschedé
 Website www.joh-enschede.nl
Mint Royal Dutch Mint
 Website www.knm.nl
Inflation 2.6%[when?]
 Source worldpress.org, 2000 est.
 Since 13 March 1979
 Fixed rate since 31 December 1998
 Replaced by €, non cash 1 January 1999
 Replaced by €, cash 1 January 2002
= ƒ2.20371
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The Dutch guilder (Dutch: gulden, IPA: [ˈɣɵldə(n)]) or fl. was the currency of the Netherlands from the 17th century until 2002, when it was replaced by the euro. Between 1999 and 2002, the guilder was officially a "national subunit" of the euro. However, physical payments could only be made in guilder, as no euro coins or banknotes were available. The Netherlands Antillean guilder is still in use in Curaçao and Sint Maarten (two countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands), but this currency is distinct from the Dutch guilder. In 2004, the Surinamese guilder was replaced by the Surinamese dollar.

The Dutch name gulden was a Middle Dutch adjective meaning "golden",[1] and the name indicates the coin was originally made of gold. The symbol ƒ or fl. for the Dutch guilder was derived from another old currency, the florin.

The exact exchange rate, still relevant for old contracts and for exchange of the old currency for euros at the central bank, is 2.20371 Dutch guilders (NLG) for 1 euro (EUR).[2] Inverted, this gives EUR 0.453780 for NLG 1.


Before the introduction of the first guilder, there were regional and foreign golden coins that were likely referred to as "gulden" in Dutch. The first internationally accepted Dutch coin called gulden dates from 1517:[3] the Carolusgulden (not to be confused with the English Carolus). Even before that, the County of Holland had minted golden coins since 1378.[4]

An early guilder, a 10.61-gram .910 silver coin, was minted by the States of Holland and West Friesland in 1680.[5] The original guilder design featured Pallas Athena standing,[citation needed] holding a spear topped by a hat in her right hand, resting with her left forearm on Gospels set on an ornate basis, with a small shield in the legend. This guilder was divided into 20 stuivers, each of 8 duiten or 16 penningen. The guilder gradually replaced other silver coin denominations circulating in the United Netherlands: the florijn (28 stuivers), the daalder (1 12 guilders or 30 stuivers), the rijksdaalder (2 12 guilders or 50 stuivers), the silver ducat (2 12 guilders or 50 stuivers) and the silver rider ducaton (3 guilders or 60 stuivers).

Between 1810 and 1814, the Netherlands was annexed to France and the French franc circulated. After the Napoleonic wars, the Kingdom of the Netherlands readopted the guilder. In 1817 it became decimalised, with one guilder equal to 100 cents. However, it was not until 1848 that the last pre-decimal coins (many of which dated back to the 17th century) were withdrawn from circulation, whilst some of the new, decimal coins continued to bear nicknames based on their values in the older currency system through to the 21st century. Until 1948, the plural of cent used on coins was centen, after that it was cent.

The Netherlands was initially on a bimetallic standard, with the guilder equal to 605.61 milligrams of fine gold or 9.615 grams of fine silver. In 1840, the silver standard was adjusted to 9.45 grams, with the gold standard suspended in 1848. In 1875, the Netherlands adopted a gold standard with 1 guilder equal to 604.8 milligrams of fine gold. The gold standard was suspended between 1914 and 1925 and was abandoned in 1936.[6]

Following the German occupation, on 10 May 1940, the guilder was pegged to the Reichsmark at a rate of 1 guilder = 1.5 Reichsmark. This rate was reduced to 1.327 on 17 July of the same year. The liberating Allied forces set an exchange rate of 2.652 guilders = 1 U.S. dollar, which became the peg for the guilder within the Bretton Woods system. In 1949, the peg was changed to 3.8 guilders = 1 dollar, approximately matching the devaluation of the British pound. In 1961, the guilder was revalued to 3.62 guilders = 1 dollar, a change approximately in line with that of the German mark. After 1967 guilders were made from nickel instead of silver.

In 2002, the guilder was replaced by the euro at an exchange rate of 2.20371 guilders = 1 Euro. Coins remained exchangeable for euros at branches of the Netherlands Central Bank until 1 January 2007. Banknotes valid at the time of conversion to the euro may be exchanged there until 1 January 2032.


William III of the Netherlands depicted on a 20-guilder proof gold coin (1850)
William III of the Netherlands depicted on a 20-guilder proof gold coin (1850)
Zinc coins minted in the 1940s during the German occupation of the Netherlands (obverse).
Zinc coins minted in the 1940s during the German occupation of the Netherlands (reverse).

In the 18th century, coins were issued by the various provinces. There were copper 1 duit, silver 1, 2, 6 and 10 stuivers, 1 and 3 guilders, 12 and 1 rijksdaalder and 12 and 1 ducaton. Gold 1 and 2-ducat trade coins were also minted. Between 1795 and 1806, the Batavian Republic issued coins in similar denominations to the earlier provincial issues. The Kingdom of Holland minted silver 10 stuivers, 1 florin and 1 guilder (equivalent), 50 stuivers and 2 12 guilder (also equivalent) and 1 rijksdaalder, along with gold 10 and 20 guilders. Before decimalization, the Kingdom of the Netherlands briefly issued some 1 rijksdaalder coins.

The gold 1 and 2 ducat and silver ducat (rijksdaalder) are still minted today as bullion coins.

In 1817, the first coins of the decimal currency were issued, the copper 1 cent and silver 3 guilders. The remaining denominations were introduced in 1818. These were copper 12 cents, silver 5, 10 and 25 cents, 12 and 1 guilder, and gold 10 guilders. In 1826, gold 5-guilder coins were introduced.

In 1840, the silver content of the coinage was reduced (see above) and this was marked by the replacement of the 3-guilder coin by a 2 12-guilder piece. The gold coinage was completely suspended in 1853, five years after the suspension of the gold standard. By 1874, production of silver coins greater in value than 10 cents had ceased, to be only fully resumed in the 1890s. Gold 10 guilder coins were struck again from 1875. In 1877, bronze 2 12-cent coins were introduced. In 1907, silver 5 cent coins were replaced by round, cupro-nickel pieces. These were later replaced in 1913 by square shaped 5 cent pieces. In 1912, gold 5 guilder coins were reintroduced but the gold coinage was ended in 1933. The 1/2 guilder saw discontinuation after 1930. Throughout the Wilhelmina period, a number of infrequent changes were made to the 10 and 25 cent coins as well, with the largest changes being periodic updates of the Queen's effigy and smaller changes to designs on the reverse (back).

In 1941, following the German occupation, production of all earlier coin types ceased and zinc coins were introduced by the occupational government for 1, 2 12, 5, 10 and 25 cents. Large quantities of pre-war type silver 10 and 25 cents and 1-guilder coins were minted in the United States between 1943 and 1945 for use following liberation. Afterwards, the zinc coins were quickly demonetized and melted.

In 1948, all half cents and 2 12 cents were taken out of circulation, though no further production of either denomination had continued after 1940 and 1942, respectively. New bronze 1 and 5 cent coins featuring Queen Wilhelmina on the obverse were issued, phasing out previous types. At the same time, new nickel 10 and 25 cent coins were introduced. In 1949, 1 and 2 12 guilder banknotes were introduced. Five years later, the silver 1-guilder coin was reintroduced, followed by the silver 2 12-guilder coin in 1959. The silver content was replaced with nickel in 1967, although no 2 12-guilder coins were minted in 1967 and 1968. The silver coins were demonetized in 1973. In 1950, Queen Juliana's profile replaced the image of Wilhelmina on the obverse (front) of all coins.

In 1980, production of the one cent coin ceased and was demonetized the same year. Soon after, it was decided to replace the 5 guilder banknote with a coin of the same value. However, it wasn't until 1988 that a bronze-coated nickel 5 guilder coin was finally introduced. The 5-guilder banknote remained legal tender until 1995. The 2 12 guilder coin gradually began losing widespread use shortly after the introduction of the 5 guilder coin, and mintage figures for the denomination declined until the discontinuation of the guilder. 1980 also saw a circulating two coin commemorative series of 1 and 2 12 guilder coins celebrating Queen Beatrix's ascension to the throne.

All circulating coins went through a complete redesign in 1982, a short while after Queen Beatrix's coronation. They depict abstract designs featuring grids and a layered silhouette profile of the Queen as opposed to the more formal designs of the previous generation of coins. Production of these coins ceased after 2001.

At the time of withdrawal, the following denominations of coins were circulating:

  • 5 cents – stuiver—the name survived, although the stuiver had not been an official subunit of the guilder since decimalisation in 1817;
  • 10 cents – dubbeltje ("little double")—being small enough to fit into the center hole of a compact disc,[7] it was the smallest coin in circulation. It was worth two stuivers, hence the name;
  • 25 cents – kwartje ("little quarter")—the kwartje was smaller than the stuiver, though larger than the dubbeltje and the cent;
  • 1 guilder – gulden, colloquially piek;
  • 2 12 guilders – rijksdaalder, colloquially riks or knaak;
  • 5 guildersvijfje ("little five");

All the coins carried a profile image of the Queen on the obverse and a simple grid on the other side. The 1-guilder, 2 12-guilder, and 5-guilder coins had God zij met ons ("God be with us") inscribed on the edge.


One guilder, playing card money (1801). Prior to the formal introduction of paper currency, playing card money, denominated in Dutch guilders, was used in Dutch Guiana (1761–1826).[8]

Between 1814 and 1838, The Dutch Bank issued notes in denominations of 25, 40, 60, 80, 100, 200, 300, 500 and 1000 guilders. These were followed, from 1846 by state notes (muntbiljetten) in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 guilders, with the 10 and 50 guilders issued until 1914.

In 1904, the Netherlands Bank recommenced the issuance of paper money. By 1911, it was issuing notes for 10, 25, 40, 60, 100, 200, 300 and 1000 guilders. In 1914, because of silver shortage for minting, the government introduced silver certificates (zilverbonnen) for 1, 2 12 and 5 guilders. Although the 5-guilder notes were only issued that year, the 1-guilder notes continued until 1920 and the 2 12-guilder until 1927.

In 1926, the Netherlands Bank introduced 20 guilder notes, followed by 50 guilder in 1929 and 500 guilder in 1930. These introductions followed the cessation of production of the unusual 40, 60 and 300-guilder notes during the 1920s.

Dutch 2 12-guilder silver certificate from 1927.
US Printed Dutch Guilder 1943

In 1938, silver notes were reintroduced for 1 and 2 12 guilders. During World War II, the Netherlands Bank continued to issue paper money, although there were some design changes, most notably, the replacement of a portrait of Queen Emma by a Rembrandt portrait on the 10-guilder note. The Allies printed state notes dated 1943 for use following liberation. These were in denominations of 1, 2 12, 10, 25, 50 and 100 guilders. More state notes were issued for 1 and 2 12 guilders in 1945 and 1949.

Following the war, The Dutch Bank introduced notes for 10, 20, 25, 50, 100 and 1000 guilders. The last 20 guilder notes were dated 1955, whilst 5-guilder notes were introduced in 1966 (replaced by coins in 1987) and 250-guilder notes in 1985.

At the time of withdrawal, the following denominations of banknotes were circulating:

  • ƒ10 – tientje ("little ten", see Diminutive), joet
  • ƒ25 – geeltje (yellow one)
  • ƒ50 – zonnebloem (sunflower)
  • ƒ100 – honderdje, meier, later: snip (snipe)
  • ƒ250 – vuurtoren (lighthouse)
  • ƒ1000 – duizendje, (rooie) rug (red back) / rooi(tj)e

At the time of withdrawal, all but the 50 and 250-guilder notes had been issued in a new series that was the same colour as the older, long-serving notes but with a mostly abstract pattern, featuring a different bird for each denomination.

Persons depicted on older banknotes were:

  • ƒ5 – poet Joost van den Vondel (until 1988, when the note was replaced by a ƒ5 coin)
  • ƒ10 – painter Frans Hals
  • ƒ25 – composer Jan Pietersz. Sweelinck
  • ƒ100 – admiral Michiel de Ruyter (This being the most profitable note to counterfeit it was first replaced by a note featuring the common snipe. This note was of a similar design as the newly introduced 50 and 250-guilder notes; and was again replaced by an abstract design in the last series of guilder notes)
  • ƒ1000 – philosopher Baruch de Spinoza

These 1970s "face"-notes and the 1980s ƒ50 (sunflower), ƒ100 (snipe) and ƒ250 (lighthouse) were designed by R.D.E. Oxenaar. Eventually all faces were to be replaced by abstracts, designed by Jaap Drupsteen (see above).

See also


  1. ^ J. Verdam, Middelnederlandsch Handwoordenboek, The Hague 1932 (reprint of 1994). In modern Dutch, the adjective still exists in certain fossilised forms such as het Gulden Vlies ("the Golden Fleece"). The modern equivalent is gouden.
  2. ^ "Rules for exchanging guilder notes". De Nederlandsche Bank. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  3. ^ https://www.reppa.de/lexikon/carolus-dor
  4. ^ http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/wwwfiles/archives/munro5/JaarboekGuildsGovt.pdf
  5. ^ Krause, Chester; Clifford Mishler (2003). [Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700: Identification and Valuation Guide 17th Century (Standard Catalog of World Coins 17th Century Edition 1601-1700)] (3rd ed.). Krause Publications. p. 932. ISBN 0-87349-666-3. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-01-11. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  7. ^ The size of the central hole in a CD was proposed by a Philips engineer to be exactly the size of a dubbeltje. Beijen, Frank (6 March 2009). "Philips geëerd voor uitvinding compact disc: 'Sony en wij waren één familie, de cd was onze baby'". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  8. ^ Cuhaj, George S. (2010). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money General Issues (1368-1960) (13 ed.). Krause Publications. p. 1116. ISBN 978-1-4402-1293-2. 

External links

  • The Marteau Early 18th century Currency Converter with tools to convert early 18th century Dutch Guilders into the major contemporary European currencies.
  • Overview of the Dutch guilder and its history from the BBC
  • Heiko Otto (ed.). "Historical banknotes of the Netherlands" (in English and German). Retrieved 2017-05-07. 
Preceded by
French franc (1794-1815, Southern Netherlands)
French franc (1810-1813, Netherlands)
Dutch currency
15th century–1810, 1813–20021

1815–1832 (Belgium)
1815–1839 (Luxembourg)
1828–1940 (Netherlands Antilles)
1828–1962 (Surinam)
Succeeded by
Belgian franc (1832, Belgium, 1839, Luxembourg), Netherlands Antillean guilder (1940, Netherlands Antilles), Surinamese guilder (1962, Surinam), Euro

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