15 August 2023
To celebrate the year of art nouveau in Belgium, the Royal Mint of Belgium has issued a unique €2 coin, which is Belgium’s first €2 coin dedicated to an artistic movement.
The movement began in 1893, when the architect Victor Horta put the finishing touches to his Maison Tassel. The imposing facade, sumptuous interior, stained-glass windows, decorative mosaics and swirling wrought iron on the building soon marked out this new design.
Nature, in particular, was an important source of inspiration for art nouveau, exemplified by the generous use of plant and floral motifs and numerous images of birds.
FREE 50p Checklist!
Claim your free 50p checklist, including values and mintage figures, when you sign up to receive the All About Coins newsletter. Sign up today!
This pioneering architectural and decorative style was immediately imitated by Horta’s colleagues and spread throughout the country. Many of his contemporaries, such as Paul Hankar, Henry Van de Velde and Ernest Blerot, ensured that Brussels was graced with hundreds of beautiful art nouveau facades in the space of just 25 years. Today, more than 500 remain.
In 2023, 130 years later, Brussels is showcasing its art nouveau heritage through a rich cultural programme of exhibitions, city walks and many other events.
On the coin itself, the text ‘ART NOUVEAU’ appears at the top. Below and around, there is a detail of a wall mosaic on the facade of Maison d’Eetvelde in Brussels, another of Victor Horta’s designs. The curved, asymmetrical lines of this detail reflect the characteristic nature-inspired style of the art nouveau movement. On the far right, there are the initials of Iris Bruijns, the designer of the coin.
As the Royal Dutch Mint will strike the coins, the mintmark of Utrecht, a mercury staff, is located on the far left, along with the mintmark of the new Belgian Mint director, Giovanni Van de Velde, which combines an aster flower and Erlenmeyer flask.
The €2 commemorative coin was unveiled at Maison d’Eetvelde, which is scheduled to become a centre for the interpretation of art nouveau.