Belgian coin features 'Hanseatic League'


01 December 2023
A new €10 commemorative coin from Belgium has been released in honour of the country’s cities involved in the legendary Hanseatic League.

It began as a trade network of merchants as early as the 12th century and developed into an association of more than 200 cities in Europe.

For more than 400 years, the Hanseatic League shaped the economy, trade and politics of northern Europe but lost its importance in the middle of the 17th century. With a concentration around the Baltic but extending around Europe, members ranged from small, provincial towns to major cities such as Cologne, Stockholm, Krakow and Bruges.

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The Hanseatic cities aimed to establish a cooperative alliance between the German merchants who traded around the Baltic Sea and the adjacent areas in northern Europe. This way they could better defend their commercial interests, provide more resistance against rulers and protect themselves against piracy.

The coin's design

The reverse of the coin features a composition of visual elements that highlight the role of the Hanseatic League.

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Motifs give an impression of what was shipped and traded via the Hanseatic routes – leather and animal skins, hops, beer and wine, salt and spices, fish, grains and beeswax, and wood and cloth.

A map shows the Hanseatic region, while a cog ship sailing over the waves has a prominent position on the coin, highlighting the importance of this type of vessel. Due to its bulbous shape, the cog could carry a relatively large amount of cargo, while its shallow draft allowed it to visit shallow waters.

An image of a 13th-century coin from Bruges symbolises trade. Additionally, a pictogram of the Bruges Belfry emphasises the importance of the Belgian Hanseatic cities and the prosperity they brought.

The obverse side of the coin, which has a mintage of 5,000, shows King Philippe looking to the right, his monogram and the year 2023 in an eleven-sided template. The outer edge features the trilingual country name, the mint and mint master’s mark, and the coin value.