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
Saint Maarten (two countries in the Kingdom of the
Netherlands), but this currency is distinct from the Dutch guilder. In
Surinamese guilder was replaced by the Surinamese dollar.
The Dutch name gulden was a
Middle Dutch adjective meaning
"golden", and the name indicates the coin was originally made of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). Inverted, this gives EUR
0.453780 for NLG 1.
4 See also
6 External links
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: the Carolusgulden (not to be confused with the
English Carolus). Even before that, the
County of Holland
County of Holland had minted
golden coins since 1378.
An early guilder, a 10.61-gram .910 silver coin, was minted by the
States of Holland and West Friesland
States of Holland and West Friesland in 1680. The original guilder
design featured Pallas
Athena standing, 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 1⁄2 guilders or 30 stuivers), the
rijksdaalder (2 1⁄2 guilders or 50 stuivers), the silver
ducat (same value as the rijksdaalder) 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.
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,
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.
In 1914 the guilder was traded at a rate of 2.46 guilders = 1 U.S.
dollar. As of 1938, the rate was 1.82 guilders = 1 U.S. dollar. 
Dutch guilder in 1914 could buy roughly the same amount of goods
and services as 10.02
U.S. dollars or 8.17
Euros in December 2017. In
1938, the guilder purchasing power would be approximately equal to
U.S. dollars or 7.78
Euros in December 2017. Overall, the guilder
remained a very stable currency and was also the third highest-valued
currency unit in Europe in the interwar period (after the British
Pound Sterling and the Irish pound, which, at this time, were pegged
to each other at par).
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
Zinc coins minted in the 1940s during the German occupation of the
Zinc coins minted in the 1940s during the German occupation of the
Main article: Coins of the Dutch guilder
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,
1⁄2 and 1 rijksdaalder and 1⁄2 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
Kingdom of Holland minted silver 10 stuivers, 1
florin and 1 guilder (equivalent), 50 stuivers and 2 1⁄2
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 1⁄2 cents, silver 5, 10 and
25 cents, 1⁄2 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 1⁄2-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.
guilder coins were struck again from 1875. In 1877, bronze
2 1⁄2-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
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 1⁄2, 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 1⁄2 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 1⁄2 guilder banknotes were
introduced. Five years later, the silver 1-guilder coin was
reintroduced, followed by the silver 2 1⁄2-guilder coin in
1959. The silver content was replaced with nickel in 1967, although no
2 1⁄2-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 1⁄2 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 1⁄2 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
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, 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 1⁄2 guilders – rijksdaalder, colloquially riks or knaak;
5 guilders – vijfje ("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 1⁄2-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).
Main article: Banknotes of the Dutch guilder
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 1⁄2 and 5 guilders. Although the 5-guilder notes were only
issued that year, the 1-guilder notes continued until 1920 and the
2 1⁄2-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 1⁄2-guilder silver certificate from 1927.
US Printed Dutch
In 1938, silver notes were reintroduced for 1 and 2 1⁄2
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 1⁄2, 10, 25, 50 and 100 guilders. More state notes were
issued for 1 and 2 1⁄2 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
1988) and 250-guilder notes in 1985.
At the time of withdrawal, the following denominations of banknotes
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
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
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
Dutch euro coins
Economy of the Netherlands
Netherlands Antillean guilder
Netherlands Indian guilder
^ 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.
^ "Rules for exchanging guilder notes". De Nederlandsche Bank.
Archived from the original on 12 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January
^ "Carolus d´or". reppa.de.
^ Munro, John. "Gold, Guilds and Government" (PDF).
^ 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.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-01-11. Retrieved
^ Herod, Andrew (2009). [Geographies of Globalization: A Critical
Introduction] (1st ed.). John Wiley & Sons. p. 13.
^ 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
Philips geëerd voor uitvinding compact disc: 'Sony en wij
waren één familie, de cd was onze baby'".
Trouw (in Dutch).
Retrieved 13 April 2010.
^ 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.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gulden.
The Marteau Early 18th century
Currency Converter with tools to
convert early 18th century Dutch Guilders into the major contemporary
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.
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