Historical overview

Queen Wilhelmina 1890 - 1948

Handbook - Overview of the Dutch coins from 1795-2001

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Wilhelmina (The Hague, 31 August 1880 - Het Loo, 28 November 1962)
Queen (1890 - 1948)
"The only man in the Dutch government" (Winston Churchill)

Wilhelmine, the daughter of King Willem III from his second marriage to Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont, was only ten years old when her father died. Her mother took over the regency for the minor daughter as titular queen until Wilhelmine came of age. The regent was assisted by a guardianship council that did not always agree with her. The queen paid great attention to her daughter's religious upbringing, and ensured that Dutch was spoken at court and in the upper middle classes, and not French or other "worldly" languages. This earned her the respect of the Dutch, especially since Emma, as a good role model, had begun to learn Dutch immediately after her marriage. The royal house's reputation had suffered greatly from Willem III's obstinate behaviour and his morally questionable way of life. Now The Netherlands experienced a regent who focused on discipline, a sense of duty and zeal for work. Her closeness to the people and her strengthening of the constitutional monarchy made her the modern shaper of royalty in the Netherlands, which to this day is liberal and responsive to the people.

The young Queen Wilhelmine, who was crowned on 6 December 1898, was able to build her reign on these foundations, which had strengthened the reputation and integrative power of the monarchy in The Netherlands. The degree of mother's and daughter's popularity can be seen from the fact that on her fifth birthday the "Prinsessedag" was celebrated for the first time on the initiative of the national liberals. After long negotiations, Wilhelmine married Duke Heinrich zu Mecklenburg in 1901. At the time of the marriage, she demanded of her husband "... that he consider himself a Dutchman, exclusively a Dutchman...". Wilhelmine travelled to her wedding in the golden carriage that had been given to her by the citizens of Amsterdam on the occasion of her enthronement. Today, the King or Queen of The Netherlands goes to Parliament in this carriage on the third Tuesday in September, "Prinsjesdag", to deliver the annual Speech from the Throne. The marriage was not a happy one; only one daughter, Juliana, was born in 1909, securing the dynasty.

Wilhelmine developed into a politically strong queen who, like her father, knew how to hold her own in the parliamentary monarchy without upsetting the balance. In the war years between 1914 and 1918, Wilhelmine emphatically asserted the neutrality of The Netherlands to the outside world, a position which was highly praised among the population. When the German Emperor Wilhelm fled from Spa in Belgium to the neutral Netherlands on 10 November, Queen Wilhelmine considered his behaviour to be dereliction of duty, but in view of close family ties she granted him asylum in Doorn House after two days' hesitation. She thus prevented his extradition to the Entente powers as a war criminal. In the period between the world wars Wilhelmine, with her pious and conservative attitude, found little comfortable access to the gradually pluralistically developing society. Although she stayed in Germany several times during the 1930s, she avoided any encounter with the Nazi regime. In 1934 her husband died; the year of her 40th anniversary on the throne, 1938, was already darkened by the growing threat of war. Shortly before the German Wehrmacht occupied Holland in defiance of the Dutch policy of neutrality, Wilhelmine was able to flee to London on an English warship, and there she formed a government in exile. Her energetic and charismatic BBC speeches made her a symbolic figure of the Dutch resistance, impressing even Prime Minister Winston Churchill. She returned to the liberated Netherlands in 1945. She reacted with incomprehension to Indonesian efforts for independence; it was only after a war lasting several years from 1945 to 1949 that the former colony of the "Dutch Indies" was able to liberate itself. On 4 September 1948, Queen Wilhelmine abdicated in favour of her daughter Juliana and subsequently lived in seclusion in Het Loo Castle near Apeldoorn until her death on 28 November 1962.

Op de munten is van het regentschap van Koningin Emma niets te bemerken. Zij zijn met titel en portret van Koningin Wilhelmina geslagen, vóór 1898 als kind met loshangend haar en vanaf 1898 met opgestoken haar en met een kroon het zogenaamde ‘kroningstype’. In 1910 werd het borstbeeld meer aan haar leeftijd aangepast en voorzien van een ‘hermelijnen mantel’ terwijl rond 1922 wederom een nieuw portret kwam, aangepast aan de stijl van die tijd. Na de oorlog zijn nog enkele munten geslagen met het jaartal 1948 met een nogmaals gewijzigd portret. In totaal zijn dus vijf verschillende typen portret gebruikt. De Luxemburgse titel op de munten kwam te vervallen, omdat deze troon bij de dood van haar vader Koning Willem III verviel aan Adolph van Nassau.

De Dukaat is, evenals dit het geval was onder Willem III, speciaal naar Nederlands Oost–Indië uitgevoerd en hoofdzakelijk op bestelling van de Javasche Bank en de Nederlandse Indische Escompto Maatschappij aangemunt.