Another French Defeat? Belgium Goes Ahead With Waterloo Coin

BRUSSELS—Belgium announced this week it would issue a special €2.50 coin to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, circumventing French objections that had blocked issuance of a €2 coin.

The French government had complained that the earlier proposal would send a negative signal at a time when European unity was important. The French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte were badly defeated on June 18, 1815, at the site outside Brussels, by British and Prussian troops.

The loss marked the end of the Napoleonic era, and it remains a sensitive subject among certain quarters in France.

Under eurozone rules, a special design on a standard €2 coin (worth about $2.25), required the approval of all 19 eurozone countries through which it would circulate.

When France blocked it earlier this year, Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt issued a dismissive statement saying Europe had more important things to worry about. But he gave no indication at the time that Belgium would issue a different Waterloo coin.

Belgium has the authority to strike the new coin on its own because of the irregular €2.50 value. It will be legal tender only within Belgium, the finance ministry says, and is the first time Belgium has issued a coin of that value.

Belgium will issue the coin only as part of larger Waterloo commemorative items or sets.

The coin will show the current Waterloo monument, featuring a steep butte with a lion on top. It will also include a diagram of the position of the troops during the battle itself.

The coming bicentennial is a major event in Belgium, with thousands expected to attend a re-enactment and a series of other events. But while Belgium and Britain are organizing large-scale Waterloo commemorations, the French government has made few preparations to mark the occasion, although French spokesmen say officials will attend events organized by others.


  • andycanuck

    Seeing as all of Europe was fighting the returned Napoleon, I think it’s a fitting reminder of European unity.

  • BillyHW

    So the only thing Belgium ever accomplished was defeating the French?

    • Minicapt

      Brits, Germans and Dutch defeated the French; Belgium provided the accommodations.


  • But not a 2.50 coin.

    Again- why did anyone think that the EU was a good idea?

    • andycanuck

      I think it was to get around the French having a veto on the standard 2.00Euro coin being circulated.

  • Martin B

    These whining Frenchmen aren’t satisfied with just being losers, they have to go out of their way to remind the whole world that they’re losers.

  • Hard Little Machine

    I would have preferred Austerlitz. Or Borodino

    • andycanuck

      Napoleon won at Austerlitz. Maybe Leipzig — The Battle of Nations — instead?

  • Blacksmith

    Is this when the French officially became surrender monkeys?

    • Clausewitz

      Pretty much. The record of victories was pretty bleak until they were helped across the finish line in WW I.