- Discover the spectacular story of Hugo Grotius!
- Commissioned by the Ministry of Finance
- With knight Godard de Ginkell (1644 –1703)
- Packaging inspired by the knight’s armour
- With Certificate of Authenticity
Silver Ducats are commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Finance and are collector coins.
Part 5: Discover the notorious Loevestein Castle
Loevestein Castle plays an important role in one of the most famous stories in Dutch history: the escape of Hugo Grotius in 1621. The castle celebrates the 400th anniversary of this special event this year.
Around 1361, knight Diederic Loef of Horne (Dirc Loef van Horne) had a blockhouse built at a strategic location where the Meuse (Dutch: Maas) and Waal rivers converged. Within ten years he extended it, turning it into a castle. In the 16th century, the Provinces of the Low Countries were embroiled in a bitter struggle with the Spanish king. William of Orange had Loevestein Castle fortified and discovered that it would make an excellent prison. Almost all rooms were used as a cell. The large hall on the second floor is still called the “Staatsgevangenis” (State Prison) to this day. Prisoners included political and religious dissidents, as well as prisoners of war. Its most famous prisoner was writer and jurist Hugo Grotius (Hugo de Groot) who put Loevestein on the map with his spectacular escape in a book chest. During his imprisonment, Hugo regularly received a chest filled with books. The guards thoroughly inspected the chest every time, but as nothing out of the ordinary was ever found, they became more careless in their inspections each time. Hugo’s wife and their maid devised a plan to help Hugo escape inside that notorious book chest. With great success! In 2021, Loevestein Castle celebrates the “Hugo Grotius Year” to commemorate this grand spectacle.
Knight Godard de Ginkell
As written in the Dutch Mint Act, a Silver Ducat must depict a knight in armour with a shield showing the province weapon in front of his left leg. Godard de Ginkell (1644 –1703) puts on the knight’s armour on all Silver Ducats in the series “Dutch Castles”. The historical knight is known in the Netherlands as Godard van Reede, but is named Godard de Ginkell in the United Kingdom thanks to his military earnings there.
The obverse of the Silver Ducat “Loevestein Castle” depicts knight Godard de Ginkell in front of the famous castle. The province weapon of Gelderland can be found on his shield. The inscription on this issue reads: “MO.NO.ARG.REG.BELGII.GEL.”. “MO.NO.ARG.REG.BELGII.” is the Latin abbreviation for “Moneta Nova Argenta Regni Belgii”: New Silver coin of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. “GEL.” stands for the province of Gelderland.
On the reverse of the Silver Ducat, the National coat of arms of the Netherlands with the Royal Crown between the numbers of the year can be found. The inscription reads: “CONCORDIA RES PARVAE CRESCUNT”, Unity makes Strength.
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