Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Commemorative coins : The Netherlands 05

Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter  
Dutch pronunciation: [mɪɣɪɛl ɑdrɪanson də rœytər]
(24 March 1607 – 29 April 1676) is the most famous and one of the most skilled admirals in Dutch history. De Ruyter is most famous for his role in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century. He fought the English and French and scored several major victories against them, the best known probably being the Raid on the Medway. The pious De Ruyter was very much loved by his sailors and soldiers; from them his most significant nickname derived: Bestevaêr (older Dutch for 'grandfather'.)
De Ruyter was born in 1607 in Flushing (Flessingha - Vlissingen) as the son of beer porter Adriaen Michielszoon and Aagje Jansdochter. Little is known about De Ruyter's early life, but he probably became a sailor at the age of 11. In 1622 he fought as a musketeer in the Dutch army under Maurice of Nassau against the Spaniards during the relief of Bergen-op-Zoom. That same year he rejoined the Dutch merchant fleet and steadily worked his way up. According to English sources he was active in Dublin between 1623 and 1631 as an agent for the Vlissingen-based merchant house of the Lampsins brothers. Although Dutch sources have no data about his whereabouts in those years, it is known that De Ruyter spoke Irish fluently.

In 2007, 400 years after De Ruyter was born, the Royal Dutch mint dedicated a € 5,- coin to its most famous Admiral.
The front side of the coin is rather sober. A picture of the Queen's head with two words: 'ONZE' (our) and 'HUN' (their). Left and right from the central circle.
It doesn't make much sence, until you turn the coin:

Here you see the face of Michiel De Ruyter, and on top there's the word: 'PAREL' (pearl) and at the bottom 'SCHRIK' (fear)...

If you read both sides, starting west, over north, east, down to south, you will read : "Onze Parel, Hun Schrik"
"Our Pearl, Their Fear"; a tribute to the Admiral who is considered as a dutch 'pearl' to the Dutch, and as fearful for his enemies.

The coin was issued on a coin card
Amount : 517.000 pieces
Metal : silver 925/100
Size : Ø 29 mm
Weight : 11,9 g
Face value : € 5
Quality : circulation quality
Design :Martijn Engelbregt

This coin is the 11th € 5 coin that was issued by the Royal Dutch Mint.

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