In the southern Slavic country of Yugoslavia communism would take another turn with the man featured on this 5000 dinar banknote. This is Josip Broz Tito – a sergeant who during took part in the liberation of Belgrade in 1944 and was saluted as a hero. He would hold a leading position in this new country that had been created after World War I and he became president in 1953, a role which he kept until his death in 1980. Tito would approach communism differently than his allies in the USSR had done and accepted a form of market socialism in his country. This, among other things, would later lead to frosty relations between them. But even though the Yugoslavian population was freer than the soviets you cannot deny the fact that Tito was a dictator. Many people today would however argue that the countries of Yugoslavia were better off during Tito’s reign because of the unity between different peoples that was emphasized. A decade after the death of Tito the Yugoslav republics entered a horrible time of wars and ethnic genocides. There’s still tension in the area, but with two of them already under the umbrella which is the European Union, perhaps Yugoslavia will be unified once again.
Tag Archives: europe
So, yeah… Many months has passed. What happened? I don’t know. I didn’t have enough time. I lost interest. I forgot about the blog. But hey, let’s try again and we’ll see what happens!
Better start from where we left of and pretend like nothing’s happened!
This 10 ruble banknote from the Soviet Union features the portrait of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. It was he who led the Russian revolution of 1917 which ended the Russian Empire and started the USSR a couple of years later. Lenin was the first leader of a communistic country and the first one to put Marx’s theory in practice. Did he do it properly? That’s questionable. Following Lenin’s death in 1924 Josef Stalin claimed power and made sure the socialistic ideals wasn’t made reality with an authoritarian and oppressing rule. Lenin would however live on in iconography and rhetoric as one of the most famous symbols of the USSR and communism.
2012 was a year with grand sporting events. The greatest of them all, the Olympics, took place in London giving us many memorable moments. The opening show was one of the best TV moments of the year. And then the legend (and my favorite vocalist of all time) Freddie Mercury was resurrected during the closing ceremony. It was amazing. Of course, the Olympics brought us some sport as well. There were Bolt, Phelps and Farah, and they all did their part. Earlier that summer Poland and Ukraine hosted the 2012 UEFA European Football (soccer for you across the pond) Championship. This was also a huge sporting event, especially for us Europeans. Spain would eventually be the winner just as they were in 2008.
It’s not uncommon for these types of events to make their way onto coins. During 2012 I managed to get 3 coins connected to these events. And here they are!
This Ukrainian 1 hrivnja coin was minted the same year as the championships making it extra special. It features the logo of the Euro 2012, a flower consisting of three bulbs – the one in the center is a football and the two on its sides represent Poland and Ukraine (in color: Red & White, Blue & Yellow). By the logo you can also find something very odd and unusual for coins – a trade mark.
My two 50 pence coins from the United Kingdoms were both minted in 2011, but they’re commemorating the Olympics of 2012. They both feature the tiny logo of those Olympics and they represent one sport each. On the first one you have a man shooting a clay pigeon and the shattered pieces of it. On the other one (which is my favorite) you have the different stages of a basketball dunk. Stripes have been drawn across the coin’s surface and it’s also patterned to look like a basketball. I think that this is a very fun and unique coin!
Earlier this week I made a daytrip to the Swedish capital – Stockholm. Stockholm is a city with about 1 million inhabitants (1,4 million if you count the suburbs) and it spreads over two sides of Lake Mälaren and some islands in between. My favorite part of Stockholm is Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and this is where I spent most of my time. A tradition for me, when visiting Stockholm, is to visit The Royal Coin Cabinet a museum dedicated to currency and of course coins. I go there either to visit the museum or to get my hands dirty among the random coins that are for sale. I often leave the museum with a couple of new coins that I’ve found. Here are some photos from The Royal Coin Cabinet.
If you want to know more about The Royal Coin Cabinet you can follow this link!
Now it’s time for some royal drama here on the blog.
This Dutch coin features Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and it was minted on the year of her abdication. She abdicated on her 71st birthday passing on the crown to her daughter Beatrix (the current queen) after 62 years as the country’s monarch. Juliana would live for several more years – dying in 2004 at the age of 92. She was then the longest-lived monarch in the world.
In 1940 the German troops initiated their invasion of the Netherlands during World War Two. This was a vital area that Germany needed to control in order to realize the ambitions of controlling the entire Europe. Parts of the royal family (including Juliana) decided to leave the country and represent it from abroad. They were one month in the U.K. before setting of to Canada. Juliana spoke well of her Canadian hosts while Canadian troops fought the Germans in her homeland. A special bond, lasting to our days, was formed between Dutch people and Canadians. In 1946 Juliana sent a gift of 20,500 tulip bulbs to Canada with a promise to continue sending more each year as long as she lived. The Netherlands is the number one country of tulips.
The name of the Dutch gulden simply comes from the word gold reminding us that the coins were originally made in this precious metal. The gulden was replaced by the euro in 2002.
Switzerland is probably one of the countries that have kept the same coin design the longest. The ½, 1 and 2 franc coins have had the same design since 1875. In 1968 they switched from being in silver to copper-nickel. I like it when coin series is changed once in a while (I’m for instance totally bored with the current Swedish coins), but I can understand why they have kept the current design for all these years. It’s a traditional design with enough of things going on to keep you interested. The text HELVETIA might be cryptic, but it’s just the Latin name of Switzerland. The woman, who looks like a goddess, is Helvetia herself, the personification of the county – similar to Britannica, Marianne or Mother Svea. You can also spot the Swizz cross on her shield. This cross is featured on the country’s flag and it’s also the base of the Red Cross which was founded in Switzerland.
Switzerland is generally considered to be a country of peace. “I’m neutral! I’m Switzerland!” is quite a common saying and rightly so. The Swizz managed to keep their neutrality even though they were completely surrounded by war during WWI and WWII. Switzerland hasn’t been in an armed conflict with another country since 1815 and that’s wonderful.
But there is actually one country that surpasses that. The last time Sweden was at war with another country was in 1814 when the country tried to force Norway into a union (with a successful outcome). Since then Sweden has kept its neutrality, but this can of course be discussed. Many people clam the neutrality during WWII to just be a charade. And in these days Sweden has peace preserving troops in overseas territories (such as in Afghanistan). Can one really claim that Sweden hasn’t been to war since 1814?
Whatever the case might be, Switzerland and Sweden is two countries that has a long history of peace and I think that this is something that has had a huge positive influence on the countries.
Now if only people stopped getting the two countries mixed up…