Belgium launches campaign to circulate unused coins

Sarhan Basem
credit: coinworld

Brussels (Brussels Morning) – The Belgian government launches the #SpendYourChange campaign to encourage using billions of unused coins, aiming to save production costs and reduce environmental impact while improving cash flow in shops.

The Belgian government aims to get millions of unused coins back into circulation and is urging people to pay with them in shops. The Federal Public Service Finance undertook a social media campaign called #SpendYourChange.

Belgium is facing a situation with the circulation of coins, despite the enormous quantities that exist. This is because multiple coins remain unused. They often adhere in pockets of clothing, wallets, piggy banks, under a corner of the sofa or concealed in a cupboard drawer, says FPS Finance. 

How many unused coins are there in Belgium?

The General Administration of the Treasury at FPS Finance is thus launching an awareness movement to encourage every citizen to utilise their supply of coins.“At the moment there are more than 4.2 billion coins in Belgium, with a huge value of more than 1.5 billion euros. If you put them all next to each other, they could go around the world more than twice” FPS stated.

There are more than 4.2 billion coins in Belgium, which commands more than 1.5 billion euros. However, shops frequently struggle to have sufficient change for cash-paying customers, because many coins are left unutilised at home. Based on an analysis in the Netherlands, more than 200 million coins are considered to be unused in Belgium. 

How can returning coins save production costs?

The FPS Finance indicates that this comes at a price because new coins have to be stamped to ensure they are adequate in circulation. “By putting only 2 per cent of unpracticed coins back into circulation, you can save more than 5 million euros in production costs per year,” it states. There is also an environmental cost: producing and transporting coins causes a lot of carbon dioxide emissions. Coins can also be traded free of charge at the National Bank of Belgium.

What are the different series of Belgian euro coins?

Currently, there are two different strings of Belgian euro coins in circulation. All denominations of the first series, published in 2002, show the effigy of His Majesty Albert II, King of the Belgians, surrounded by the twelve stars of the European Union with the royal monogram (capital ‘A’ and crown) to the right. The Belgian euro coins were developed by Jan Alfons Keustermans, Director of the Municipal Academy of Fine Arts of Turnhout, and picked by a panel made up of high-ranked administrators, experts in numismatics and artists.

In 2008, Belgium produced a slight modification to the design of its national sides to concede with the common guidelines suggested by the European Commission. The new national sides persisted in bearing the effigy of His Majesty Albert II, King of the Belgians, wrapped by twelve stars, but the royal monogram and the date of allotment featured in the inner part of the coin – not in the outer ring – together with two new features: the mint patterns and the abbreviation of the nation name (‘BE’).

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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.