100 Greatest Women On Coins Series: Queen Juliana

When one thinks about a Queen, who do they think about? At first thought, Queen Elizabeth II comes to mind quickly. Perhaps Queen Victoria next, and then Elizabeth I. But other than our friendly cohorts across the pond in the United Kingdom, there are also monarchies and kingdoms in other countries we may not think about. This is especially true for our next entry in the 100 Greatest Women on Coins series.

With author Ron Guth at the helm of this Whitman Publishing publication, we will explore a middle of the road entry that features a Queen from the Netherlands. With a controversial marriage, a few abdications, and a highly educated background, this Queen endured her fair share of strife.

#62 - Queen Juliana

Born Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina in April of 1909, Queen Juliana was the one and only daughter of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Henry. While Wilhelmina suffered many miscarriages before and after Juliana, the fate of the Orange-Nassau line was left to her only daughter. Early education stemmed from mostly homeschooling by tutors until Juliana would get a bachelor’s degree from Leiden University in international law.

While Juliana would come from a quiet background, it was not until she married Prince Bernhard in 1937 that she would endure her share of controversy. The prince was a German aristocrat of the house Lippe-Biesterfeld and caused quite a stir during their marriage not only because of his German background but also his extramarital affairs, illegitimate children, and corruption. In fact, Juliana, who was deemed a Princess at the time, fled to Ottawa, Canada, with her two children during the Second World War for safety. She would stay there until the war was over and in 1948 she would become Queen. Her mother, Wilhelmina, abdicated the throne because of her poor health in addition to the devastating loss of the Dutch colony of Indonesia. Queen Juliana would rule the kingdom of the Netherlands from 1948-1980 as she was third in a line of unbroken Dutch queens that began way back in 1890.

However, like her mother, Queen Juliana would end up abdicating the throne because of poor health on Queen’s Day (her birthday) on April 30, 1980. She would pass away at the age of 94 on the same date her grandmother passed 70 years earlier.

The first Dutch coins to bear the image of Queen Juliana appeared in 1950 nearly two years after she took the throne. She would appear on circulating coins from the cent all the way to the 5-gulden from 1950 all the way to 1980 when she abdicated. She also was featured on commemorative coins in 1970 with her mother and again on a coin that featured all three Dutch queens.

Author Guth classifies the collecting difficulty for coins bearing her image as ‘easy.’ The Netherlands struck circulating coins in mass quantities as they appear common even today in addition to being inexpensive.