1848, Netherlands, Willem II. Scarce Silver 1/2; Gulden (50 Cents) Coin.
Mint year: 1848
Denomination: ½ Gulden (50 Cents)
Mint Place: Utrecht (sword mint mark)
Material: Silver (.945)
Obverse: Bust of Willem II left.
Legend: WILLEM II KONING DER NED. G. H. V. L.
Reverse: Crowned shield of the Netherlands (crowned lion with thunderbolts and sword in paws), flanked by value (½-G).
Legend: MUNT VAN HET KONINGRYK DER NEDERLANDEN . 1848 . / 50 C.
Comment: Privy marks (sword / caduceus) of the Utrecht mint at sides!
William II (Willem Frederik George Lodewijk van Oranje-Nassau) (6 December 1792 – 17 March 1849) was King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Duke of Limburg from 7 October 1840 until his death in 1849.
Willem Frederik George Lodewijk was born on 6 December 1792 in The Hague. He was the eldest son of King William I of the Netherlands and Wilhelmine of Prussia. His maternal grandparents were King Frederick William II of Prussia and his second wife Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt.
When William was three he and his family fled to England after allied British-Hanoverian troops left the Republic and entering French troops joined the anti-orangist Patriots. William spent his youth in Berlin at the Prussian court. There he followed a military education and served in the Prussian army. Afterwards he studied at the University of Oxford.
He entered the British Army, and in 1811, as aide-de-camp to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, took part in several campaigns of the Peninsular War. He returned to the Netherlands in 1813 when his father became king.
In 1815, William became crown prince and he took service in the army when Napoleon I of France escaped from Elba. He fought as commander of I Allied Corps at the Battle of Quatre Bras (16 June 1815) and the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815), where he was wounded.
William II enjoyed considerable popularity in what is now Belgium (then the Southern Netherlands), as well as in the Netherlands for his affability and moderation, and in 1830, on the outbreak of the Belgian revolution, he did his utmost in Brussels as a peace broker, to bring about a settlement based on administrative autonomy for the southern provinces, under the House of Orange-Nassau. His father then rejected the terms of accommodation that he had proposed; afterwards, relations with his father were tense.
In April 1831, William II was military leader of the Ten days campaign in Belgium which was driven back to the North by French intervention. European intervention established Leopold of Saxe-Gotha on the new throne of Belgium. Peace was finally established between Belgium and the Netherlands in 1839.
On 7 October 1840, on his father’s abdication, he acceded the throne as William II. Like his father he was conservative and less likely to initiate changes. He intervened less in policies than his father did. There was increased agitation for broad constitutional reform and a wider electoral franchise. And though he was personally conservative and no democrat, he acted with sense and moderation.
The Revolutions of 1848 broke out all over Europe. In Paris the Bourbon-Orléans monarchy fell. William became afraid of revolution in Amsterdam. One morning he woke up and said: "I changed from conservative to liberal in one night". He gave orders to Johan Rudolf Thorbecke to create a new constitution which included that the Eerste Kamer (Senate) would be elected indirectly by the Provincial States and that the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives) would be elected directly. Electoral system changed into census suffrage in electoral districts (in 1917 census suffrage was replaced by common suffrage for all men, and districts were replaced by party lists of different political parties), whereby royal power decreased sharply. That constitution is still in effect today.
He swore in the first parliamentary cabinet a few months before his sudden death in Tilburg, North Brabant (1849).
He was the 869th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain.