With Belgian independence in 1832, a national currency based on the French system was established, and coins were minted bearing the image of the first king, Leopold.
Belgium's economy boomed in the immediate post-war years and the country became one of the motors behind European integration. But the economic crisis in the late 1970s hit Belgium hard and the franc was devalued in 1982.
As president of the EU for the second half of 2001, Belgium has taken pride in steering the final preparations for the launch of the new currency and also took the helm when non-eurozone Sweden held the presidency in the first half of the year. Belgians are amongst the most enthusiastic about the new currency, with 75% in favour. Their euro coins will retain much of the current design of the franc and will show King Albert surrounded by EU stars.
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