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Netherlands 2016 Dutch World Heritage: Wadden Sea 5 Euro Coin

obverse, Netherlands 2016 Dutch World Heritage: Wadden Sea 5 Euro Silver Coin. Images courtesy Royal Dutch Mint


The 2016 Wadden Sea 5 Euro coins from the Royal Dutch Mint honor one of the world’s largest intertidal habitats, located in the northern region of the Netherlands. The 2016-dated silver-plated five-euro coins are made from a base metal copper alloy, and the silver Proof version is made from 0.925-fine silver. Colored coin varieties are also available. The Wadden Sea, which also borders the nations of Denmark and Germany, was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2009; the Danish region of the conservation area earned the title in 2014.

The Wadden Sea, a name deriving from the Dutch “wad,” or “mud flat,” was once inhabited by large animals, including eagles, flamingoes, rays and sturgeons. Despite deleterious alterations by humans, the region is still home to more than 10 million birds that breed and winter there each year. Other animals, along with an abundant number of plant species, also help make the planet’s largest continuous tidal area one of the most unique and beautiful natural sites in the world.

The Royal Dutch Mint is producing an unlimited quantity of circulation-strikes and as many as 158,000 uncirculated silver-plated copper five-euro coins, which will be available at face value in 20-piece rolls; up to 12,500 pieces will also be issued in numbered collector cards. The coins are available in four-piece collector sets, which include three colorized coins and another with gold plating. Up to 750 collector sets will be issued and bear red, yellow, and black hues representative of the national colors of the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany. 10,000 silver proofs will also be made.

The Wadden Sea commemorative, which is also being issued as a 1/4-ounce 0.900-fine gold 10 Euro coin with an identical design, is the fifth installment in an annual numismatic program honoring UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Netherlands that started in 2012 with coins featuring the “Grachtengordel” system of canals in Amsterdam. The series is scheduled to run through the year 2021.

Interestingly, the 2016 Netherland Wadden Sea commemoratives aren’t the first to honor the site. Germany issued a silver 10-euro commemorative commemorating the Wadden Sea national parks in 2004.


The obverse is anchored by a photorealistic portrait of king Willem-Alexander at three-quarters view, with his face looking just to the right of the viewer. A featureless, right-facing profile of the king’s head is superimposed over the larger portrait.

A stylized rendition of the nation’s coat of arms is situated just to the right of the king’s bust, extending from the bottom of the coin upward into the middle of the field. Part of the Royal House motto, JE MAINTRENDAI (French for “I WILL MAINTAIN”) is inscribed within the medal. The obverse inscription, WILLEM-ALEXANDER KONING DER NEDERLANDS, translates into English as “Willem-Alexander, King of the Dutch.”


Near the top of the reverse design are two birds that outstretch their wings in a vertical fashion across the field. On the silver proof version of the coin, the birds exhibit a type of design technique called Line Phase Modulation, a technology making its Royal Dutch Mint debut on the Wadden Sea silver Proofs. Line Phase Modulation technology entails a series of lines that indicate shading, creating a dynamic effect as the coin is viewed at different angles.

Netherlands 2016 Dutch World Heritage: Wadden Sea 5 Euro Silver Coin. Images courtesy Royal Dutch Mint

At the base of the coin, near the six o’clock position by the rim, is a starfish; the animals on the coin represent the abundant wildlife of the Wadden Sea and the Frisian Islands. The islands are identified on the coin from left to right as TEXEL, VLIELAND, TERSCHELLING, AMELAND, SCHIERMONNIKOOG, BORKUM, JUIST, NORDERNEY, BALTRUM, LANGEOOG, SPIEKEROOG, WANGEROOGE, and NEUWERK.

The reverse legends along the top right of the coin in two lines read DE WADDENZEE and NEDERLANDS WERELDERFGOED 2016, which translate to “The Wadden Sea” and “Dutch World Heritage.” Toward the bottom left of the reverse is the denomination, 5 EURO. The mintmark, identified as Mercury’s wand, represents the Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt, or Royal Dutch Mint, located in Utrecht.


The edge of the 10-euro gold Proof UNESCO World Heritage Site Wadden Sea commemorative coin features the inscription GOD * ZIJ * MET * ONS (“God be with us”).

Designer(s): Kianoosh Motallebi is a Dutch modern artist who studied at the Koninklijke Akademie van Beeldende Kunst in The Hague and earned his master’s degree from the Sale School of Fine Art in London. His work tends to focus on technology and science. (VIEW DESIGNER’S PROFILE).

Coin Specifications:

Country:  The Netherlands
Year Of Issue:  2016
Denomination:  5 Euro
Mint Mark:  Mercury’s Wand (Utrecht)
Mintage:  Silver: 10,000 (Proof); Copper: 158,000 (Unc. Silver Plated), 12,500 (Brilliant Uncirculated), Unlimited (Circ.)
Alloy:  Proof: 0.925% Silver; Uncirculated: Silver-Plated Copper
Weight:  Silver: 15.5 g; Silver-Plated Copper: 10.5 g
Diameter:  Silver: 33 mm; Copper: 29 mm
Edge: Inscribed (GOD * ZIJ * MET * ONS)
OBV Designer Kianoosh Motallebi
REV Designer Kianoosh Motallebi
Quality:  Circulating, Uncirculated (Silver-Plated Copper); Proof (Silver)


CoinWeek IQ
CoinWeek IQ
With CoinWeek IQ, the editors and writers of CoinWeek dig deeper than the usual numismatic article. CoinWeek IQ provides collectors and numismatists with in-depth information, pedigree histories, and market analysis of U.S. coins and currency.

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