The former currency of Belgium; ISO currency code BEF (an additional obsolete one, BEC, dated back to a distinction between commercial and governmental transactions). Linked since time immemorial at parity with the Luxembourg franc, with which it was wholly interchangeable (although it has just been revealed that the Luxembourgers had notes printed and ready to circulate at a day's notice in the early 1990s in case the BEF devalued too far.) As it is a euro zone currency, it disappeared presumably definitively as of 28 February 2002. Also informally abbreviated as bf, FB or just F. Originally divided into 100 centimes (French) or cents (Dutch).
BEF 40.3399 = EUR 1.00
It was available in these slightly idiosyncratic denominations at the time this writeup was first created, the final arrangement before replacement by the euro:
Coins: BEF 50, 20, 5, 1, 0.50; cents/half-francs have not been used for banking purposes since the 1890s
Notes: BEF 10 000, 5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 200, 100 - not certain whether the two highest denominations were kept in use after the final round of note redesigns; the 2000 franc note was the largest you ever saw, although I did once have the joy of using a 10 000 franc (~EUR 250) note at a fruit stall in a Brussels market - not a hair was turned - I think he was about to cash up, anyway.
The final generation of BEF notes were attractive items, prettier by far to my mind than the Dutch ones, whatever RubenAzarja may say. They feature the faces of famous Belgians, mainly of an artistic inclination, and their works:
- BEF 100 - red, James Ensor, with masks
- BEF 200 - yellow, Adolphe Sax, with saxophones
- BEF 500 - blue, René Magritte, with men with umbrellas
- BEF 1000 - brown, Constant Permeke, and his reclining woman
- BEF 2000 - blue-mauve, Victor Horta, details from the Royal Greenhouses at Laeken.
The coins were minted in separate Dutch ("1 frank/België") and French ("1 franc/Belgique") language versions; the notes were trilingual (French/Dutch/German).