Euro banknotes

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Euro banknotes
Euro banknotes

BelgiumBelgium Belgium Germany Estonia Finland France Greece Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Austria Portugal Slovakia Slovenia Spain Cyprus
Cyprus RepublicRepublic of Cyprus 

Associated euro users:
(with the right to issue
their own euro coins) Andorra Monaco San Marino Vatican City
San MarinoSan Marino 
Vatican cityVatican 

(without issuing
its own euro coins) Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Saint-Barthélemy Saint-Martin
Saint-Pierre and MiquelonSaint Pierre and Miquelon 
SaintbarthelemySaint Barthelemy 
Saint MartinSaint Martin 

“Passive” euro users: Kosovo Montenegro

Subdivision: 100 cents
ISO 4217 code : EUR
Abbreviation: / EUR
Exchange rate :
(August 24, 2020)

1 EUR = 1.0761 CHF
1 CHF = 0.9293 EUR

1 EUR = 0.90175 GBP
1 EUR = 125.26 JPY
1 EUR = 1.1847 USD

The euro banknotes together with the euro coins , the cash of Euro . The euro banknotes were put into circulation on the first day of validity, January 1, 2002, while the euro coins in " starter kits " were issued a few days earlier. The currency itself was introduced on January 1, 1999, initially only as book money . So far, there have been two series of euro banknotes. The first series has seven denominations , the second only six. This second series was circulated between 2013 and 2019.

On May 4, 2016, the Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to stop issuing 500 euro banknotes for the second series and to stop issuing 500 euro notes from the first series. The issuance of the 500-euro notes by the national central banks ended in Germany and Austria on April 26, 2019, in the other euro countries on January 26, 2019. The 500-euro notes still in circulation, however, remain, as do the other notes of the first series are still valid as a means of payment and can be exchanged indefinitely.


Design competition

On November 15, 1994, the Council of the European Monetary Institute (EMI) determined the denominations of the new banknotes : 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 ECU . It was only more than a year later in Madrid that the name “ Euro ” was set for the new currency by the European Council.

The design competition, in which the graphic artists and designer teams nominated by the national central banks took part, ran from February 12 to September 13, 1996. The National Bank of Denmark did not take part in the competition.

The specifications for the competition were drawn up in 1995/1996. Among other things, the two topics “Ages and styles in Europe” and “abstract / modern design” were defined. Furthermore, the currency designation and the abbreviations of the issuing body should be the only words on the banknotes. Other important framework conditions for the design were that the banknotes "should be clearly recognizable as European banknotes and contain a cultural and political statement that appeals to all Europeans". In addition, all drafts had to "take into account equality between men and women and avoid any kind of national bias". Specified were u. a. also the size of the individual banknotes and their basic colors, the epochs for the theme “Ages and Styles” and the twelve stars of the EU that had to be depicted on the front. The use of the stars on the back was optional.

On 26./27. In September 1996, a panel of experts selected the five best designs on both subjects. A survey of almost 2,000 EU citizens followed before the Council of the EMI selected the designs designed by Robert Kalina as the winners. The reason is: “Because they combine historical developments in the fields of technology, art and communication in a harmonious representation; they represent the beginning of a new Europe with a common cultural heritage and the vision of a common future in the new millennium ”. The gates and windows depicted on the front of the banknotes symbolize “the spirit of openness and cooperation”. The bridges depicted on the reverse symbolize the “bond between the peoples of Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world”.

The notes show fictional motifs from European architecture , each from different art historical epochs . It was deliberately avoided to depict real people or buildings in order to avoid that - even unintentionally - individual euro states feel preferred or disadvantaged.

The designs were first presented on December 13, 1996 at press conferences in Dublin and Frankfurt. On August 30, 2001, Wim Duisenberg , then President of the ECB, presented the final appearance of the euro banknotes in Frankfurt.

Discussions about face values

Even before the introduction of the euro, there were discussions about smaller face values. Italy in particular had campaigned for a one-euro note. In October 2003, the Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti made another attempt , supported by his Austrian counterpart Karl-Heinz Grasser . The idea was to reduce the amount of coins in circulation and lower inflation , as many people would overestimate the value of goods while paying with coins. The European Central Bank, which alone decides on the denomination of banknotes, decided in November 2004 after evaluating a study not to issue one-euro banknotes. The demand for a banknote worth two euros was not pursued after this decision. In May 2012, another attempt was made to have the introduction of the system checked by the central bank. The idea arose in the context of the discussion about the abolition of 1 and 2 cent coins.

Abolition of the 500 euro banknote

In April 2013, there were considerations about the abolition of the largest euro banknote, the 500 euro banknote. Bank of America analyst Athanasios Vamvakidis wrote that these banknotes often become "mattress money". A study by the ECB says that only around 30% of the 500 euro banknotes in circulation are used for payments and another study by the UK government suggests that 90% of the notes of this size traded in the country are in the hands of organized crime . Former ECB Vice President Vítor Constâncio confirmed in Brussels that the abolition is certainly worth discussing.

In February 2016, the debate about the abolition re-emerged. The Council of the ECB instructed the Banknote Committee to clarify technical details for a possible withdrawal of the 500. ECB boss Mario Draghi argued that the 500 euro note is increasingly being used for criminal activities such as money laundering. On May 4, 2016, the ECB Council, consisting of six members of the Executive Board and the central bank chiefs of the 19 euro countries, decided, against the votes of Germany, Austria and Estonia, to abolish this banknote. Many critics of this approach believe that this cannot limit crime and that other reasons such as the easier introduction of negative interest rates are behind this decision. It is feared that this is a step towards the abolition of cash. This is denied by the ECB and national central banks . The Governing Council has clearly spoken out in favor of receiving the 100 and 200 euro banknotes. Draghi said in February 2016 that the 200-euro notes could also be abolished.

Although 500 euro notes have not been printed since 2014, they were still issued by the Eurosystem 's national central banks until January 26, 2019 . In December 2018, both the Deutsche Bundesbank and the Oesterreichische Nationalbank announced that they would extend the deadline for issuing 500 euro notes to April 26, 2019, because these two central banks put most of the 500 euro notes into circulation. Even after the issuance by the central banks has ended, commercial banks and other cash service providers such as exchange offices and trading partners can continue to put existing 500 euro banknotes into circulation.

Bundesbank board member Johannes Beermann assured that the 500 euro banknote would remain valid "forever". The Oesterreichische Nationalbank, however, announced that the 500 euro banknote would lose its validity in payment transactions - together with the other banknotes of the first series - on a date to be set by the European Central Bank. They can be exchanged for an unlimited period at the central banks.

Cash in circulation

According to the European Central Bank, around 22.088 billion euro banknotes with a total value of 1,216.1 billion euros were in circulation in March 2019. The most common banknote is the 50 euro; In terms of value, too, they account for the largest share with 42.5% of the value in circulation. Almost half of the currency in circulation is covered by 100, 200 and 500 euro notes, although they only make up 16.3% of the amount in circulation. The euro coins do with 28.903 billion euros from just 2.4% of the total currency in circulation (of notes and coins) of 1,245.003 billion Euros.

Face value Circulation quantity
in million pieces
Proportion (amount) Circulation value Share (value)
005 euros 01,874 08.5% 009.4 billion euros 00.8%
010 Euro 02,486 11.3% 0€ 24.9 billion 02.0%
020 Euros 03,808 17.2% 0€ 76.2 billion 06.3%
050 Euros 10,325 46.7% € 516.3 billion 42.5%
100 euros 02,824 12.8% € 282.4 billion 23.2%
200 euros 00262 01.2% 0€ 52.4 billion 04.3%
500 euro 00509 02.3% € 254.5 billion 20.9%
All in all 22,088 100.0% € 1,216.1 billion 100.0%

First series (2002 to 2013)


The euro banknotes of the first series (short name ES1 ) are available in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.

Design and dimensions

The euro banknotes were designed by the Austrian Robert Kalina after an EU-wide competition in which 29 designers took part and 44 submitted .

The front (or recto ) represents one or more windows or gates , while on the back (or verso ) a bridge can be seen, symbolizing the connection between the individual countries within the European Union . No real buildings are depicted, but a compilation of stylistic features of individual epochs in an archetypal illustration (corresponding bridges were later built in the Dutch city of Spijkenisse ). On the back the European mainland, North Africa and part of the Asian region of Turkey are shown. In addition, with the Azores , Madeira , French Guiana , Guadeloupe , Martinique , Réunion , Canary Islands (no island images of: El Hierro and La Gomera ), islands and territories are also shown in which the euro is the official currency. Due to the chosen scale, Malta and Cyprus , currently the most eastern country of the EU, are missing . These two countries were not yet members of the EU when the euro was introduced.

Common to all notes are the European flag , the abbreviation for the European Central Bank in the various working languages ​​of the EU in 2002, the year of the first edition (2002), the signature of the incumbent ECB President, a map of Europe (including the French overseas departments ) on the back , the name "Euro" on both sides in Latin ("EURO") and Greek letters (" ΕΥΡΩ ") from the Frutiger font .

The five abbreviations of the European Central Bank are: BCE (French, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish), ECB (Danish, English, Dutch, Swedish), EZB ( German), ΕΚΤ (Greek; letters epsilon , kappa and tau of the Greek alphabet ) and EKP (Finnish).

Since Wim Duisenberg surrendered his presidential post to Jean-Claude Trichet on November 1, 2003 , the signature changed on the notes printed below, but not the year 2002 . Banknotes with the signature of Mario Draghi first came into circulation in March 2012. Banknotes signed by Christine Lagarde first came into circulation in 2020.

No 5 euro banknotes with the signature of Mario Draghi were issued in this series.

Face value front back colour Architectural style (s)
Format *
Weight *
Position of the plate code
5 euros 5 euros, front 5 euros, back Gray Classical ( ancient )
Before the 11th century
120 mm × 62 mm
0.68 g
left edge of the picture
10 Euro 10 euros, front 10 euros, back red Romanesque
11th-12th centuries century
127 mm × 67 mm
0.72 g
8 o'clock star
20 Euros 20 euros, front 20 euros, back blue Gothic
13th-14th century
133mm x
72mm 0.81g
9 o'clock star
50 Euros 50 euros, front 50 euros, back orange Renaissance
15th - 16th centuries century
140mm x
77mm 0.92g
right edge of the picture
100 euros 100 euros, front 100 euros, back green Baroque and Rococo
17th-18th centuries century
147 mm x 82 mm
1.02 g
to the right of the 9 o'clock star
200 euros 200 euros, front side 200 euros, back Yellowish brown Iron and glass architecture
19th century
153 mm × 82 mm
1.07 g
to the right of the 8 o'clock star
500 euro 500 euros, front side 500 euros, back purple Modern architecture
20. – 21. century
160mm x 82mm
9 o'clock star

* All euro banknotes have a uniform thickness of around 0.10 mm, and their grammage ("surface weight", weight per unit area) is 85 g / m² when printed. The usual packs of 100 (new) banknotes measure around 12 mm around the loop. Ten such packages form a package (or bundle) and are stacked about 130 mm high. In production, the banknotes cost an average of eight cents each.

Security features

Cross-grade security features

Tactile picture elements in the enlargement
50 euro banknote photographed under UV light
50 euro banknote photographed in the infrared range

The euro banknotes have various security features with which counterfeiting is to be prevented or at least made more difficult. Furthermore, the so-called " EURion constellation " is intended to prevent duplication by copiers or scanners.

  • The substrate used consists of pure, starch-free cotton . The freedom from starch can be verified with special test pins. If starch is present, the paper will discolour where the pen has been treated. If a real banknote has come into contact with starch, this can also become discolored. However, very good counterfeit products cannot be identified with the pen, as they are often treated with chemicals that prevent a reaction with the starch. Occasionally, starch-free cotton paper is also used, although it is not easy to obtain.
  • Gravure printing with steel engraving ; This means that some printing elements can be felt : printed stripe on the lower edge (in the middle and bottom right) of the 200 euro banknotes (relief), printed stripe on the right edge of the 500 euro banknotes (relief), the respective large value number and the main motif ( Front)
  • See-through register : a value is printed partly from the front, partly from the back and is fully visible in the backlight; both sides complement each other exactly.
  • Watermark : the respective architectural motif and the value number
  • Metallized security thread that becomes visible in transmitted light and is labeled with the respective value number and the word "Euro" (perforated)
  • Microtext
  • Different colored fibers in the paper become visible under black light (UV light). In addition, the EU flag, the star circle, the signature of the respective ECB president and parts of the printed image on the front and back of the euro banknote light up. However, the paper itself does not fluoresce . Counterfeit money made in an amateur way, which is often made of normal paper, fluoresces bluish white over the entire surface. Real banknotes that have been washed in the washing machine, for example, also fluoresce over the entire surface, as the optical brighteners in the detergent are deposited on the banknote and they fluoresce blue under UV light. In the case of counterfeit products, the UV image is increasingly being imitated .
  • Under IR light : With the help of an infrared device, the right part of the intaglio printing and the film strips become visible.
  • Euro banknotes are provided with a magnetic security mark especially for machine identification. This safety marking can be detected using magnetic measuring heads or displayed using magneto-optical sensors.

Note value-specific security features

  • Special foil strip (metallic gloss) with kinegrams , which changes between the € symbol and the respective nominal value when you tilt it (for 5, 10 and 20 euro banknotes: front on the right edge).
  • Pearlescent stripes (Iriodin stripes), which are visible in gold when the euro banknote is tilted and then disappears again (with the € symbol and the respective nominal value) (for 5, 10 and 20 euro banknotes: back to left of center).
    So far, no counterfeit is known that has this property. Either this feature is completely absent, or the gold shimmer does not disappear when tilted.
  • Special film element with hologram showing the architectural motif or the value number (for 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro banknotes: front right).
  • Color change: When the banknote is tilted, the color of the large denomination printed on the back (bottom right) changes from purple to brown (for 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro banknotes).
    So far, no counterfeit euro banknotes are known in which the color change of the value number could be completely imitated. Either the color only shimmers when tilted or does not change completely to brown, but to dark red or dark purple (applies to a very good forgery of a 200 euro note from Bulgaria ). The difference to the real color change is very noticeable and easy to see.
    If you hold the color element diagonally against the light, a green shimmer becomes visible when held horizontally, which confirms the complete color change. The same color change takes place on all banknotes from 50 euros, so that you can check the color change on all notes using a comparison banknote. It is not uncommon for the color change on counterfeit money not to be imitated at all, but the value number is only printed in purple.
  • Barcode : In transmitted light (hold banknote against the light source), the respective architectural watermark motif with the respective value number becomes visible on the left, on the right (in the printed area) the code consisting of six or eight vertical watermark strips, each 2.5 mm wide and 35 mm high. From the back - in the area of Eastern Europe on the printed map of Europe - this value-specific barcode can be read from left to right. In the scan , a dark stripe is read as the number 1, a lighter one as 0 and then interpreted as a Manchester code . The pair of stripes "01" is decoded to 1, "10" becomes 0. Only the banknotes of 20 and 500 euros have four identical clear numbers encoded, visible as an evenly striped pattern. The five other banknote denominations have exactly one dark bar that is 5 mm twice as wide in different positions because two dark stripes are adjacent to each other.
Face value Barcode Manchester decoding
5 euros 01 10 10 100
10 Euro 01 01 10 110
20 Euros 10 10 10 10 0000
50 Euros 01 10 10 10 1000
100 euros 01 01 10 10 1100
200 euros 01 01 01 10 1110
500 euro 01 01 01 01 1111

Other security features

There are also hidden security features on the euro banknotes, such as a feature called M-Feature ( M for machine-readable ), a coating with a mixture of oxides of different lanthanoids , which, read out with the help of strong flashes of light, delivers a characteristic response. These security features are checked automatically in the branches of the Eurosystem's national central banks. So far, this test has been able to reliably detect fakes. Each banknote is to be checked for these characteristics on average every three months in a central bank branch, so that the circulation of counterfeit money is discovered and suppressed. So far, however, all forgeries could also be detected using the known security features.

Forgery and manipulation

Counterfeiting of banknotes is prohibited. The copyright  symbol © indicates the use of property rights in relation to reproduction. When using the copyright symbol, according to ISO 16016 , the information about the owner of the rights (ECB) and the year of the first publication (2002) are required.

The rate of counterfeiting of euro banknotes rose significantly up to 2009, so that improved security features for the second series (“Europe series”) were developed at an early stage and successfully introduced from 2013 onwards.

Numbering systems

serial number

The purpose of the serial number is to control the amount of banknotes produced and to clearly identify each banknote in circulation within a series and a denomination.

Each Eurosystem national central bank (NCB) has been assigned a unique identifier that appears as the first character of the serial number on all banknotes that the national central bank has commissioned to print. A letter from a particular NCB originally meant (in the basic configuration when the euro was introduced in 2002) that this NCB also put the note into circulation in its area of ​​responsibility. In the case of later editions, it can also mean that the NCB has made the banknotes available to another central bank for issuance in its area of ​​responsibility as part of the decentralized pooling procedure for banknote production. Banknotes with the letter of an NCB were not always printed by a national (state) printer, see printer identification .

The NCB letter is followed by a ten-digit number and a check digit (1–9). The check digit is primarily used for error detection when the serial number is automatically read, which is printed with OCR-B . The check digit is selected so that the following test condition is met: Replacing the letter of the serial number by its ASCII value (A = 65 ... Z = 90), we obtain a total of a number that is divisible by 9, the nine remaining is So 0. This can easily be checked by forming the repeated cross-sum of the sequence of digits, this always results in 9 for the nine-remainder 0 (otherwise the nine-remainder and repeated cross-sum are identical).

There are also other equivalent test methods: Instead of the ASCII value, the assignment A = 2… Z = 27 or A = 11… Z = 36 can be used. If the letter is replaced by its position in the alphabet (A = 1… Z = 26), the remainder of the nine for banknotes of the first series is basically 8 . If you form the nine remainder of the eleven digits of the serial number without the letter, the result is a value that can be found in the following table.

Even if primitive forgeries often use wrong check digits, a valid check digit is only a necessary but not a sufficient criterion for the authenticity of a banknote. To check the authenticity, you have to use different methods (see above).

NCB identifier
Code letter country Name in the local language Nine remainder annotation
Z Belgium België (nl), Belgique (fr), Belgium (de) 0
Y Greece Ελλάς 1 originally intended for Denmark
X Germany Germany 2
W. Denmark Danmark 3 not used, originally intended for Greece
V Spain España 4th
U France France 5
T Ireland Ireland (en), Éire (ga) 6th
S. Italy Italia 7th
R. Luxembourg Lëtzebuerg 8th
Q not forgiven
P Netherlands Nederland 1
O not forgiven
N Austria Austria 3
M. Portugal Portugal 4th
L. Finland Suomi (fi), Finland (sv) 5
K Sweden Sverige 6th not used
J United Kingdom United Kingdom 7th not used
I. not forgiven
H Slovenia Slovenija 0 since 2007
G Cyprus Κύπρος (el), Kıbrıs (tr) 1 since 2008
F. Malta Malta 2 since 2008
E. Slovakia Slovensko 3 since 2009
D. Estonia Eesti 4th since 2011
C. Latvia Latvija 5 since 2014, not used
B. Lithuania Lietuva 6th since 2015, not used
A. not forgiven
  • The letters for the original 15 EU countries were assigned in the first series from Z backwards in the alphabet, after the name of the country in the national language. Letters were also given for the EU countries Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden that did not introduce the euro in 2002. The letters Q, O and I were not used to avoid confusion with the numbers 0 and 1.
Systematics of the numerical part

When printing the euro banknotes, the consecutive serial number, starting with * 0000000001 * and in strict ascending order, was not attached in all countries. Since several banknotes are always printed at the same time (20 to 60 notes with one printing plate), parts of the serial number can be used for the position of the note on the uncut printed sheet if necessary. Depending on the ordering country and the technical possibilities of the banknote printer, these areas are located in different places in the serial number and limit the number space available:

code country Numbering system
N Austria NNNNNNNNNN (€ 200); XYNNNNNNNN (other values)
U France PPNNNNNNNN; NNPPNNNNNN (€ 20 from U85)
V Spain NNNNNNNNNN (€ 5-100); DNNNNNNNNN (€ 200–500)

Key to the letters:

D: number range for the value of the note, where e.g. B. for the serial number all 5-euro notes start with a 1, all 10-euro notes with a 2, etc., or 063 to 076 for 5 euros, 077 to 096 for 10 euros, etc. Countries that use such a system can only issue a maximum of 10 billion banknotes.

N: Consecutive number. This number is used for each value level individually from… 0001 in ascending order without gaps. For example, a note with the serial number 5678912345 * was printed later than a note of the same value with the number 1234567891 * .

P: Position of the note on the print sheet, the various possible positions being numbered consecutively.

X: position of the note on the x-axis of the printing plate.

Y: position of the bill on the y-axis of the printing plate.

  1. Finland partially broke through the clear labeling of the value. There are 5 euro notes with numbers that were previously intended for notes of other denominations.
  2. On French 10 and 20 euro notes, in order to open up additional number spaces, higher values ​​are used for the sheet position coding in the first two digits of the serial number, which exceed the number of possible positions. There are serial numbers up to U64 for 10 euro bills and up to U84 for 20 euro bills.
  3. At 50 euros (40 sheet positions), PP values ​​between 01 and 80 occur. 7 and 8 as the first digit were originally used for 100 and 200 euros, and unused serial numbers with these digits were later also used for 50 euros.

Of the more than 500 billion number combinations possible with these systems, 49.63 billion had already been used by the end of 2008. The system is exhausted much sooner due to the significantly different editions of the various publishers. Until the introduction of the new series, over 8.2 billion serial numbers of German 10-euro banknotes were used, the German 50-euro notes with serial numbers up to X96 are in circulation. So almost the entire number range was used up there.

Plate code

10 Euro ES1, produced by Bundesdruckerei (R)
20 Euro ES1, made by Giesecke & Devrient (P)

Somewhat hidden on the front is another short string of characters, the plate code, with the first letter identifying the printer that made the banknote. This printer identification does not necessarily indicate the NCB identification, since banknotes issued by one country may have been printed in another country. Germany, Great Britain and France each have two printers in the code list. The codes A, C and S have been reserved for printers that do not currently produce euro banknotes. The three following digits indicate the number of the printing plate or the series. The last two digits of this short sequence of characters indicate the relative position of the banknote on the print sheet, i.e. from A1 (top left) to J6 (bottom right), depending on the size of the print sheet.


  • R001H4
  • Printing: Bundesdruckerei Berlin
  • Plate number: 001
  • Position on the pressure plate: 8th from the top (H) and 4th from the left (4)

Printer ID

code printing house place country annotation
A. Bank of England Printing Works Loughton United Kingdom no notes in circulation
B. not forgiven
C. AB Tumba Bruk Tumba Sweden no notes in circulation
D. Setec Oy Vantaa Finland The printing of banknotes was discontinued before 2003.
E. Oberthur Technologies Chantepie France
F. Austrian banknote and security printing company Vienna Austria
G Koninklijke Joh. Enschedé Haarlem Netherlands
H De La Rue plc. Gateshead United Kingdom
I. not forgiven
J Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato Rome Italy
K Central Bank of Ireland Dublin Ireland
L. Banque de France Chamalières France
M. Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre Madrid Spain
N Bank of Greece Athens Greece
O not forgiven
P Giesecke + Devrient GmbH Munich / Leipzig Germany
Q not forgiven
R. Federal Printing Office Berlin Germany
S. Danish National Bank Copenhagen Denmark no notes in circulation
T Belgian National Bank Brussels Belgium
U Valora SA ( Banco de Portugal ) Carregado Portugal

The letters B, I, O, Q are not assigned. The letters were assigned in a similar way to the serial numbers, in reverse alphabetical order with reference to the country for which the printer would probably print banknotes. The Valora printing company in Portugal was added later and thus received the U.

Of the printing companies listed, the two German ones handled the largest share of the printing volume. Of the 14.8899 billion euro banknotes produced as of January 1, 2002, 4.7829 billion came from the German NCB, the Deutsche Bundesbank. Of the 51.613 billion euro coins in initial production, around a third, namely 17 billion, came from Germany.

Brittle banknotes

On November 2, 2006, it became publicly known that an estimated one thousand banknotes had been chemically treated so that they began to dissolve upon contact with moisture (e.g. sweat on the hand). This effect first appeared in June and July 2006 in the Berlin / Potsdam region. It cannot be ruled out that the cause was willful chemical treatment. The chemical is (most likely) sulfates , which are powdered on the notes. However, this could not be verified. It is certain that the bills are real and that they are not forgeries.

Criticism of paper quality

Organometallic compounds of tin (for example tributyltin hydride ) that damage the human hormone balance were used as preservatives , which doctors see critically. The ECB states that it has not used TBT in new notes since 2002.

Second series - "Europe series" (since 2013)

In 2003, the development of a second generation (short name ES2 ) of euro banknotes began. First of all, suitable security features were determined from around 200 proofs of authenticity on the market. Since 2008, the ECB has been publishing at longer intervals that a second series of euro banknotes is in the works. The originally mentioned issue dates of 2010 and afterwards 2011 could not be met due to necessary further developments against counterfeit banknotes .

On November 9, 2012, the European Central Bank announced in a message from President Draghi that from 2013 a new series of banknotes, the so-called "Europe series", would be introduced. The new five-euro banknotes were presented on January 10, 2013; they have been in circulation since May 2, 2013. The new 10 euro banknote followed on January 13, 2014; it entered payment transactions on September 23, 2014. The new 20 euro banknote was shown for the first time on February 24, 2015 and introduced on November 25, 2015. The new 50 euro banknote was presented on July 5, 2016 and introduced on April 4, 2017. The new 100 and 200 euro banknotes were both presented on September 17, 2018 and introduced on May 28, 2019. At the ECB Council meeting in May 2016, the introduction of the new 100 and 200 euro banknotes had already been announced for the end of 2018, at the same time as the (later postponed) discontinuation of the issue of 500 euro banknotes.


The second series of euro banknotes, like the first series, was originally supposed to have the face values ​​€ 5, € 10, € 20, € 50, € 100, € 200 and € 500. However, since the abolition of the 500 euro banknote was decided on May 4, 2016, there are now only denominations of € 5 to € 200.

Design and dimensions

Reinhold Gerstetter , who had already designed the last Deutsche Mark banknote series, was commissioned to design the second series of euro banknotes . The nominal values, the main colors and the leitmotif "Ages and styles" were retained. The second series tried to compensate for a few weaknesses of the first. The notes have been made more colorful so that they appear friendlier, the steel engraving elements have more depth, the guilloches are now more prominent. In addition, new and improved security features have been introduced, including: a .:

  • a hologram strip and a watermark depicting the portrait of Europa (“The portrait shown comes from a vase from southern Italy that is over 2000 years old and can be viewed in the Louvre in Paris”) and
  • a green digit with a tilting effect (emerald number).

On the map of Europe, the French overseas department Mayotte , which received the status of the 101st French department on March 31, 2011, is not shown; the states Malta and Cyprus , which joined the EU in 2004 and the euro in 2008, are also shown have introduced.

The euro banknotes of the second series bear the year of the first issue.

Since Bulgaria's accession to the EU, the currency denomination EURO is now also listed in the Cyrillic spelling “ ЕВРО ” in addition to the previous name in Latin and Greek letters ( ΕΥΡΩ ) ; the Cyrillic " В " corresponds to the Latin V or W, the " Р " to the R.

The acronyms of the European Central Bank have also been expanded to include the spellings in the new EU languages: to the five previous abbreviations BCE (French, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish), ECB (Danish, English, Latvian, Lithuanian, Dutch, Swedish, Slovak, Slovenian, Czech), EZB (German), EKP (Estonian, Finnish) and ΕΚΤ (Greek) the five variants ЕЦБ (Bulgarian; in Cyrillic letters), EKB (Hungarian), BĊE (Maltese), EBC were added (Polish) and ESB (Croatian) added. On the euro banknotes they are in the sequence BCE, ECB, ЕЦБ , EZB , EKP, ΕΚΤ, (ESB), EKB, BĊE, EBC. The abbreviation ESB (Croatian) does not appear on the euro banknotes from 5 to 20 euros. The order is roughly based on the protocol order for official languages ​​established by the EU; only the Bulgarian abbreviation is third instead of first.

The new banknotes continue to uphold the principle that the euro should in principle become the currency for all EU members and have therefore already anticipated a possible expansion of today's euro zone. As a result, all EU members are represented on the euro banknotes, not just the euro states. This is why there are now references to those countries that were previously not represented because they were not yet members of the EU at the time the euro was introduced.

Face value front back colour Architectural style (s)
public performance First edition
5 euros 5 euros, front 5 euros, back Gray Classical ( ancient )
Before the 11th century
120 mm × 62 mm
0.71 g
January 10, 2013 May 2, 2013
10 Euro 10 euros, front 10 euros, back red Romanesque
11th-12th centuries century
127 mm × 67 mm January 13, 2014 23rd September 2014
20 Euros 20 euros, front 20 euros, back blue Gothic
13th-14th century
133 mm × 72 mm February 24, 2015 November 25, 2015
50 Euros 50 euros, front 50 euros, back orange Renaissance
15th - 16th centuries century
140 mm × 77 mm 5th july 2016 4th April 2017
100 euros 100 euros, front 100 euros, back green Baroque and Rococo
17th-18th centuries century
147 mm × 77 mm 17th September 2018 May 28, 2019
200 euros 200 euros, front side 200 euros, back Yellowish brown Iron and glass architecture
19th century
153 mm × 77 mm 17th September 2018 May 28, 2019

The plate code can be found on all euro banknotes at the top right of the picture. A surface coating of the 5 and 10 euro notes should increase the durability of the new notes compared to the old ones; this leads to a slightly increased weight and slightly increased production costs. As it became known in October 2014, hardly any fingerprints can be detected on this newly introduced coating using previous methods . The width of the new 100 and 200 euro banknotes has been reduced to 77 mm and now corresponds to that of the 50 euro banknote. Bills with the signature of Christine Lagarde , who was elected ECB President in 2019, are to come into circulation in the second half of 2020.

Security features

Compared to the first Euro series, the existing security features have been improved and further developed, but the see-through register and the watermark barcode have been dispensed with.

The enhanced security features of the ES2 series include:

  • To recognize without aids:
    • Improved security paper
    • Palpable relief: stripes printed with steel engraving on both edges, the respective large value number and the main motif (front)
    • Special film strips (metallic gloss) with holograms (from top to bottom) (front):
      • Satellite hologram (€ 100 and € 200)
      • Portrait window (from 20 €): A see-through window becomes transparent when viewed against the light and the portrait of Europa appears on both sides of the euro banknote.
      • Portrait hologram: Portrait of Europa in a silver stripe, as well as the respective building (gate / window) and the value number with the € symbol change when tilted.
    • Emerald number: Value number changes color from emerald green to deep blue and a light bar moves up and down. (Front)
    • Portrait watermark : the Phoenician king's daughter Europe and the value number
    • Pearlescent strips (Iriodin strips) (back)
    • Metallized security thread: with a recessed € symbol and the respective value number
  • Can only be recognized with aids:
    • Microtext:
      • Front: in the gates / windows and in one or more stars of the European flag
      • Back: in the aqueduct and bridges
    • Different colors under UV-A and UV-C
    • Fluorescence : colored fibers can be seen under UV light
    • Only parts of the overall picture are visible under IR light

Numbering systems

In contrast to the previous series, there is no longer any reference to the commissioning central bank on the banknotes of the Europa series, only the printer is marked.

serial number

The serial numbers of the Europa series start with two letters, followed by a sequence of ten digits. This (full) serial number is called the long form, while a short form of this number in the form of the last six digits of the long form has been added to the note rotated by 90 °. The first digit of the serial number specifies the banknote printer, while the second digit, like the following ten digits, is used to uniquely identify the banknote within the printing company's production volume for this denomination. If the two letters are replaced by their position in the alphabet (A = 1… Z = 26), the remainder of the nine with the ten digits is always 7. If the remainder of the nine is only formed from the ten digits of the serial number without the two letters , the result is a value that can be found in the following table. The remaining nine is also indicated in the table below (column: remaining nine) if necessary.

(Since there are exactly 2 letters, the system of the serial numbers described here is identical to that of the first series: If you replace each letter with its ASCII code (A = 65 ... Z = 90) or choose the equivalent assignment A = 2 ... Z = 27, then the remainder of the nine of the entire serial number is 0.)

Plate code

As with the first series of euro banknotes, the plate code is on the front. Its structure has not changed either, only the newly assigned printer IDs are used.

Printer ID

Each euro banknote printer has been assigned an individual identification letter that is present in the serial number and in the plate code: The specific assignment basically follows the NZB IDs of the first series (see above), with unused letters being reassigned with the greatest possible integration of printer IDs the first series.

code printing house place country Nine remainder annotation
A. not forgiven
B. not forgiven
C. not forgiven
D. Polska Wytwórnia Papierów Wartościowych Warsaw Poland no notes in circulation
E. Oberthur Fiduciaire Chantepie France EA: 1
EB: 0
EC: 8
F. Oberthur Bulgaria (former Bulgarian National Printing House ) Sofia Bulgaria FA: 0 First banknotes (€ 10) issued in May 2019
G not forgiven
H De la Rue Currency Loughton United Kingdom no notes in circulation
I. not forgiven
J De la Rue Currency Gateshead United Kingdom no notes in circulation
K not forgiven
L. not forgiven
M. Valora SA Carregado Portugal MA: 2
MC: 0
MD: 8
only 05 €
only 20 €
only 50 €
N Austrian banknote and security printing company Vienna Austria NA: 1
NB: 0
NZ: 3
O not forgiven
P Joh. Enschede Security Printing BV Haarlem Netherlands PA: 8
PB: 7
PC: 6
In December 2016, the company announced that it would end banknote printing in the near future.
Q not forgiven
R. Bundesdruckerei GmbH Berlin Germany RA: 6
RB: 5
RC: 4
RD: 3
S. Banca d'Italia Rome Italy SA: 5
SB: 4
SC: 3
SD: 2
SE: 1
SF: 0
T Central Bank of Ireland Dublin Ireland TA: 4
TC: 2
TD: 1
U Banque de France Chamalières France WP: 3
UB: 2
UC: 1
UD: 0
UE: 8
UF: 7
V Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre Madrid Spain VA: 2
VB: 1
VH: 4
Taken over by IMBISA in November 2014
W. Giesecke + Devrient GmbH Leipzig Germany WA: 1
WB: 0
X Giesecke + Devrient GmbH Munich Germany XA: 0
XZ: 2
In 2015, the production of euro banknotes at the Munich location was discontinued for cost reasons.
Y Bank of Greece Athens Greece YA: 8
Z Belgian National Bank Brussels Belgium ZA: 7
ZB: 6
ZC: 5
ZD: 4

Difficulty introducing

Although the Deutsche Bundesbank, according to its own statements, had offered the manufacturers of vending machines early on to test the new 5-euro bills, after the bills were issued there were major problems with the acceptance of the bills by vending machines. Deutsche Bahn, for example, had to admit that about half of the machines would not accept the new tickets due to a lack of software updates. Many cigarette machine operators provided their devices with an additional label, which “put off” the later acceptance of the new ticket, but parking garage operators and almost all other machine operators that accept banknotes were also affected by the problem. Even a month after the introduction of the new notes, the situation had improved only slightly. This is one reason why the time between presentation and introduction has been significantly increased for the 10 euro note. The machine operators should have more time to convert.

Framework for the re-issue of euro banknotes

If a cash handler, i.e. a credit institute or value service provider, wants to return cash to circulation after a deposit has been made (recycling) without the involvement of the responsible national central bank (in Germany the Deutsche Bundesbank and in Austria the Oesterreichische Nationalbank ), he is obliged to do so beforehand Check the fitness for circulation and the authenticity of the notes and coins.


  • In Unicode 6.0, the symbol ( emoji ) “?”, which represents a bank note with the euro symbol, was introduced in the Unicode block “Various pictographic symbols” at position U + 1F4B6 .
  • The 0-euro note has been available in various designs since 2015 . It is intended as a collector's item and cannot be used as a means of payment. The ticket was approved by the Banque de France (as the authority responsible for the place of manufacture) as a "Euro souvenir". The 0 euro note is the same size as the 20 euro note and has "simple" banknote-like security features. The ticket can currently be purchased at 20 sales outlets in Germany, primarily as an advertising medium for leisure activities.


  • Barbara Aulinger: From the guilder to the euro. History of the Austrian banknotes. Böhlau Verlag, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 2000, ISBN 3-205-99027-7 .
  • Klaus W. Bender: Money maker. The most secret trade in the world. Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim 2004, ISBN 3-527-50113-4 .
  • Euro catalog, coins and banknotes 2005. Leuchtturm Albenverlag, 2004, ISBN 3-00-012679-1 .

Web links

Commons : Euro banknotes  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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