Images of cats from the British Museum collection, £9.99
Width: 133.000 mm
Height: 72.000 mm
Reproduced by courtesy of the European Central Bank and the European Monetary Institute
CM not registered
Coins and Medals
Prototype 20 euro note
Brussels, Belgium, AD 1997
A single currency for Europe
From 1 January 2002, eleven countries in the European Union will have a new, shared currency. In Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain new coins and notes valued in euros will be issued. For a few months they will circulate alongside the existing currency, but on 1 July, the national coins and notes of these countries will cease to be legal tender. People will be able to use the euro coins and notes in any of the eleven participating states.
Designs for the new currency had to be chosen carefully, so that they would be acceptable in all the countries. Each denomination of the notes will show a different age or style of European architecture, represented by windows and gateways on the front, and bridges on the back. For example, the 20 euro note shown here has monuments in the Gothic style.
For security reasons, final details of the designs have not yet been made public. All notes will include a range of complex security features to protect against forgery. Raised marks and different sizes for each denomination will help the visually impaired. On the back of the notes there will be a small space where each country may place a national symbol.
J. Cribb, Eyewitness Guides: Money (Dorling Kindersley, 1999)