On 1 January 2002 euro banknotes were put into circulation in the 12 euro area countries. There are seven denominations of different sizes and colours each: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.
Banknotes are legal tender throughout the euro area.
Euro banknotes feature the architectural styles from seven different periods in Europe’s cultural history – classical, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and rococo, the age of iron and glass and modern 20th century architecture – without depicting any specific monument of any EU country.
The architectural styles from the seven periods in Europe's cultural history are represented as follows:
Classical: €5 banknote;
Romanesque: €10 banknote;
Gothic: €20 banknote;
Renaissance: €50 banknote;
Baroque and rococo: €100 banknote;
Age of iron and glass: €200 banknote;
Modern 20th century architecture: €500 banknote
The windows and gateways on the front of the banknotes symbolise the spirit of openness and cooperation within the EU.
The bridges on the back symbolise close cooperation and communication between the people of Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world. Bridges are stylised illustrations, not images of, or from, actual constructions.
The 12 stars of the EU represent the dynamism and harmony of European nations.
Other design elements include:
- the name of the currency in both the Latin (EURO) and the Greek (ΕΥΡΩ) alphabets;
- the initials of the European Central Bank (ECB) in five linguistic variants (BCE, ECB, EZB, EKT and EKP) covering the 11 official languages of the EU before its enlargement;
- the symbol © indicating copyright protection;
- the EU flag; and
- the signature of either Willem F. Duisenberg, Jean-Claude Trichet or Mario Draghi – the first, second and third Presidents of the European Central Bank respectively. These banknotes are all equally valid.
|Willem F. Duisenberg
Special features have been incorporated in order to facilitate blind and partially sighted persons.
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Images by denomination
The euro is one of the strongest tangible symbols of the common identity of Europe, euro area countries and their citizens.
Images of the new banknotes
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