The Euro is the single currency for Member States of the European Union, nowadays used by some 334 million people. The euro entered into circulation on 1st January 2002, in order to replace the existing currencies such as the peseta, the franc, the drachma or the escudo.
Countries using the euro
Ever since its birth and until now, a total of nineteen countries out of the twenty-eight forming the European Union have gradually adopted the euro, thus forming the so-called Eurozone. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Lithuania was the last country to enter the Eurozone on January 1st 2015.
However, other 9 countries in the European Union have not adopted the euro, such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Romania and Sweden.
Current euro Coins and Banknotes
There are a total of seven denominations of legal tender euro banknotes: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. These notes are all identical for all the countries that use this currency, and their designs reflect the most representative architectural styles of seven ages of the cultural history of Europe. Discover all these notes at the website of the European Central Bank.
On 2nd May 2013 the new €5 note of the Europa series entered into circulation, incorporating a new design and improved security measures.
As for the coins there are eight different denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and 1 and 2 euro coins. One common side and one national which identifies the issuing country.
The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) decides the amount of euro notes issued each year and the total value of the coins issued by each country.
Advantages of a single euro currency
As the Bank of Spain indicates, the euro cash currency, as payment instrument, boasts some unique characteristics:
- It is the most used in business transactions
- Its cost is lower than that of electronic payment instruments for small amount transactions.
- It is readily available to all, and eases payment for people who do not have bank accounts or have restricted access to them or cannot use means of electronic payment.
- It helps people control their expenses better.
- It is a safe instrument against fraud and counterfeiting.
- It is a store of value.
For these reasons, the amount of euro banknotes in circulation has increased continually since it was first issued and this currency has become a reference for the whole Eurozone.
Did you know?
- The author of the design of euro banknotes is Robert Kalian, from the Austrian National Bank.
- The seven bridges that appear on euro banknotes actually do not exist.
- Robin Stam built these imaginary bridges depicted in euro banknotes in a town in the south of the Netherlands.
- In Spain there are some 84 million €500 banknotes in circulation, one quarter of all such banknotes exiting in the European Union.
Date of creation:
1st January 1999 as virtual currency for non-monetary payments and for accounting purposes.
Date of issue:
1st January 2002
European Central Bank.
Why change currency with us rather than your bank
|Global Exchange||Your high-street bank|
|Variety of currencies||51. We are specialists.||Only major currencies. Travel money is just a secondary business for banks.|
|Availability of currencies||Immediate availability of currencies in our branches at Copenhaguen and Billund airports. Click and collect or walk in to our stores.||If they can actually get your exotic currency, prepare for a couple of visits to your bank before you can have the money on your hands.|
|Expenses||At Copenhagen airport you pay the exchange rate, without any additional charges. If you book online, you save 25% on the exchange margin and pay at the airport the collection day.||The bank sets its own margin plus a commission.|
|Different denominations available||At Global Exchange, you’ll get a variety of banknotes with different values, adapted to all your payment needs.||No. Prepare for refusals and complaints in foreign languages when paying with «big» banknotes.|
|Delivery options||Order online to benefit from a price reduction and collect at the branch of your choice.||You’ll have to go first to your bank to order the currency you need, then wait for it to come and go back again to collect it.|