People, we need to talk about the Euro.
I don’t know what you were expecting from this post, but it won’t be a five-page long discussion of the impact of the European currency, if the countries in the EU should adopt it or not etc. This is going to be a post purely focused on the design. Because whatever you say, it is important and the design of the Euro overall sucks.
What does the currency look like?
The currency is comprised of both coins and notes.
The coins are the cents:
1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50.
… and the Euro-coins:
€1 and €2
The notes are:
€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and (as of 2019 slowly being phased out) €500.
I didn’t have all the coins and notes at hand because, let’s face it; I don’t have a job or a large distrust of the bank system. So here are a select few for you to get the idea of what the currency looks like if you don’t know already.
The Euro could have been so much more fun
First, I’d just like to say that it is a nice idea and all. Having the same currency all over the European Union makes money exchange redundant and makes trading easier. Each country is also allowed the fun little perk of designing one side of the coins into depicting something that you think represents your country.
The thing here is that it seems like very few countries have taken to design something fun. Instead, most countries opted for the safe choice of depicting a current or former leader of the country. I took the opportunity to do some calculations on this. Turns out that on the €2 coins (including both previous and current issues) where people are depicted (20 in total of all countries together) only 4 are depicting women. The rest (80 %!) are of men. Greece even has a coin that shows the Greek goddess Europa being adbucted by Zeus who has transformed himself into a bull to take her away from her family and marry her against her will. I know this is a legend in Greek mythology, which is kind of cool and all that, but isn’t it time to finally stop the bullshit and not show sexist stuff on something that is being handled every day my millions of people?
Finland though, is having some fun with their designs, showing some beautiful nature-inspired coins. If Sweden ever gets the Euro, that’s what I hope we’ll do too. Or that we would have some badass woman on our coins, like Austria does with their €2 coin showing the pacifist Bertha von Suttner who was the first woman ever to receive the Nobel Peace Price.
Seriously Europe, have some fun when you can – Kings on coins is getting old.
Now for the cents…
Getting to pick your own design for the coins is basically the only possibly fun thing about the currency and the cent coins really mess with your head. Even though I’ve been living in Germany for the past 10 months, I still can’t deal with all the different coins and here’s to you Mr. Luc Luycx from the Royal Belgian Mint: you’ve caused me daily agonies because of your coin design. Who in their right mind would put a GLOBE right next to the number of the cent-coin to make it look like this?
This makes me so frustrated as every time I pull out a 50-cent coin I go *yay*, before realizing that it’s 5 cents, i.e. worth 10 times less, and that I’ve got about five of those and an additional two hundred 1 and 2 cent coins in there. Who does that to a person?
Could it be that it’s only me having this issue? I mean, really, the coins do look different from each other and no one else that I’ve spoken to about this issue finds it hard to differentiate them from each other. What do you think?
Maybe I just have to get used to the currency. Or get used to the fact that I’m not good with money and shouldn’t be allowed to touch it. Ever.
Fun fact: There are some countries that are not part of the EU but still use the Euro as currency. These are: Saint Barthélemy, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican, Kosovo, Montenegro and Saint Pierre and Miquelon.