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The ECB Plans to Update the Design of Euro Banknotes in 2026

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Photo: The ECB plans to update the design of euro banknotes in 2026. Source: Collage The Gaze
Photo: The ECB plans to update the design of euro banknotes in 2026. Source: Collage The Gaze

The European Central Bank (ECB) plans to update the design of euro banknotes for the first time since their introduction. Until August 31 of the current year, all residents of the eurozone can participate in the development of the new appearance of the banknotes by answering survey questions on the ECB website.

The list of possible themes for the design of the banknotes includes seven options, including rivers, birds, culture, and values.

According to ECB President Christine Lagarde, there is a strong connection between the single European currency and pan-European identity, so the new banknote design should take this aspect into account. She wants Europeans to feel connected to the design of the euro banknotes, which is why citizens themselves will play an active role in choosing the new theme.

The current design of euro banknotes is based on the theme of "Ages and Styles" and features images of windows, gates, and bridges. The seven denominations - 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros - depict European architecture from various styles and historical periods. Each denomination has a unique size, color, and image.

The front side of the banknotes displays windows and gates, while the reverse side features bridges. According to the concept, windows and gates symbolize the "European spirit of openness and cooperation," while the bridges represent communication among the inhabitants of Europe. However, none of the bridges depicted on the euro banknotes actually exist; they are only conceptual to support the connection between European countries' residents.

This banknote design was created by artist Robert Kalina from the National Bank of Austria. His project was selected from among 44 submissions in December 1996 by the Council of the European Monetary Institute.

The results of the new survey will be used by the ECB to select the theme for the next generation of euro banknotes by 2024. Afterward, a design sample competition will be announced. Europeans will once again have the opportunity to choose the best design samples based on the competition results.

It is expected that the final decision regarding the design change and the production timeline for the new banknotes will be made by the European regulator in 2026.

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