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Monday, 28 January, 2002, 10:21 GMT
The guilder goes unmourned
Euros
The Dutch changeover is the fastest in Europe
The Dutch guilder has passed into history just four weeks after the introduction of the euro.


On 4 January, 90% of transactions in the Netherlands were already in euros

Bibi Lotte, Dutch Central Bank
The Netherlands is the first of the 12 eurozone countries to put its currency completely out of circulation.

Since midnight on Sunday (2300 GMT), anyone doing business in guilders risks being fined.

But there has been little fanfare about the demise of the centuries-old coins in a nation that has quickly taken to the new currency.

"On 4 January, 90% of transactions in the Netherlands were already in euros... So you could say that at the end of the second week of January, basically, we'd finished our changeover," said Bibi Lotte from the Dutch Central Bank.

Pragmatism

The guilder did resurface over the weekend as Dutch shoppers made use of their final opportunity to spend the last of their old notes and coins.

They will continue to be able to exchange the guilder in banks until 1 April.

Fifty guilder note
The guilder has been in use for more than seven centuries
The defunct guilder coins will be gathered in and stored by the Dutch Central Bank. They will eventually be melted down and the nickel will be sold.

The attitude to the demise of the 776-year-old currency has been overwhelmingly pragmatic.

"We have become a little less Dutch, and more European, but that happened on 1 January. The last day of the guilder doesn't mean anything to me," said one shopper, Korstiaan Nederveen.

The currency changeover in the Netherlands has been the most rapid of all the 12 EU countries which have adopted the new coins.

Ireland is next in line, putting the punt out of circulation on 9 February, followed by the French franc on 17 February.

By 28 February, the changeover will be complete across the eurozone.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Evan Davis
"The Euro is still underperforming, whatever the politicians say"
The BBC's Jonty Bloom
"The Dutch have taken to the Euro like a duck to water"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Guilder gone
What are your memories of the Dutch currency?

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See also:

27 Jan 02 | Business
26 Jan 02 | Europe
26 Jul 01 | Business
05 Jan 02 | Business
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