BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 25 February, 2002, 17:21 GMT
Your memories of the spent currencies
The euro now reigns supreme in 12 countries across Europe as the last national currencies are withdrawn.

The Netherlands, Ireland and France were the first to change over their notes and coins. Then the other nine countries joined them.

Click on the countries below to read some of your memories of each of the currencies.


When visiting Salzburg for the first time three years ago, we were struck by how a 10 groschen piece looked like toy-town money - so much so that we were convinced that they were shower tokens rather than hard currency!
James Hart

Back to top

I believe that the 1 cent coin won't be used that much here as it's value is smaller than our half franc, which we seldom use anymore.
Bernard Van Couwenberghe

I've lived in Brussels for 5 years and will miss the bright colours of the notes and the fact that they give everyone a glimpse of 6 famous Belgians. That meant I only had to think of four more for the "Name 10 famous Belgians" question that many visitors ask.
Chris Bourne

Back to top

My first encounter with the Finnish Markkaa was as an exchange student in Helsinki in 1983. At that time Finland was in the shadow of the Soviet Union and unlikely to ever be a member of the EU. The notes generally depicted non-contentious figures in Finnish history who would be unlikely to rise the ire of the Soviets yet be sufficiently different from their neighbours currencies to show that Finland was nation state. As the Soviet Union freed up during the 1990's the Finns felt freer to make their note designs bolder and to depict more culturally heroic figures.
Anthony McEvoy, Ireland

I don't feel that Finland or any of the other 11 euro countries have lost their national identities by adopting the euro. Each country still gets to keep their national symbols on the coins and I for one actually find it an enriching situation to be in. Maybe we should just be thankful for the money that we have, whatever the currency, when so many in this world have nothing.
Stephen Thompson

Finland has lost her independence again. But better a European rouble than a Russian one!
Simo Saari

Our notes used to show significant cultural figures of our country and they were slightly bigger. The new Euro notes do not carry any emotional attachment to them as they depict nothing except mediocre Central European design...
Timo Ahlstedt

Back to top

One night, when I was a wee lad growing up on the frontier of Germany and Luxembourg, my mother stopped and handed me an old edition 5 mark note. It was the first money I had ever owned.
Christopher Smallwood

Growing up in Germany, I remember a "Besatzungsmark". Those were notes issued by the occupying forces between 1945 and 1948. That money was practically worthless, everybody had bundles of it, but there was almost nothing that could be bought: the shelves were empty.
Ursula H. Wagner

Throughout former Yugoslavia, the mark played an important part in the wars, both positive and negative. It was the de facto currency everywhere, and proved that people could work together, even if not live together. Less great was that this co-operation was mostly illegal smuggling and corruption that exacerbated and prolonged the suffering of the majority.

I was 15 when we crossed the border from east to west Germany. It was about a month or six weeks before the new Deutsche Mark became the official money. At the end of the month the farmer handed me my monthly wages, DM50. If I live to be 100 I will never forget the happy expression on my mother's face when I handed her the money.
Christel Neumann

Back to top

Although I support the euro I find the notes and coins tasteless compared to the drachmas. They are so neutral with no emblems, I think the EU should have taken a more "marketing" approach when designing the new currency.
Andreas, Greece

Now the drachma is part of the history it created. The new price tags will remind Greeks of the prices that were around in the early 1960's (tenners and twenties instead of 5000 or 10000). But don't forget that the euro is not German or French, it is part of all 12 eurozone countries. Soon it will be part of us, be patient!
Nakis Giakzidis, Greece

The drachma is a link to our glorious past, perhaps now the euro will link us to a glorious future. Our little drachma will live on in our memory and will remind us that though it is small, also great in many ways, just like us Greeks.
Vass, Greece

The Greek drachma has, since independence, been revalued several times, at one point after WWII it was declared worthless, and my parents tell me it was tossed in the street as confetti. Hopefully the Euro will not suffer that fate, nor the US dollar, but time will tell.

The drachma represented periods of economic stagnation for Greece but at the same time it remained one of the links to what used to be the glory of ancient Greece.
Haris Sahinidis

Although I have only lived here for 3 years, it is hard for me to see such a legacy to go away. Drachmas are so old that it goes to when Socrates was alive. My wife remembers getting her first coin. Her father gave her a 1 drachma coin and still has it to this day.
James Edwin

Although we Greeks felt humiliated each time it was devalued we will miss all those zeroes in our cheques.
George Theophanous

I am in favour of the single currency, but the 2,600 year history of our currency is hard to beat. It is part of our culture and history despite the long time it was not used. It is a direct connection to our glorious ancient history and will be greatly missed.

I still remember when as a child in 1980 I could buy an ice-cream for 10 drachmas. Now it costs over 300. The Greeks started thinking of the drachma as a poor child-the called it "little drachma" or "the depreciated one". Now the drachma is gone. I think everybody here feels so terribly sad. Like a part of us, the "little drachma" is vanishing
Nicholas Mandalas

Back to top

As a child in the 1980s, being given a L10,000 note by Sicilian relatives to buy a round of ice creams was a real treat - even though today the note is only worth about £3!
Frank Genna, England

With the lira you were almost rich - a million in my pocket! Never mind that a large ice-cream was L5,000.
Henry Grunder

I lived in Italy for a year in the 1990s, and had a collection of 200 lire pieces, all different and interesting. I remember being stunned that although the smallest coin was 50 lire, prices were given much smaller - and you'd pay 1000 lire for something marked 990 lire.

Although the euro makes me feel part of a united and peaceful Europe, I'll shed a tear for the 1000 lire note that reminds me the time I was a child and my mother gave me 1000 lire to buy sweets and chocolate.
Luca Coren, Trieste

Back to top

Having lived in Luxembourg since 1994 I can only say that carrying one currency within most of Europe is a blessing! Typically, before the euro introduction, most of the people in Luxembourg would carry at least four or five currencies in their wallets!
Paul Goes, The Netherlands

After a dual circulation period of 80 years with the Belgian franc, the Luxembourg franc is finally about to succumb. The Bruxellois were always extremely snooty and indignant when presented with Luxembourg francs, and the high denomination notes were often refused by traders in Belgium - I hope now with the euro these attitudes will change. No more excuses - the only good thing about the demise of the Luxembourg franc is that it has taken the ugly Belgian notes down with it. Good riddance!
Manuel, Luxembourg

I will fondly remember the Luxembourg franc. Although we don't see it as the essence of our national pride, there is something stubborn about the franc. In everyday life it is rare to find a Luxembourg coin, notes are more common in Luxembourg, but finding an old 20LUF piece always reminds me of what we are - not even half a million people trying to be the smallest of nations, the goldfish among the sharks - at least size wise.

I always felt a bit annoyed by the fact that about 90% of the banknotes in Luxembourg were Belgian. I preferred the design of the Luxembourg ones, though they only came in 100, 1000 and 5000-notes. I guess I feel more comfortable spending European currency than Belgian currency.

I especially liked the makeover a few years ago. It was a funky-looking currency. I don't think that the euro is quite as funky!
Enda Guinan

Back to top

My grandparents were already born when the escudo replaced the real and even today many people still refer to 1 escudo as 100 000 reis, which was the conversion rate back then. There will be similar nostalgia about the escudo, I think.
Henrique Amaral

Back to top

I can't really believe that in few days euros will replace completely my beloved pesetas. There are several informal names for pesetas - pela is the most common. I really wonder what funny names we'll choose to call the euro after some time has passed.
Cristóbal González-Aller Zavala

Back to top

See also:

07 Feb 02 | Europe
Your memories of the punt
25 Jan 02 | live
Your memories of the guilder
19 Feb 02 | Europe
Your memories of the French franc
Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories