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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 17:01 GMT
Your memories of the guilder
The guilder was one of Europe's oldest coins and the first of the 12 eurozone currencies to disappear. You sent us your memories.
Living in a country with bland, monochromatic bills, I was fascinated by the colorful attention to detail of the Dutch guilder. To me, ordinary aspects of Dutch life - sunflowers, lighthouses, birds - became transformed into extraordinary examples of how the Dutch viewed even the smallest detail in an artistic light. The euro may pale compared to the guilder, but let's hope that the next euro series has more of a Dutch touch.
I don't think it is entirely true that the Dutch do not regret the demise of the guilder. Throughout its long history it has been a very stable currency and our notes and coins were some of the most visually attractive, so naturally we'll miss it.
But being a trading nation, we have little difficulty adjusting to a new currency. And I guess that having our former national bank president as president of the ECB doesn't hurt either. Moreover, I believe the currency is highly overrated as a symbol of national identity. I don't feel a bit less Dutch just because I now pay for my coffee using euros.
I remember being a boy of seven and my father giving me his coin collection. He also gave me a five guilder bill from 1973. It had a picture of Rembrandt, and intricately engraved back was nothing like the American money I was used to. I still collect coins and currency today.
Almost all denominations of Dutch coins and banknotes had their own colloquial name - eg: dubbeltje = 10 cent; Knaak = 2,50 guilder, Geeltje = 25 Guilder; Rooie rug = 1000 guilder etc. I don't know another example of a nation that bothered to give nicknames to all its coins and notes. When the Dutch similarly baptise the euro denominations, we'll know that they've really taken to it!
As a foreigner living in Holland I must admit
I grew attached to the colourful guilders used to seem like Monopoly money. Nevertheless the euro is as nice as the guilders and I am sure that a nation so accustomed to trade as the Dutch one won't take long to fall in love with the new money.
David Williams, Brit living in Rotterdam
I'm a bit sad to see our colourful money go, but living in Berlin and travelling a lot, it's great to know I can spend the same currency everywhere now. The Dutch banknotes were the only ones in Euroland not to have boring historical figures on them, and I'm glad that at least that is similar now on the euro notes.
Whenever I was bored, in the tram or metro, I could always take a banknote out of my wallet and enjoy the art of the design, with small surprises like the poem on the 10 guilder banknote. The euro banknotes are terrible, but at least there is a lot to discover on all the different coins from the euro countries.
Raiford Rogers, USA
An interesting feature of the guilder system was the division of money into quarters. At first this seemed odd, but you get used to it.
Guilders were normal in Holland but as soon as we went abroad people wanted to see the banknotes, feel them and hold them against the light. Regrettably the euro banknotes tell us nothing. No Rembrandt, no Goethe or Mozart, no Curie or Montesquieu. Time for creative artists to start lobbying for new colourful banknotes representing, for example, two aspects of two EC-members.
The Dutch banknotes were very pretty but they were absent of any historical figures and had very little culture on them. I preferred the German or Belgium notes which contained famous people from those countries.
The dear departed guilder...alas! we lose the most attractively designed paper money of the 20th Century. The guilder was special to those of us who value the aesthetic qualities of the instruments of everyday life.
Robert Bilbrey, U.S.
Dutch money has, by far, the most beautiful and sophisticated graphic design. It's the one currency I'm sad not to be able to see any more - I wish I'd held on to some, simply to mount in a frame.
I presume most of us forgot what Dutch coins looked like during part of World War II, when the Germans confiscated our gold and silver coins, so who's complaining today?
The Dutch, if nothing else, are a people of trade. We've never been able to resist looking over our borders to learn about others and find profitable ways of doing business with them. Hence we've never been reluctant to have our wallets filled with foreign currency, and today's popularity of the euro amongst the Dutch highlights this. So the departure of the guilder is not a bitter one. Instead, let's celebrate new opportunities and embrace this new Europe, in which Holland and its eurozone neighbours alike will thrive.
Today I paid with my first euros. They're ugly in my opinion. The guilder notes were more colourful. The new euro banknotes look like toy banknotes.
The best story I have read is about the 250 guilder note. The designer, Oxenaar, is said to have included the names of his three daughters in the lighthouse that dominates the design. The euro notes are boring and reflect the non-existent European identity.
Like many people, I will mostly remember the Dutch guilder for the colourful banknotes, making the various notes so easy to distinguish. Fortunately, it seems that the tradition of bright colours and sophisticated design is to some extent continued in the euro notes.
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