Euro in Holland: a mixed bag of money

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Jingle the euro coins in your pocket and they all sound the same. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that Queen Beatrix may not be among the heads or symbols of the back of your coins. Only a quarter of all euro coins in circulation in the Netherlands are originally Dutch. After ten years of existence - starting life with hope about European unity and stable prices and now the symbol of the deepening European debt crisis – the one thing the euro has done with absolute certainty is to travel over EU borders with ease.

‘Eurometres’ That’s the conclusion reached by, set up by a group of mathematicians to record the flow of the newly-launched coin on 1 January 2002. Each month, the experts recorded the contents of Dutch wallets and purses.

Even on the euro’s launch date, foreign euro coins amounted to eight percent of those in circulation. At the end of its year, some 22 percent of euros in the Netherlands originated from other EU nations.

Frederik Jan Jungen now manages on his own. A loyal group of 200 to 300 people, the “eurometres”, still supply him with euro data each month. “It’s not much trouble but we get a lot of pleasure out of it,” says Jungen. 

Eagle in your purse If you delve into your wallet, it’s likely that there are just as many euro coins with an eagle on the back as there are with the Dutch queen – one quarter of the euro coins comes from Germany.

A third quarter comes from Belgium and France together as King Albert II competes with the French tree of life designed by Joaquim Jiminez - symbolising life, continuity and growth – for space in your purse. The last quarter is a mixed bag of money from the other 13 euro countries.

No Maltese But it’s more likely you’ll come across the Irish Celtic harp – based on the ancient harp belonging to ancient king of Ireland Brian Boru – or Spain’s King Carlos I, rather than Slovakia’s double cross on three hills. While foreign euro coins are more the rule than the exception in the Netherlands, the chances of handling a Maltese, Slovenian or Slovakian euro are almost negligible.

That also holds for euro coins from Estonia. In December, only 0.3 percent of euro coins registered in the Netherlands came from any of the Baltic States.   Euro: higher prices But for all the symbols of trees, eagles and harps, the euro cash currency has left crisis-rattled consumers decidedly ambivalent a decade on, reports news agency AFA.

On the streets of Berlin, Madrid, and Bratislava, the view is similar: despite its clear upsides, the transition to the euro hiked the cost of living even as it introduced deep political and economic uncertainty in the bloc.

The euro, the most tangible manifestation of European integration in everyday life, has become a symbol of the economic downturn.

And more and more Dutch begin to pine for the guilder, the question remains how long more we’ll have euro coins in our purses at all.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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