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September 2021
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Whatchamacallit 82: 5€ Notes

5€ Banknotes

Since moving to Europe, I’ve become used to the fact that my banknotes change size and color as the values change.

However, other than noting that I’ve visited Spijkenisse, where the Euro-note bridges went from fantasy to reality, I do not think that I’ve ever discussed the Euro notes.

Simply put, the notes are there – but are completely unremarkable in any way.

However, the notes we use today are not the notes that I used when I arrived in Europe. There has been a switch from the first series of notes to the current series.

The changeover started with the 5€ note issued starting in 2013.

It’s funny: I remember the day clear as a bell. I didn’t know we were getting new Euro banknotes, so when I received the new 5€ note, I immediately knew that it wasn’t the one that I was used to. I received it in change when buying coffee from a legitimate shop and the note was crisp so I did not say anything, rather I was surprised.

A few minutes later at my office, I looked up the news and found out that the new 5€ note was indeed legitimate. Later that afternoon I watched a BVG (Berlin) bus driver rejected the new 5€ note when somebody tried to pay with it.

I decided to save a copy of the old 5€ note, putting it on display along side the new one.

One thing that amazes me is how quickly the new replaces the old: if it were not for the fact that I have this sitting on display in my apartment, I would probably have completely forgotten that the original series was actually different – and be unable to enumerate the ways in which the two series differ.

Indeed, unless I am looking up information about original banknote series, I would be completely unable to tell you how the 10, 20, and 50 Euro notes changed. I couldn’t even tell you how the 100€ notes changed – just that they changed.

Having only held a 200€ note once and having never held a 500€ note, I cannot even tell you what they look like in person. The 200€ note is yellow, the 500€ is purple – with the 500€ never updated to reflect the new series. According to Wikipedia, the new 100 and 200 Euro notes are the same height as the 50€ note – but I hold the 100€ notes so rarely that I have not diagnosed this fact.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

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