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20 Euro Note

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Title: 20 Euro Note  
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Subject: Euro banknotes, Watermark, Sammarinese lira, French euro coins, Portuguese euro coins
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20 Euro Note

Twenty euro
(Eurozone and Institutions)
Value 20 euro
Width 133 mm
Height 72 mm
Security features Hologram stripe, reflective glossy stripe, a EURion constellation, watermarks, microprinting, ultraviolet ink, raised printing, a security thread, matted surface, perforations, see through number, barcodes and a serial number[1]
Paper type 100% pure cotton fibre[2]
Years of printing 2002–present[3]
Design Window in Gothic architecture[4]
Designer Robert Kalina[5]
Design date 3 December 1996[5]
Design Bridge in Gothic architecture and map of Europe[4]
Designer Robert Kalina[5]
Design date 3 December 1996[5]

The twenty euro note (€20) is the third-lowest value euro banknote and has been used since the introduction of the euro (in its cash form) in 2002.[6] The note is used in the 23 countries which have it as their sole currency (with 22 legally adopting it); with a population of about 332 million.[7]

It is the third-smallest note, measuring 133 x 72 mm with a blue colour scheme.[4] The twenty euro banknotes depict bridges and arches/doorways in Gothic architecture (between the 13th and 14th century CE).

The twenty euro note contains several complex security features such as watermarks, invisible ink, holograms and microprinting that document its authenticity. In October 2011, there were approximately 2,755,346,800 twenty euro banknotes in circulation around the eurozone.


The euro was founded on 1 January 1999, when it became the currency of over 300 million people in Europe.[3] For the first three years of its existence it was an invisible currency, only used in accountance. Euro cash was not introduced until 1 January 2002, when it replaced the national banknotes and coins of the countries in eurozone 12, such as the Belgian franc and the Greek drachma.[3]

Slovenia joined the Eurozone in 2007,[8] Cyprus and Malta in 2008,[9] Slovakia in 2009,[10] Estonia in 2011[11] and Latvia joined on 1 January 2014.[12]

The changeover period

The changeover period during which the former currencies' notes and coins were exchanged for those of the euro lasted about two months, going from 1 January 2002 until 28 February 2002. The official date on which the national currencies ceased to be legal tender varied from member state to member state.[3] The earliest date was in Germany, where the mark officially ceased to be legal tender on 31 December 2001, though the exchange period lasted for two months more. Even after the old currencies ceased to be legal tender, they continued to be accepted by national central banks for periods ranging from ten years to forever.[3][13]


Notes printed before November 2003 bear the signature of the first president of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, who was replaced on 1 November 2003 by Jean-Claude Trichet, whose signature appears on issues from November 2003 to March 2012. Notes issued after March 2012 bear the signature of the third president of the European Central Bank, incumbent Mario Draghi.[4]

Until now there has been only one series of euro notes, however a new series, similar to the current one, is planned to be released.[14] The European Central Bank will, in due time, announce when banknotes from the first series lose legal tender status.[14]

As of June 2012, current issues do not reflect the expansion of the European Union to 27 member states as Cyprus is not depicted on current notes as the map does not extend far enough east and Malta is also missing as it does not meet the current series' minimum size for depiction.[15] Since the European Central Bank plans to redesign the notes every seven or eight years after each issue, a second series of banknotes is already in preparation. New production and anti-counterfeiting techniques will be employed on the new notes, but the design will be of the same theme and colours identical of the current series; bridges and arches. However, they would still be recognisable as a new series.[16]


20 euro banknote under fluorescent light (UV-A)
20 euro note under UV light (Obverse)
20 euro note under UV light (Reverse)

The twenty euro note is the third smallest euro note at 133 millimetres (5.2 in) × 72 millimetres (2.8 in) with a blue colour scheme.[4] All bank notes depict bridges and arches/doorways in a different historical European style; the twenty euro note shows the gothic era (between the 13th and 14th century CE).[17] Although Robert Kalina's original designs were intended to show real monuments, for political reasons the bridge and art are merely hypothetical examples of the architectural era.[18]

Like all euro notes, it contains the denomination, the EU flag, the signature of the president of the ECB[4] and the initials of said bank in different EU languages, a depiction of EU territories overseas, the stars from the EU flag and thirteen security features as listed below.[4]

Security features

The watermark on the 20 euro note

As a lower value note, the security features of the twenty euro note are not as high as the other denominations, however, it is protected by:

  • A hologram,[19] tilt the note and one should see the hologram image change between the value and a window or doorway, but in the background, one should see rainbow-coloured concentric circles of micro-letters moving from the centre to the edges of the patch.[20]
  • A EURion constellation,[19] special printing processes give the euro notes their unique feel.
  • A glossy stripe,[19] tilt the note and a glossy stripe showing the value numeral and the euro symbol will appear.
  • Watermarks,[19] it appears when the banknote is against the light.
  • Raised printing,[19] special methods of printing makes the ink feel raised or thicker in the main image, the lettering and the value numerals on the front of the banknotes. To feel the raised print, run your finger over it or scratch it gently with your fingernail.[21]
  • Ultraviolet ink,[19] Under ultraviolet light, the paper itself should not glow, fibres embedded in the paper should appear, and should be coloured red, blue and green, the European Union flag looks green and has orange stars, the ECB President signature turns green, the large stars and small circles on the front glow and the European map, a bridge and the value numeral on the back appear in yellow.[22]
  • Microprinting,[19] On numerous areas of the banknotes you can see microprinting, for example, inside the "EYPΩ" (EURO in Greek characters) on the front. You will need a magnifying glass to see it. The tiny text is sharp, and not blurred.[22]
  • A security thread,[19] The security thread is embedded in the banknote paper. Hold the banknote against the light - the thread will appear as a dark stripe. The word "EURO" and the value can be seen in tiny letters on the stripe.[23]
  • Perforations,[19] Hold the banknote against the light. You should see perforations in the hologram which will form the € symbol. You should also see small numbers showing the value.[23]
  • A matted surface,[19] the note paper is made out of pure cotton, which feels crisp and firm, but not limp or waxy.[21]
  • Barcodes,[19]
  • A serial number.[19]


In May 2013, there were approximately 2,845,461,000 €20 notes in circulation.

As of May 2013, there are approximately 2,845,461,000 €20 banknotes in circulation around the Eurozone.[24] That is approximately €56,909,220,700 worth of €20 banknotes (as of May 2013).[24] The European Central Bank is closely monitoring the circulation and stock of the euro coins and banknotes. It is a task of the Eurosystem to ensure an efficient and smooth supply of euro notes and to maintain their integrity throughout the eurozone.[24]

Legal information

Legally, both the European Central Bank and the central banks of the eurozone countries have the right to issue the 7 different euro banknotes. In practice, only the national central banks of the zone physically issue and withdraw euro banknotes. The European Central Bank does not have a cash office and is not involved in any cash operations.[3]


There are several communities of people at European level, most of which is EuroBillTracker,[25] that, as a hobby, it keeps track of the euro banknotes that pass through their hands, to keep track and know where they travel or have travelled.[25] The aim is to record as many notes as possible to know details about its spread, like from where and to where they travel in general, follow it up, like where a ticket has been seen in particular, and generate statistics and rankings, for example, in which countries there are more tickets.[25] EuroBillTracker has registered over 96 million notes as of October 2011,[26] worth more than €1.876 billion.[26]


  1. ^ "ECB: Security Features". European Central Bank. European Central Bank. 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "ECB: Feel". European Central Bank. European Central Bank. 2002. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "ECB: Introduction". ECB. ECB. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "ECB: Banknotes". European Central Bank. European Central Bank. 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d "ECB: Banknotes design". ECB. ECB. February 1996. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Witnessing a milestone in European history". The Herald (Back Issue). 1 January 2002. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  7. ^
    • "Andorran Euro Coins". 2003. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
    • "By UNMIK administration direction 1999/2". 4 October 1999. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
    • "By monetary agreement between France (acting for the EC) and Monaco". 31 May 2002. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
    • "By monetary agreement between Italy (acting for the EC) and San Marino". 27 July 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
    • "By monetary agreement between Italy (acting for the EC) and Vatican City". 25 October 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
    • "ECB: Map of euro area 1999 – 2011". ECB. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
    • "Total population as of 1 January". 2011-03-11. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-17. 
  8. ^ "Slovenia joins the euro area - European Commission". European Commission. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Cyprus and Malta adopt the euro - BBC NEWS". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 1 January 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Kubosova, Lucia (31 December 2008). "Slovakia Joins Decade-Old Euro Zone - Businessweek". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Estonia to join euro zone in 2011". RTÉ News. Radió Teilifís Éireann. 13 July 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Van Tartwijk, Maarten; Kaza, Juris (9 July 2013). "Latvia Gets Green Light to Join Euro Zone". Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Press kit - tenth anniversary of the euro banknotes and coins". ECB. Central Bank of Ireland. 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "ECB Monthly bulletin- August 2005 - THE EURO BANKNOTES: DEVELOPMENTS AND FUTURE CHALLENGES". ECB. August 2005. p. 43. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  15. ^  
  16. ^ The life cycle of a banknote, De Nederlandsche Bank. Accessed 2007-08-17.
  17. ^ "ECB: Security Features". ECB. ECB. 
  18. ^ "Money talks - the new Euro cash". BBC News (BBC News). December 1996. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "ECB: Security Features". European Central Bank. 2002. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  20. ^ "ECB:Tilt". ECB. 1 January 2002. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  21. ^ a b "ECB: Feel". ECB. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "ECB: Additional features". ECB. 1 January 2002. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "ECB: Look". ECB. 1 January 2002. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  24. ^ a b c "ECB: Circulation". European Central Bank. European Central Bank. August 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  25. ^ a b c "EuroBillTracker - About this site". Philippe Girolami, Anssi Johansson, Marko Schilde. EuroBillTracker. 1 January 2002. Archived from the original on 2013-06-27. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  26. ^ a b "EuroBillTracker - Statistics". Philippe Girolami, Anssi Johansson, Marko Schilde. EuroBillTracker. 1 January 2002. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 

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