And I knew a place on this globe with nice, attractive banknotes!: Until 2002 I carried nice, attractive banknotes and coins with me every day. Unless I was broke...
De Nederlandsche Bank (The Dutch National Bank) issued banknotes and coins the Dutch considered normal but were actually very distinctive and perhaps an example how an everyday tool can also be beautiful. Of course, everyone is entitled to his/her own taste but you can't disagree about 'distinctive'!
Things like nicely designed coins and banknotes, trains, buildings, water management and engineering, tulips, cycle paths, houseboats etc. give a country a certain atmosphere and make life more pleasant.
Foreigners thought many times they got Monopoly®-money when they bought Dutch Guilders, and since 2002 that's indeed what they get. With the introduction of the Euro as the single currency for the European Union, the Dutch Guilder (and the coins and banknotes) became history. On January 1th, 2002 the Euro coins and banknotes were introduced and from January 28th of the same year the Guilder is no longer legal tender.
To show you, wherever you're from, how Dutch money looked liked, all coins and banknotes which were in circulation in 2001 can be viewed on this and following pages.
According to rumours some of the banknotes were designed with the help of an Apple Macintosh computer, another example of a rebel product which crosses the limits of current technologies.
Perhaps because Macs were used, it is why the designers could be more creative and the notes look so great... but the printing company is prohibited by the Dutch National Bank from talking about the production of the banknotes. Additional rumours say the design had to be redone on the system the printing company uses.
Most coins and every banknote had its own (non-translatable) nickname based on the value, object on the banknote or the main colour. Sometimes the nickname is based on the colour of previous versions of the banknote: the 1000 Guilder note is green but the nickname is based on the red colour of an old version.
The nicknames are commonly used, but sometimes different regions of the country use another name based on the dialect of that region. For examples of the influence of the money on the Dutch language, check out the website Uitmunten in taal (in Dutch language only).
From Ootje Oxenaar, one of the designers of the banknotes, the text of a lecture for the DESIGN '87 congress about the design of the Dutch banknotes is available.
Jaap Drupsteen, visual artist and designer of the last series of banknotes, made the documentary 'Levensloop van een bankbiljet' (the lifecycle of a banknote) in 1986 about the production and usage of banknotes. His predecessor, Ootje Oxenaar, designed the 250 Guilder banknote of which the design and production was the main thread and he featured in the documentary (see picture).