Exhibition: "Our currency – a journey through time" in Dresden
A new Bundesbank exhibition at Saxony’s State Ministry of Finance in Dresden takes visitors on a tour of the highlights from 70 years of monetary history. Entitled "Our currency – a journey through time", it showcases vintage footage, coins and banknotes from (former) East and West Germany as well as the now 20-year-old euro.
In his speech marking the opening of the exhibition, Bundesbank Executive Board member Johannes Beermann explained how the title neatly bridges the two dimensions of money. Cash, he said, plays a major role in our everyday lives, while monetary history teaches us the importance of having a stable currency. Mr Beermann made a point of mentioning that the Deutsche Mark was not the only currency celebrating its 70th anniversary this year – the GDR’s East Mark was likewise introduced back in 1948. Matthias Hass, Saxony’s State Minister of Finance, used his opening address to note that although Germany’s money has gone through significant changes over the past seven decades, it has endured as an anchor of stability.
Intra-German monetary union preceded reunification
One particular highlight in recent currency history was the reunification of Germany, which was preceded by monetary union. Mr Beermann explained how the call for freedom in the GDR also encompassed the symbolic importance of the Deutsche Mark, quoting a banner with the slogan "If the Deutsche Mark comes, we’ll stay; if it doesn’t, we’ll go to it". And come the Deutsche Mark mostly certainly did – in the shape of 460 tonnes of banknotes (equating to 440 million notes) and 750 tonnes of coins (102 million in number).
Mr Beermann’s remarks also touched upon events in the early days of the Deutsche Mark, such as the "shop-window effect" and Germany’s famous "Wirtschaftswunder" (economic miracle). His grandparents, he said, who had experienced the 1948 currency reform first hand, often told him stories about the shop-window effect – how goods suddenly showed up on the once-barren store shelves and they could buy everything again.
The Bundesbank has collected news stories from six decades to present at this exhibition, Mr Beermann pointed out, adding that information stands have been set up to explain how money touches our everyday lives – the points at which major events, monetary policy decisions and turning points collide with everyone’s real-world experiences.
Open at the Finance Ministry until 3 July
The exhibition in the atrium of the State Ministry of Finance (Carolaplatz 1, 01097 Dresden) runs until 3 July, and the opening hours are 9.00 to 18.00 Mondays to Fridays. It will also be open from 11.00 to 17.00 on Sunday, 10 June, which is the government district open day. Admission is free.