The decision in Germany regarding the design of the reverse sides was made at the beginning of July 1997. In line with the decision made at European level, a jury comprising representatives of various ministries, mint directors, sculptors, historians and museum directors agreed to separate the coins into the following three groups.
- €1 and €2
- 10, 20 and 50 cents
- 1, 2 and 5 cents
It was decided that each group would have a common motif. With regard to the content, the jury selected symbols which, in their own way, would all be recognised as typically German by Germans and non-Germans alike. The following motifs were thus suggested:
- The eagle, a traditional German national emblem, was suggested for the €1 and €2 coins
- The symbolic Brandenburg Gate was suggested for the coin denominations 10, 20 and 50 cents
- An oak twig was suggested for the dominations 1,2 and 5 cents because it was reminiscent of the earlier pfennig coins.
The Federal Government approved this proposal in its decision dated 17 September 1997. The reverse sides of the German euro coins were designed by Sneschana Russewa-Hoyer and Heinz Hoyer (the German eagle), Reinhart Heinsdorff (the Brandenburg Gate) and Professor Rolf Lederbogen (the oak twig).
The common front side of the euro coins was modified in 2007 in accordance with a decision made by the European Council to reflect the accession of additional countries to the euro area.