€100 and €200 banknotes in the Europa series ©Nils Thies

New €100 and €200 banknotes in circulation

The Bundesbank began issuing the new €100 and €200 banknotes on 28 May. These two large-value denominations round off the Europa series of notes. They join the new generation of €5, €10, €20 and €50 banknotes, which have already been introduced, to complete the series. The Europa series no longer features a €500 banknote.

Innovative new security features

Both the €100 and €200 banknotes incorporate two new and innovative security features: the satellite hologram at the top of the silvery stripe shows small € symbols that move around the number like satellites. The euro symbols become clearer under direct light. The emerald number has also been reworked: if the banknote is tilted, the shiny number in the bottom left-hand corner still displays an effect of light that moves up and down, changing colour from emerald green to deep blue. On the new banknotes, the numerals now also feature € symbols. “These two security features make it even more difficult to counterfeit the new €100 and €200 banknotes,” says Johannes Beermann, the Bundesbank’s Executive Board member responsible for cash management.

Size adapted to €50 note

Moreover, the new notes are 5 mm narrower than in the past, bringing their height into line with that of the €50 banknote. These new notes will thus necessitate more adjustments to the banknote processing systems than other denominations. However, Mr Beermann explained that the manufacturers of ATMs and/or teller cash dispensers have been able to test the new notes on their equipment for the past nine months, meaning technical migration should run smoothly. As with all banknotes of the Europa series, the new €100 and €200 notes have a portrait hologram and a watermark of Europa’s portrait.

Old banknotes remain legal tender

For a time, banknotes from both series will circulate side by side. However, the first series of euro banknotes will be gradually removed from circulation, reducing their numbers over time. The Eurosystem will announce well in advance the date when the first series of euro banknotes ceases to be legal tender. However, the old notes will not lose their value: the central banks will exchange them for new Europa series notes indefinitely.

The Europa series

The new series owes its name to Europa, a figure from Greek mythology. Her portrait can be seen, for example, in the enhanced security features: the portrait watermark and the portrait hologram. This particular image was taken from a vase displayed in the Louvre in Paris which dates back over 2,000 years and was found in southern Italy. In Greek mythology, Europa – daughter of a Phoenician king – was abducted by the Greek god Zeus, appearing as a bull, and taken to Crete. This saga inspired the ancient Greeks to use the name “Europa” as a geographical term.

Note: Denominations in the Europa series

The Governing Council of the ECB reviewed the denominational structure of the Europa series and decided on 4 May 2016 that the Europa series should not include a €500 banknote. It ruled to keep the other denominations – from €5 to €200 – in place. In view of the international importance of the euro and the widespread trust in euro banknotes, the €500 banknote of the first series will remain legal tender and can therefore continue to be used as a means of payment and store of value. As with the other denominations of euro banknotes, the €500 banknotes will not lose its value: the national central banks of the Eurosystem will exchange them indefinitely.