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Organisation: Sigmund Freud University
Name: Stefan Hampl
E-Mail: stefan.hampl@sfu.ac.at
Category: Research

Name of Project: FACE Lifting

Description of Project: When the Euro was introduced in 2002, it was considered the European Union’s most chilling political and financial experiment. Around the world many experts were in doubt about the future acceptance and stability of the EU’s single currency. These uncertainties are clearly visible in the original design of the Euro banknotes by Robert Kalina: their visual style needed to be humble and unobtrusive. Unlike traditional paper money, the Euro banknotes were devoid of any references to important people, institutions, works of art etc. It was critical to the Euro’s success that the banknotes would not stir up emotions: Within the European Union no country should feel favored or left out by the Euro’s design, on a global scale no-one wanted to risk the young EU currency being ridiculed or disrespected by other nations. Roughly a decade later the Euro had proven itself a hard currency with billions of banknotes circulating globally. Due to the Euro’s success it was adopted by 5 more EU member states (2020 totaling 19 Euro countries) and had become the world’s strongest competitor of the US-Dollar. Hence it was time for the EU to express its improved self-confidence by a bolder banknote design. With the advancements in technology, it was certainly necessary to add new security features like semi-transparent materials, holographic threads or shiny emerald print. However, the primary reason behind a revamped Euro banknote design, was declaring the EU the leading power of Europe. But how to do it subtly, without intimidating other stakeholders on the European continent like the Council of Europe, OECD, NATO, etc.?

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