Slovenia has adopted the euro  Share

Slovenia has officially adopted the euro on January 1st, 2007. Therefore it has become, together with its two million inhabitants, the 13th, European Member State among the 27 to use the euro.

2 euro

2 euro

Slovenia had joined the European Union in May, 2004. In January 2007, it was the only one of the ten new Member States to fulfil the convergence criteria (such as sound public finances, a stable exchange rate, low and stable long-term interest rates as well as a high degree of price stability) required to join the Euro area. Lithuania, also a candidate, was indeed denied access due to an excessive inflation rate.

Apart from being a political success, 15, years after the independence of this former republic of Yugoslavia, the changeover to the Euro was also an achievement on a practical level, the Bank Association of Slovenia emphasized. “I am really happy and proud that Slovenia has achieved this” the Minister of Finance, Andrej Najuk, declared after he had withdrawn the first Slovenian euros at a cash machine in Ljubljana centre.

One hundred cash machines were filled just in time with the first euro banknotes at midnight December, 31st, substituting tolars at the rate of 239.64, tolars for one euro. The two currencies were used together until January, 15th, when the euro officially became the only currency of the country.

The tolar had been created in 1991 to mark the independence of the new Slovenian Republic after years of strict control of its economy by Belgrade during the communist Yugoslavian period. “The Tolar left us good memories but we are convinced to enter a new era with a currency that will be as good or even better than the previous one” reminded the Governor of the Bank of Slovenia, Mitja Gaspari, who from now on has a seat among his colleagues of the twelve other countries of the Eurosystem in the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

Therefore Slovenia, by joining the Euro area, has become the first former communist country to use coins and notes from the single European currency. But do you know who or what is represented on the national side of those coins?

France Prešeren

France Prešeren

The 2 € coins pay a tribute to France Prešeren. He lived from 1800 to 1848. This remarkable man was a poet mainly recognised to be the best representative of Slovenian romanticism. The first line of the seventh stanza of his poem Zdravljica is also represented on this coin as it had become the symbol of the Slovenian national anthem since 1991.

Primož Trubar

Primož Trubar

Primož Trubar (1508-1586), protestant reformer, founder of the first Slovenian alphabet and author of the first book printed in Slovenian (in 1550) is represented on the 1 € coin. Thanks to his work, Slovenia is part of the European cultural area.

Triglav

Triglav

Mount Triglav, the constellation of Cancer (the zodiac sign under which Slovenia became independent) and the inscription “Oj Triglav moj dom” (O Triglav my home) are represented on the coin of 50, cent. Mount Triglav is the top of the Julian Alps and has always been a symbol of Slovenian identity.

Cathedral of Liberty

Cathedral of Liberty

Two Lipizzaner are represented on the coin of 20 cent while 10 cent shows the Cathedral of Liberty (Katedrala svobode), which was an unrealized project of the architect Jože Plečnik for the Slovenian parliament. It represents the vision of an independent Slovenian state.

sower

sower

The coin of 5 cent shows us a sower, a motif which is frequently used by numerous painters. The only difference with this classical motif is the sowing of stars instead of corn. The 12 stars represented on the edge of the coin, are completed with 13, other stars, in order to achieve the number 25, symbolising the 25, countries of the European Union the moment Slovenia joined the Euro area (Bulgaria and Romania entered the Europenian Union in January, 2007).

The Prince’s stone, symbol of the Duke of Carinthia, on the coin of 2, cent, represents the capital of a roman column on which the arms of the Duke of Carinthia are engraved. Finally, the coin of 1 cent represents a stork, a pattern borrowed from the old 20 tolar coin, which symbolises hope, fertility and a long life.

slov7

2007 brings us a new 16th series of euro coins (those of San Marino, Vatican and Monaco included). But there is also another novelty. From now on, the circulating euro coins will also be decorated with a new common side. Those coins were in fact issued for the first time on January 1, 2002. At the time the European Union counted only 15, countries. Today it embraces 27, countries. Now, the main pattern of the common side of the Euro coins (except for the 1, 2 and 5, cents) is the map of the European Union. The European authorities have therefore decided in June 2005 to adapt this drawing to the extension towards the East, so as to represent all the Member States in the future. The common side of the smallest coins (1, 2 and 5 cents) represent Europe in the world and therefore don’t need to be adapted. From now on, Member States that will adopt the euro after 2007 will only issue coins in euro presenting the new common sides. The Republic of Slovenia is thus the first of the new Member States to do so.

Coralie Boeykens
 Museum guide

Sources:

  • Website of the National Bank of Belgium: www.nbb.be
  • Official Journal of the European Union, 2006.09.19, C 225/7
  • “La Slovénie passe à l’euro”, in Le Soir en ligne, Brussels, 2006.