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Bridges of the Euro

The bridges depicted on the Euro banknotes were fictional… until the Dutch city Spijkenisse built them all.

Spijkenisse bridge and 10 Euro note
ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons and Robert Kalina, redesign by Reinhold Gerstetter, ECB decisions ECB/2003/4 and ECB/2003/5, via Wikimedia Commons

The design of the Euro banknotes was a challenging one: how do you represent nineteen different countries in only seven different banknotes? The solution, by designer Robert Kalina, was to portray generic architectural features instead of specific places or people. On the front of the notes, windows or gates, and on the back of the notes, bridges.

These bridges were designed to reflect specific styles in European history, the common ground between the many countries in the European Union. The 10 Euro note pictured above is Romanesque; other notes feature Gothic or Classical styles for example. While some of the bridges were originally based on specific and real locations, the finished banknotes were not … but not for long.

In 2011, a new housing development in the Dutch city Spijkenisse needed some footbridges over canals. The designer, Robin Stam, thought it would be funny to build real versions of the fictional bridges. They match the bridges on the Euro banknotes – shape and colour, if not scale.

Spijkenisse bridge and 200 Euro banknote
ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons and Robert Kalina, ECB decisions ECB/2003/4 and ECB/2003/5, via Wikimedia Commons
Spijkenisse bridge and 20 Euro banknote
ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons and Robert Kalina, ECB decisions ECB/2003/4 and ECB/2003/5, via Wikimedia Commons

Categories: Economics & business Europe Places

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

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