New 20-euro banknote in circulation

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The new 20-euro banknote, with extra features to prevent counterfeiting, goes into circulation across the euro zone of the European Union.

The European Central Bank (ECB), which released the design in February, is gradually phasing in new banknotes to replace those circulated since the Jan 2002 start of the euro as a physical currency. The new series started with a five-euro banknote released in May 2013 and continued with 10-euro notes released in Sep 2014. The new note has a portrait window to make it more difficult to forge. When the banknote is held against the light, the window becomes transparent and reveals a portrait of the mythological figure Europa, who is visible on both sides of the note. The ECB explains that the nine-month gap between the unveiling and circulation is to give affected parties, such as cash handlers, time to prepare. The 20-euro note is to be followed by new versions of the 50-euro, 100-euro, 200-euro and 500-euro notes. There are some 17.5 billion euro banknotes in circulation in total, with a value of 1 trillion euros, according to the ECB, which reports that it will have printed more than 4.3 billion 20-euro banknotes by the time of the November launch. Some 338 million citizens of the euro zone use the currency.

Unveiling of the new €20 banknote (Europa 24 Feb 2015)

Date written/update: 2015-05-19