Norway’s Arty New Bills Make Cash King Once Again

Norway's new 100 kr banknote Photo: Norges Bank via Dezeen
Norway's new 100 kr banknote Photo: Norges Bank via Dezeen

Norway’s new 100 kroner banknote
Photo: Norges Bank via Dezeen

The US and Britain ditched dollar bills and five pound notes for plastic long-ago. But in Europe, cash remains king—and Norway has devised an arty new scheme to keep it that way.  Norges Bank, the country’s central bank, has selected what’s likely the world’s most art-savvy design for the country’s currency revamp, the New York Times reports.

Norway remains one of the few European countries not in the Euro zone. So officials at Norges Bank decided to go all out and let eight trendy Scandinavian design studios have a go at designing the new kroner, based around the theme of “The Sea.” It’s an appropriate motif for a country whose Viking heritage still runs deep and where 2.7 percent of total exports consist of fresh fish.

According to ABCa panel of five external professionals and one central bank official selected the proposals submitted by Oslo studios Snøhetta and Metric System. Snøhetta’s design features landmarks from Norway’s coastline, which have been pixellated to create blocks of colored patterns and shades covering one side of the new currency. Metric System’s illustrations of old and new sailing vessels and seascapes will cover the other side. The design gives the notes “both a traditional and a modern look.”

A translated statement from Norges Bank said: “The purpose of the contest was to come up with a proposal that can be a starting point for the artistic design of the new banknote series. The expression is open, bright, and typically Nordic.” A fitting result for a country which produced the likes of Edvard Munch.

Norges Bank is working with the design studios to integrate security elements to prevent counterfeiting before the notes are scheduled to release in 2017.


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