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After 20 Years: Happy €uro-versary


Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the biggest currency change-over in history as twelve European nations retired their national currencies and began using the first Euro coins and notes, three years after the currency's creation.

The Euro is now the currency of 19 countries with 340 million people, and despite an occasional bumpy ride, especially after the debt crises of several Euro countries a few years ago, it has become what European Bank president Christine Lagarde called "a beacon of stability and solidity around the world" and "a true symbol for the strength of Europe."

While the Euro has become a successful common currency, it has not yet led to the further goal of a united banking and capital markets system.

And, it turns out, even twenty years later not everyone has given up on their old currencies; several billion Euros worth of former currencies are out there, in drawers, under mattress, perhaps buried. But time is running out; some countries are past deadlines they set for trade-ins, and others, including Portugal are almost to their deadlines.

Image: Euro symbol projected on European Central Bank building in Brussels

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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