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22 January 2021 GeneralPress release

The number of counterfeit euro banknotes in the Netherlands declined in 2020. A total of 25,500 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation. That is some 34% less than in 2019. The decline started in the second quarter of 2020, at the same time as the decreasing use of cash at the counter due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

There has also been a decline in the number of counterfeit euro banknotes worldwide. The ECB press release shows that 460,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were detected in 2020, a decrease of 18% compared to 2019. Compared to the 25 billion genuine euro banknotes in circulation, the likelihood of receiving a counterfeit note is small.

The most counterfeited banknote in the Netherlands is the €50 note (56%), followed by the €20 note (18%). Incidentally, there is an increasing number of counterfeit euro banknotes of poor quality. These counterfeit notes are easy to recognise because they lack the security features or only mimic them to a very limited extent. The security features of euro banknotes can be easily distinguished from counterfeit ones using the FEEL, LOOK and TILT method. Also, retailers increasingly check euro banknotes using detection devices certified by the European Central Bank. You can find more information on checking banknotes on our website. Careful checks ensure that suspect banknotes are promptly detected, preventing criminals from paying with counterfeits.

For more information, please contact Tobias Oudejans at +31 20 524 3100 or +31 6 524 961.

Table 1: Counterfeit euro banknotes recovered from circulation

 

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

 

Netherlands

66,500

47,200

43,200

38,900

38,900

25,500

 

Total*

899,000

684,000

694,000

563,000

559,000

460,000

 

Total* refers to counterfeit euro banknotes detected inside and outside the euro area. 

 

Table 2: Breakdown of counterfeits by denomination in 2020, as percentages of all recovered counterfeits

 

EUR 5

EUR 10

EUR 20

EUR 50

EUR100

EUR 200

EUR 500

Netherlands

1

10

18

56

6

7

3

Euro area

2

16

36

31

10

3

1