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Cash is the term for the banknotes and coins in your wallet. De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) ensures that you have clean, undamaged and genuine notes and coins. For example, we issue new notes and check used ones so that you can rely on the money you pay with. We are also closely involved in the design of new banknotes.

Design of euro banknotes and coins

In the euro area we use seven different banknotes and eight different euro coins. We develop them together with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the other central banks in the euro area. We have 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro notes. Each denomination has its own distinctive size, colour and design. The European Commission and the euro area countries jointly design the euro coins. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, and of 1 and 2 euro. Each coin has one common European and one national side. On the national side of Dutch euro coins is a picture of Queen Beatrix or King Willem-Alexander.

Read more about the design of the banknotes on the ECB's website

Production of new banknotes

Euro banknotes are high-quality, high-tech products designed to prevent counterfeiting. They are produced from cotton, making them a lot firmer than paper. We only use sustainable cotton  for the banknotes. First, we produce sheets of cotton with a watermark, security thread and foil. When the sheets are ready, the printing process starts, which involves various printing techniques and ink types. Next, we cut the sheets into notes and deliver them to the central banks. By selling them to commercial banks, we put the banknotes into circulation. Coins are minted, for instance by the Royal Dutch Mint.

Checking notes and coins

Used banknotes regularly return to DNB for verification. With sorting machines, we check whether they are clean, undamaged and genuine. Rejected banknotes are immediately shredded. Any counterfeits are sent to our own National Analysis Centre for further analysis. We re-issue the good ones. This way, we ensure that the quality of the banknotes remains high. Coins also come back to DNB and we re-issue them if good.

Do you have a damaged banknote or coin? In specific cases you can ask for reimbursement.

Exchange and reimbursement for your damaged banknotes and coins

Checked money from the ATM

Banks and other cash handlers also check banknotes they receive from their customers. They use special sorting machines for this. The central banks in the euro area test these machines each year. The owners must comply with the rules of the ECB. Each euro banknote you withdraw from an ATM has first been carefully checked.

Read more about how the (cash) payment system works

Fight against counterfeit money

Security features protect euro banknotes well against counterfeiting. Examples include the watermark and hologram. As a result, the chance that you receive a counterfeit note is very small: only 2 out of every 100,000 banknotes that we and the Dutch banks annually check for authenticity prove to be counterfeits. In 2019, a total of 38,900 counterfeit euro banknotes were intercepted in the Netherlands. We analyse and register them in our National Analysis Centre. The same applies to coins. We share this information with the police and Europol in order to combat the production and issue of counterfeit money.

Do you suspect you have a counterfeit? Check it!

You can check whether a banknote is genuine or counterfeit. For example, check the watermark and hologram with the ‘feel-look-tilt’ method. To make checking even easier, shopkeepers can use detection devices, and we have developed a ”genuine or counterfeit” app for everyone to use. 

What should I do if I have received counterfeit money?

Do you suspect a banknote to be counterfeit? Do not accept it. If you already have, at least do not spend it, because that is punishable by law. You can go to the police if you remember where you got it. If you do not, contact your bank. You can also submit it to DNB, but you will first have to make an appointment and fill out the form. If it turns out that the money is not counterfeit after all, you will, of course, get the equivalent back.

The Eurosystem cash strategy

Euro banknotes and coins are the only legal tender in the euro area, and cash is the only form of public money that is directly accessible to all citizens, thereby ensuring autonomy, privacy and social inclusion. The ECB and the national central banks – also known as the Eurosystem – have a fundamental responsibility to ensure the smooth supply of cash and facilitate the use of cash in payments by citizens and businesses.

Read more of the Eurosystem cash strategy on the ECB website.