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The Lighthouse f 250 model (1986)

Published: 19 April 2023

Vuurtoren f 250 (1986)

‘Cheerfulness, respectability and dignity’, that’s what the new f 250 note from designer R.D.E. (‘Ootje’ - pronounced ‘Oh-chuh’) Oxenaar was intended to exude. The lighthouse, which was inspired by the one at Haamstede in Zeeland, was a recognisable and identifiable Dutch symbol that perfectly met these DNB requirements. Thanks to the transverse placement of the lighthouse, the design broke with conventions and invited interaction, as the user had to turn the note and view it in ‘upright’ position. A magnifying glass would also come in handy, as is shown by a special detail: a legible poem in letters only 0.2 mm tall. Here’s what it says in translation:

The waves crash in a furious dance,

Clouds storm past the sun

And break on the horizon,

The lighthouse stands in the sloshing waters,

Proud of its solitude, its rock,

As if the heavy steel battlement

Could not arch without it

Gedicht in letters met een hoogte van 0,2 mm.

The poem consists of 40 words (in the original Dutch) and was mainly intended as a security feature. Making banknotes that were hard to counterfeit had high priority for DNB even then. The designer met this challenge creatively. For instance, the watermark – a dune rabbit – fits the theme seamlessly. The adorable creature was actually modelled on Oxenaar’s pet rabbit Nikkie.

The banknote’s denomination was also innovative in its own right. In fact, it was the only 250-guilder note ever issued. With the Lighthouse, DNB was responding to a need for notes with a value between 100 and 1,000 guilders. Thanks to rising prosperity, f 100 notes made up almost half of the banknotes in circulation at the time. The Lighthouse was almost immediately popular with the public, both for its practical value and its design. It is part of the huisje-boompje-beestje (house-tree-animal) series: a series of banknotes that had to have an recognisable and easily identifiable appearance – something that the Lighthouse certainly succeeded at. 


The f 250 note circulated from 7 January 1986 to 1 January 2002. It was signed by DNB president Duisenberg. Until 1 January 2032, this note can still be redeemed at our Cash Desk 

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