On Jan. 1, 2002, 300 million people in 12 European countries ditched their old coins and bills and switched to the euro. This weblog kept track of the quirky human side of this gloriously epic yet tediously mundane transition, with correspondents in ten countries sharing their experiences.
Your hosts were David F. Gallagher, an American journalist living and working in Milan, Italy, and Joyce-Ann Gatsoulis, an American journalist living and working in Athens, Greece.
Andreas Purkott is a German graphic designer living and working near Heidelberg, Germany.
Graham Spencer, a.k.a. Graybo, runs a small nursery and event management business in Chichester, England, where he also lives.
Sue Kane, a.k.a. pseudo morph, is an American who has lived in the Dutch province of Brabant for 18 years.
Virtual Gotcha! 2 is a spectacular, interactive 3D computer game. The setting is today: the time of the introduction of the euro. A group of disillusioned old-age-pensioners are preparing a full-blown battle against the European Central Bank. Their ultimate goal, besides the annihilation of the euro, is to end the never-ending Europeanization which totally undermines their good old values.
Because the Dutch and Belgian euro coins make up only a small percentage of all euro coins, it is expected that eventually the 'foreign' euro coins will replace the 'domestic' euro coins for a large part. Interesting questions are: How quickly will the 'foreign' coins replace the Dutch ones? How many French coins will we find in our wallets after a year? How many Finnish? Is there a statistically significant balance in the distrubution of the coins?
The site includes charts showing the results of the last three days of coin checking in both the Belgian wallet as well as the Dutch wallet.
No news is good news.
The Austrian schilling is gone. The last time I saw it was in early January. A lot of prices went up. Supermarkets claim to have lowered or maintained their old prices, but that is only true for a few selected items. Some shops even had the nerve to convert prices like 29 schillings (2,11 euros) to 2,9 euros! They just painted the comma between the 2 and the 9.
So far I have only found one Italian 2 euro coin and one German 2 euro coin in my change. But yesterday I received one german 2 euro and one Spanish 5 cent -- both in one day! I think the different coins make the euro a truly unique currency and I like it. Even though it won't help a bit to learn how to tell the 1, 2, 5 and 10, 20 apart.
Did you know that the 2 euro coin not only has country-specific sides but also country-specific words on the edge?