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Understanding the Euro

Understanding the Euro

  • By Mary A
  • Travel Tips

The Euro is Europe’s common currency since 2002. The Euro was created to ease commerce and traveling across the continent. There are 23 countries where the Euro took over local currencies including Germany, France, Finland, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Ireland, and Spain. Three major economies in the EU didn’t transit over to the Euro, and they are Sweden, Great Britain, and Denmark. Several countries that entered the Union recently still use their own currencies such as Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Latvia.

Like many other currencies, the Euro comes printed on bills and coins, and is divided in 100 cents. The bills have denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. The coins have denominations for 1 and 2 euros, and for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 Euro cents. It is interesting to note that while the bills look the same no matter the country, the coins do not. The face of the coins is the same, but each country has a different design on the back of their Euro coins. The design on the back somehow represents the country by having printed either their reigning monarchs’ faces or various national symbols and landmarks. As a tourist from outside of the Eurozone don’t be scared to use one country’s Euro coins in a different country because they are interchangeable.

The Euro is a stronger currency than the US Dollar as 1 Euro equals about $1.3 and $1 equals about .73 Euro cents.  Exchanging your Dollars for Euros just once for more than 20 countries is cheaper than to exchange currencies every time you enter a new country as you pay less commissions for the transaction. There is also a downside to using the same money across various countries as some of them will seem more expensive than others.