Norway’s central bank put its new 1,000-kroner bills into circulation on Thursday, the last of the country’s new series of paper money that hails Norwegians’ long maritime heritage. The new bills depict waves as both “counterforce” and a “driving force” that can hone and carry Norwegians forward.
Instead of portraying people, Norges Bank opted several years ago to feature the sea on its new series of currency. “Norway is a small country, but a major maritime and coastal nation,” stated the bank in connection with the release of the new money that also portrays lighthouses, fish and ships.
One of the most popular new notes is the 100-kroner version that features the Gokstad Viking ship. Norwegian cod, the lighthouse at the country’s westernmost point and a classic Colin Archer rescue vessel decorate the 200-, 50 and 500-kroner notes respectively.
“We made a very important choice,” Norges Bank Governor Øystein Olsen told state broadcaster NRK. “We’ve gone from portraits of well-known people to something that’s perhaps more important for the nation, namely the sea.” He formally launched the latest new bill outside the Aquarium in Bergen.
There was some political debate surrounding the issuance of the new currency in a country that’s embraced digitalization and uses little cash. State tax officials prefer electronic payment that makes it easier for them to track transactions, while others consider cash unsafe. Bank- and credit cards dominate.
The new 1,000-kroner note, worth around USD 111 at current exchange rates, was the target of particular debate because of its relatively high denomination. Some state officials sought its elimination because of money-laundering concerns. Olsen and his staff insisted on maintaining tradition, noting that the first 1,000-kroner note was issued in 1877 and was worth more than a year’s average pay at the time.
Olsen has also firmly defended cash as legal tender in Norway, and still wants it to be routinely accepted by merchants.
The old 1000-kroner notes will remain in circulation for another year as the new ones are phased in.