Aruba wins ‘Banknote of the Year’

A 100-florin banknote issued by the Central Bank of Aruba (CBA) last year has earned the top honour – the Bank Note of the Year Award – from the International Bank Note Society (IBNS).

While more than 100 new banknotes were issued worldwide in 2019, only 22 were nominated by members of the IBNS, which began the annual competition in 2004.

This year, Aruba’s 100-florin note took an early lead over the Eastern Caribbean States’ $10 bill; Northern Ireland Ulster Bank’s £5 bill; and Switzerland’s 1000-franc bill, all of which were in “an almost virtual tie,” the IBNS said in a statement. Norway’s 1000-kroner note rounded out the top five. Every one of the 22 nominated notes received at least “some votes,” the IBNS added.

“This ‘Stars of Aruba’ series was introduced to the small Caribbean Island’s 120,000 residents with both humour, public interaction and a mobile application ‘Aruba su florin.’ The goal was a complete banknote series redesign, the first in almost 30 years. The result is quite astonishing, including a new vertical format, beautiful artistic elements from Aruban culture, flora and fauna” and even a new 200-florin denomination, which replaced the old 500-florin.

Security features on the Aruban banknote include high-relief printing, colour-changing ink and a 3D “Motion Surface” effect, which uses miniaturized micro-optics to present a moving stripe, from its U.S.-based printer Crane Currency.

“The unique designs are truly eye-catching and effectively balance the challenge of anti-counterfeit technology with production costs,” adds the IBNS statement. “Local schools and citizens were all engaged in this national currency transition.”

The first note from the Bank of Canada’s as-of-yet-unnamed eighth series won the 2018 Banknote of the Year Award last year.


The face of the emerald green note features an iguana while the back depicts dancing women and ribbons – both in blue – with the same emerald green colour used for the background design and motifs.

It was one of five new Aruban florin banknotes issued last June 3 “after years of intensive preparations and close cooperation with various local stakeholders, including the commercial banks, as well as international suppliers of banknote paper, security features, and equipment,” the CBA said in a statement this April.

The 100-florin note measures 148 millimetres by 74 millimetres—slightly shorter in width but taller in height than the Bank of Canada’s Frontier Series notes, which measure 152.4 millimetres by 69.85 millimetres.

As of April 16, 2020, the exchange value of 100 Aruban florins is $78.26 Cdn.

“It is very clear that we have managed to create a beautiful family of banknotes,” said CBA President Jane Semeleer this April. “We have one of the most innovative and modern banknote series in the world. And we’re very proud that our vision – to make Arubans proud of their country and to show the world the rich life of Aruba – has led to an award-winning 100 florin banknote.”

It was Aruba’s first time competing in the IBNS competition.

Last year, the Bank of Canada’s latest $10 note – a vertically oriented bill featuring Nova Scotia businesswoman turned civil rights activist Viola Desmond – received the 2018 Bank Note of the Year Award.

Nominations for the 2020 Banknote of the Year are now being accepted by the IBNS. Nominees will be announced via the IBNS website soon.

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