On Nov. 22-27 at Vippetangen, Oslo, the bank publicly displayed its forthcoming banknote series for the first time. The first denominations are slated to enter circulation next summer.
In recent years, several of Norway’s neighbouring countries have issued new secure banknotes. While only a “very small proportion” of the country’s notes are counterfeit, the bank’s representatives warned if Norway falls behind in terms of security, there would be a risk of developing a counterfeiting problem.
“As the central bank, Norges Bank bears the responsibility for ensuring that the security level of Norwegian banknotes is sufficiently high at all times. Norges Bank has therefore produced a new banknote series that is more secure than ever before,” said bank governor Øystein Olsen.
For the first time in its history, Norway is issuing banknotes without portraits as part of their design; instead, the forthcoming banknotes will reflect a common theme, “The Sea.”
Norway is a small country but a major maritime and coastal nation.
“Our coastline is the longest in Europe, and the seas within our maritime borders are seven times larger than the country’s land territory,” reads the Norges Bank website. “The topography is varied, with fjords that cut deep into the mainland, and an outer coast that varies between exposed stretches of open sea and the more sheltered waters of the archipelago.”
According to the central bank, Norway’s “long, gnarled coastline has shaped the identity of Norwegians individually and as a nation. The use of marine resources, combined with the use of the sea as a transport artery, has been crucial to the development of Norwegian society.”
The bank also notes Norway was named after this coastal waterway – Norvegr, Norwegen, Norway – that’s also known as “the northward route.”
CHOOSING A THEME
Choosing the theme of “The Sea” began in the first quarter of 2013.
“The process has been extensive and exciting, with a wide range of ideas from a number of contributors,” reads the website. “Ten persons from various professions were invited to a brainstorming session to generate ideas for a main theme.”
With one theme binding all the banknotes’ motifs together, the forthcoming issue will tell a coherent story.
“‘The sea’s importance for Norway’s business sector and economic prosperity’ is the story of a key element in the Norwegian economy, our history and national identity,” reads the website.
A traditional, iconic design is depicted on the notes’ front side with a different maritime motif for each denomination based on proposals from Metric Design and Terje Tønnessen. The modern, pixellated patterns on the back are built around a grid system based on the Beaufort wind force scale, developed from Snøhetta’s proposal.
“Norges Bank’s banknotes and coins are the community’s money, money we share, and for which we collectively act as guarantor. It is natural that they should tell a story that reflects us as a community of people, and the sea and our coastline are key dimensions in that story. And I hope that the new banknotes will act as an excellent business card for our country,” added Olsen.
The bank is aiming to put the new 100-krone and 200-krone notes into circulation on May 30, 2017. The other denominations will be launched in 2018 and 2019.