Fast Company

Spend: 10 Years of the Euro

A look at the national pride engraved into the 1-euro coins of 15 nations of the European Union.

When 11 E.U. nations swapped francs and lire for euros on New Year's Day 1999, traders called the new money a "toilet currency." Nope! The euro -- now the coin of 15 E.U. realms -- has proved so strong that Alan Greenspan said it could become the world's main reserve currency. Not that all national identity was lost: Each country customizes one side of euro coinage. here are the 1-euro coins of the original eurozone.

AUSTRIA
Mozart was born and reared in Salzburg.

BELGIUM
Albert II has been king of the Belgians since 1993.

FINLAND
The national bird of Finland is the whooper swan.

FRANCE
The French chose the motto "liberté, égalité, fraternité."

GERMANY
The eagle is an ancient symbol of the German state.

IRELAND
The harp has been an Irish icon since medieval times.

ITALY
Da Vinci used his Vitruvian Man to map proportion.

LUXEMBOURG
Henri rules the world's last grand duchy.

NETHERLANDS
Queen Beatrix succeeded her mother in 1980.

PORTUGAL
Portugal's first king used this royal seal in 1144.

SPAIN
King Juan Carlos was Franco's chosen successor.

Photographs courtesy of European Commission

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