TIL: Euro banknotes had fictional bridges on them in 2002, when issued. After 10 years, they were not fictional anymore.

European Central Bank first issued euro banknotes in 2002. There are seven different banknote nominations: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500.

7 banknotes, 19 eurozone states at the time. There was no way to make it fair. Choosing one landmark or person from seven countries would leave the other twelve out.

European Central Bank came up with a solution: pictures on the euro bills will represent seven different periods in European cultural history and for each period, on the reverse of each bill, there will be a bridge designed in the style of the period, but fictional, to prevent any conflict.

Architecture styles used:





Baroque & Rococo

The age of iron and glass

Modern architecture (20th century)

International crisis avoided, and all was well for about ten years. After ten years, the bridges were not fictional anymore.

Dutch architect Robin Stam recreated all seven of them around Het Land, a new housing project in Spijkenisse, a small city (population about 72,000) in the Netherlands.

All the bridges were scaled-down, but all of them real. You can cycle or walk on all of them.

Each bridge was modeled as close as possible after the corresponding banknote. They were built by pouring concrete into modeled wooden moulds, chiseled to look like the banknote version, and painted in a corresponding color.

European Central Bank knew nothing about the project at first, but in the end, they liked it and even gave it a letter of approval.

The bridges even have signs that mark the best location for taking a picture to best resemble the perspective of the bridge from the banknote.

European Union has a few options available now:

  • Recall all the euro bills with the Dutch bridges.
  • Issue the new bills with bridges that are impossible to build (levitating maybe?)
  • Sponsor the same bridges for all the other eurozone countries.
  • Give up and move the monetary system to cryptocurrencies (Eurocoin? Euroreum? Bridgecoin?)