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Money, Money, Money – Everything about the Swiss bank notes

When many people think about Switzerland, they likely think of three things: Cheese, chocolate and banks.

And with banks - of course - we are really talking about money. This is not a surprise when in 2011, we were told that the Swiss have more assets on average than any other people on earth. A report by Credit Suisse has put the total assets in Switzerland at 3 trillion francs, or approximately 495'000 francs per person.

Protecting the value of the currency and all that wealth is the job of the Swiss National Bank, which has been buying other currencies this year like never before to fight the overvaluing of the franc.

But the Swiss will also protect their currency by simply printing more of it.

According to a report issued by the Swiss National Bank in the spring of 2011, they plan to release new bank notes in 2012 with even more security features. They are promising to maintain the current denominations and color scheme. In 2005, the SNB had an open competition for new banknote designs.


Here are the designs by the winner Manuel Krebs from Zurich and the second place design by Manuela Pfrunder, also from Zürich. Mr. Krebs' designs seem to portray a very scientific country, whereas Ms. Pfrunder's focus more on sports.

Manuel Krebs

Swiss Bank notes - Manuel Krebs

Manuela Pfrunder

Swiss Bank notes - Manuela Pfrunder

Though these designs have already been made public, the SNB has stated that the actual composition of the new bills will not be made public until shortly before their release. What they have said is that the new bills will be smaller than the current ones.

The new 2012 bills will mark the ninth change in Switzerland’s banknotes since 1907. The years 1911, 1918, 1938, 1956, 1976, 1984 and lastly 1995 saw new designs come in. According to a report in Deutsch Perfekt, the new bills (similar to the winning design) will not feature busts, but other Switzerland related pictures.

A few statistics from the Swiss National Bank: In 2010, there were banknotes at a value of 47'135'718'520 francs in circulation. The most common banknote is the 100 franc bill (25.9% of all the notes in circulation). Swiss banknotes are also considered the most secure in the world and have the most security features. The paper currency is printed by Orell Füssli Security Printing Limited.

2017 Update: Here are the final designs for Switzerland's new line of bank notes.

"The 10-franc note focuses on Switzerland’s organisational talent – expressed by time, the note’s key motif." (SNB)

Swiss 10 franc bill
"The 20-franc note focuses on Switzerland’s creativity – expressed by light, the note's key motif." (SNB)

Swiss 20 franc bill
"The 50-franc note focuses on the wealth of experiences Switzerland has to offer – expressed by the wind, the note’s key motif." (SNB)


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