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The redesign process

In December 2021 we announced our plans to redesign euro banknotes, which are part of the process for developing new ones. We want to ensure banknotes remain available and accessible and continue to be a secure and efficient means of payment. 

We also want the banknotes to be as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible. This is why we are looking at their environmental footprint to identify opportunities to reduce their environmental impact via new products and processes. The process is also an opportunity to make banknotes more inclusive for all Europeans.

The Governing Council will decide on a new theme and new designs. It will take into account opinions voiced by the public in surveys and advice from expert groups.

There are two major milestones in the process:

  1. selecting possible future themes;
  2. the design phase including the selection of possible motifs and a design contest

We will continue to involve the public and relevant experts. Our aim is to ensure the theme and designs selected are relatable for all Europeans.

Main steps in the redesign process

Selecting a theme for our future banknotes

On 29 November, the ECB’s Governing Council decided to move to the next phase of the redesign process for euro banknotes with two themes: “European culture” and “Rivers and birds”. To reflect the public’s preferences as broadly as possible, the shortlisted themes “Rivers: the waters of life in Europe” and “Birds: free, resilient, inspiring” were combined into a single, nature-related theme that feeds into broader topics such as the environment and sustainability.

It is very important to us that the decisions taken throughout the process reflect the opinions of the European public. The selected themes were those that were most preferred in both the ECB’s online survey and the survey conducted by an external research company.

Possible themes for future euro banknotes

European culture

Europe’s rich cultural heritage and dynamic cultural and creative sectors strengthen the European identity, forging a shared sense of belonging. 

Culture promotes common values, inclusion and dialogue in Europe and across the globe. It brings people together.

Rivers and birds

Rivers and birds recognise no borders, symbolising freedom and unity amongst Europeans and our connection to nature. 

Europe boasts a wide variety of rivers and birds that inspire us and remind us of our responsibility to protect the environment.

Listening to Europeans

Since the start of the redesign process, we have consulted the European public twice. 

Between December 2021 and March 2022 we asked people in all the euro area countries to tell us their opinions on possible themes for future euro banknotes.

Take a look at what was said in the qualitative study on new themes for euro banknotes.

Full report Executive summary

Between July and August 2023 we carried out an online survey asking people to tell us which of the seven shortlisted themes they preferred, to which more than 365,000 Europeans responded. To ensure a representative sample, we also asked an independent research company to conduct a similar multi-country survey in parallel with the online survey.

Read the report and find out more about the survey results.

Full report Executive Summary

Consulting the experts

At the end of 2021 we established the Theme Advisory Group, an independent, multidisciplinary, and diverse group of experts from all over the euro area, to give advice on possible new themes for future banknotes. Based on the input collected in the qualitative study, the group proposed a shortlist of themes. 

The ECB’s Governing Council then carefully considered whether the shortlisted themes are relatable to Europeans and represent European life and values, and decided to add a seventh theme, “European culture”.

The seven shortlisted themes are listed below (in no particular order of preference). The descriptions of these themes can be found in the press release of 10 July 2023.

  • “Birds: free, resilient, inspiring”
  • “European culture”
  • “European values mirrored in nature”
  • “The future is yours” 
  • “Hands: together we build Europe”
  • “Our Europe, ourselves”
  • “Rivers: the waters of life in Europe” 

Find out more about the work of the 
Theme Advisory Group

An expert group, the Motifs Advisory Group has been established to support the ECB by proposing motifs based on the selected themes to the Governing Council. The members of the Group represent different areas of expertise related to the two themes.

Members of the Motifs Advisory Group

After selecting “European culture” and “Rivers and birds” as the possible themes for future euro banknotes, we will now select the motifs that best illustrate these themes.

Following this, work will start on preparing a design competition. More information on the design phase and competition will be published on our official channels. The Governing Council is expected to decide on the future designs in 2026.

Once the designs have been selected, the Governing Council will decide when to produce and issue new euro banknotes. After that, it will still take some years before the first banknotes can be produced and eventually end up in our pockets.


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