The currency of Germany is the Euro, a multi-state currency introduced in 1999, and which fully replaced the previous national currencies in 2002. Prior to 2002 Germany used the German Mark as it’s official currency, a currency which in the later half of the 20th century was remarkably stable as German industry recovered from the effects of runaway inflation in the 1930’s and the damage caused by Allied bombing during the second world war.
The Euro is used by all 15 Eurozone countries as their official currency, although the number of countries planning to adopt the Euro will see this number increase to 25 by 2012. The symbol for the Euro is a stylized E with crosslines.
The headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) is located in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital and home to the German stock exchange although the bank also maintains offices in all member states. The Eurozone is unique in the world for the number of countries that have voluntarily abolished their own national central banks.
Euro banknotes are available in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Euros. All Euro notes feature a common design chosen in a design contest prior to the introduction of the Euro.
Euro coins are different, each Eurozone member state issues it’s own Euro coins which feature their own design on the reverse. Denominations include 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, 1, and 2. German Euro coins feature the an oak twig on the 1c, 2c, and 5c, the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin on the 10c, 20c, and 50c, and a stylized eagle on the 1 and 2.
German Euro coins are unique within the Eurozone in that year sets feature multiple versions of each coin denoted by the addition of a tiny alphabetic character, an A, D, F, G, or J making collecting German Euro coins a challenge, often meaning that 5 separate year sets need to be collected.
Germany is also active in producing commemorative 2 Euro coins which are limited edition coins that enter general circulation, although it has been noted the Germany follows a conservative approach to issuing commemorative coins, often only one or two per year.
Other commemorative coins of 10, 100 and 200 Euro denominations, and minted in a variety of grades of silver or gold are also issued for special events and whilst these are legal tender they are in practice never seen in circulation.