When the Swiss National Bank announced the design for the
100-franc note that will come out in four years, it came as a big
surprise to some for whom it matters most. The bank decided that one
of the central elements will be the Bisse d’Ayant, one of the largest irrigation
canals in the southern canton of Valais.
The Bisse was built in 1442 and still supplies the area with
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The surprise was for the local government and citizens of Ayent.
They had no idea. According to multiple reports in the Swiss media
after the announcement, when the National Bank was contemplating the
design, they approached the town to sign a confidentiality agreement.
The town’s representatives did so, but could only speculate on the
reason. When the decision was announced July 21, the president of
Ayent, Aymon Marco, said it was like “winning the lottery without
A spokesperson for the bank said that the landscape offered by the
Bisse of Ayent, with its wood and the rock wall on which it hangs,
perfectly matched the theme “water and humanitarian tradition” chosen
by the Swiss bank for the note. In addition to the wood structure of
the Bisses, elements on the blue 70- by 144-millimeter note will
include an open hand, and a globe.
The theme of the 50-franc note introduced a few months ago was the
wind. Other denominations will focus on time, light, matter, and language.