One of the most common criticisms of the euro paper currency’s design
since their premiere in 2002 has been that the bank notes do not
depict actual bridges but are artistic fictions representing periods
in Europe’s cultural history. The reason for disregarding landmarks
such as the Pont Neuf in Paris, Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, the Segovia
Aqueduct, and the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon was that, with 19
countries but only seven denominations, omitted member states could
Therefore, the original designer, Robert Kalina, opted for “state
neutral” bank notes.
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Unbeknownst to most and proving that life can imitate art, the seven
bridges have existed in reality since 2013, standing in a row in the
Rotterdam suburb of Spijkenisse. There, Dutch cyclists and pedestrians
are able to use them toll-free.
The “Bruggen van Europa” (Bridges of Europe) are the creation of Dutch
designer Robin Stam, who told the architecture and design magazine
Dezeen, “The European Bank didn’t want to use real bridges so I
thought it would be funny to claim the bridges and make them real.”
Connecting coins, the arts, and American
Another column in the August 7 monthly issue of Coin World
continues with the art theme, as the artists who’ve designed our
most gorgeous pieces of paper currency are profiled.
Stam chose a new housing project called “Het Land” in the
Spijkenisse urban development zone. After modeling each of the bridges
after its related bank note, he poured concrete, dyed to match the
color of its bank note, into wood molds corresponding to the exact
design of the bill.
Stam says that the European Central Bank even gave his project a
letter of approval.
The seven notes, €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500, represent
classical antiquity, the Romans, the Gothic period, the Renaissance,
Baroque and Rococo, iron and glass architecture, and contemporary 20th