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Ingmar Bergman to adorn new Swedish banknote

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10:37 CEST+02:00
Sweden's Riksbank on Wednesday announced the new faces to adorn the country's currency, including a celebrated film director, a former UN secretary-general and a children's author.

Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman landed the honour of adorning the new 200 kronor note, while the hot favourite children's author Astrid Lindgren will be the new face on the 20 kronor note, replacing the popular Selma Lagerlöf.

Former United Nations secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld will feature on the 1,000 kronor note, opera singer Birgit Nilsson on the 500 kronor, film star Greta Garbo on the 100 kronor, and musician Evert Taube on the 50 kronor note.

"The General Council has chosen people who have made positive and important cultural impressions during the 1900s. We believe that the new designs reflect Swedish heritage and different parts of Sweden in a positive and representative way," said Johan Gernandt and Leif Pagrotsky, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the General Council in a statement.

The Riksbank announced that the King will remain the theme of all of Sweden's coins.

Johan Gernandt revealed that the Riksbank council has received around 600 different suggestions for possible designs for Sweden's new banknotes which will be introduced at the earliest in 2014/2015.

The criteria for the selection of the new faces of Sweden's currency were: a cultural personality active in the 20th century, popular with the people, internationally recognised and representing various parts of the country.

The announcement is the culmination of almost two year's work to decide on the design and form of the new notes and coins.

In May 2010 Sweden's Riksdag approved the Riksbank plan to introduce a new 200 kronor note and 2 kronor coin and since then speculation has been rife as to who would be given the honour of being featured.

A decision was also taken at the same time to preserve the 20 kronor note.

Gaming firms offered odds on a slew of Swedish celebrities, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, ABBA, Alfred Nobel, Björn Borg and Prince Daniel among others.

Astrid Lindgren had long been touted as the favourite for the 200 kronor note, but will instead replace the popular Selma Lagerlöf on the 20 kronor.

The faces of the various personalities will be embellished by landscape designs from their respective regions.

Dag Hammarskjöld, who served as head of the UN from 1953 until his death in 1961, is connected with Lapland in the far north of Sweden.

Birgit Nilsson, a celebrated dramatic soprano who died in 2005, was connected to Skåne in the far south of Sweden.

Ingmar Bergman, known for a vast body of work often dealing with bleakness and despair and who died in July 2007, was closely associated with the Baltic island of Gotland.

Greta Garbo was a major movie star in Hollywood's Golden Age. She died in 1990 and is buried in Stockholm, the city in which she grew up as Greta Lovisa Gustafsson.

Evert Taube is best known for his folk songs and one of Sweden's most widely respected musicians. While he grew up in Västergötland in western Sweden, he is closely associated with Bohuslän, further up the coast.

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Astrid Lindgren, best known internationally for her character Pippi Longstocking, is meanwhile closely associated with Småland in southern Sweden.

The Riksbank furthermore outlined improvements to all of Sweden's notes and coins on Monday to address environmental and security concerns and to prevent falsification.

The colour scheme of the new notes will remain the same as those currently in circulation while the sizes will be amended to a consistent height of 66 millimetres, with varying lengths.

The new coins will be considerably lighter and the 1 and 5 kronor will lose their silver colouring.

Currently the sum of Swedish coins in circulation weigh in at 13,500 tonnes and if they were all to be replaced the weight would be more than halved to 6,500 tonnes.

The new notes and coins will be introduced in 2014/2015 and will gradually replace existing currency.

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