Switzerland introduces new 20-franc banknote

calendar iconMay 18, 2017


Following the release of the 50-franc banknote in 2016, the Swiss National Bank introduced the new 20-franc banknote into circulation on Wednesday, 17th May 2017. The banknotes flaunt innovation in both their design and 15 security features - the 50 even received the 'Banknote Design of the Year' award - promising an impressive ode to Switzerland's history as well as its future.

The artist, Manuela Pfrundera Swiss graphic designer, produced the mesmerising collection having been inspired by 'The Many Facets of Switzerland'. Each note captures a national characteristic; The 50-franc note in its groovy green glory features a globe, a hand, a paraglider and multiple wind motifs collectively representing the nation's 'wealth of knowledge'. 

"The inspiration behind the new banknote series is the many facets of Switzerland."
"Swiss National Bank

The 20-franc banknote, sharing the hand and globe symbolism, is instead riddled with light motifs and emblazoned with butterflies on one side and the Swiss flag on the other, successfully portraying the idea of creativity. This rich red note is the second and latest to reach its users. 

The verticle notes are not just artistically complex, they are also of the most secure as they are protected with a 'unique combination of complex security features and sophisticated design, [that make them] 'difficult to counterfeit.

Of these features, the Swiss National Bank uses 'innovative, three-layer substrate (Durasafe®).' The globe, for instance, captures light differently depending on the angle; so the user should be able to see one set of colours arcing around the globe at one angle, and a different set of colours when positioned at another. On the front and back of the note are a total of 15 security features. 

"Hold the note up to the light: the security thread appears as a continuous line. The Swiss flag and the number 20 also appear at regular intervals along the thread."
"Thomas WiedmerThomas Wiedmer, Alternate Member of the GoverningSwiss National Bank

They also contain raised lines along the edges for the visually impaired. Also, the number, hand and globe have different textures meaning they can be felt, giving another layer of counterfeit security and tangibility.

Interestingly, the originally selected design focusing on cells and embryos was rejected after public outcry, not only delaying the scheduled release date but also proving that people are deeply passionate about how their cash represents their national identity. 

The rest of the new banknotes will be introduced over yearly and half yearly intervals until 2019. We can expect the smallest demonised banknote, the 10-franc to be the next one to be introduced in October 2017, According to SNBs website, the design will be yellow, full of time motifs and representative of 'Switzerland's organisational talent.' The 100-franc banknote should be blue, in keeping with the previous collection's colouring and will focus on the nation's 'humanitarian traditions' as expressed through water motif. 

'The new banknotes – design and security features' by Swiss National Bank via YouTube

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Swiss National Bank, Zurich. "New banknotes for Switzerland." Swiss National Bank (SNB). May 2017. Accessed May 18, 2017. https://www.snb.ch/en/iabout/cash/series9/id/cash_series9.

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Last Updated: Aug 16, 2017