World through banknotes: Switzerland

Sep 20, 2019

One can learn a lot about a country with the help of cash. In this article, we look at how Switzerland celebrates its cultural landscape through banknotes.

On September 2019, Switzerland introduced the new 100-franc banknote, the final note of the latest series, themed on 'The many facets of Switzerland’. The 50-franc note was the first denomination introduced, entering circulation on 13 April 2016, followed by the 20, 10, 200 and 1000-franc notes, at six or twelve-month intervals, respectively. The striking vertical banknotes all feature hand and the globe as core design elements.

Excerpt from Swiss National Bank

With the ninth banknote series, the Swiss National Bank broke new ground on the design front – moving away from the depiction of well-known personalities. Each note in the new series depicts a typically Swiss characteristic, which is then illustrated graphically using a key motif. Each characteristic is communicated via an action, a Swiss location and various graphic elements. The inspiration behind the new banknote series is ‘The many facets of Switzerland’: organizational talent, creativity, the wealth of experiences, humanitarian tradition, scientific expertise, and communicative flair.

10-franc banknote: Organizational talent (time)

The 10-franc note focuses on Switzerland’s organizational talent – expressed by time, the note’s key motif. A background filled with clock faces, the Swiss rail network, the Gotthard Base Tunnel through the Alps and a Bering Strait, Pacific Oceana view of the globe with time zone borders representing the International Date Line (End of Day) along with a pair of female hands conducting the time with a baton all appear on the yellow 10 franc banknote (H123mm × W70mm). The banknote was issued on October 18th, 2017.

20-franc banknote: Creativity (light)

The 20-franc note focuses on Switzerland’s creativity – expressed by light, the note’s key motif. A kaleidoscopic background, a movie projected on an outdoor screen on the Piazza Grande in during the Locarno Film Festival, translucent butterfly wing print, the lines of an eyeball's iris, a star constellations, and a Pacific Ocean and North-America view of the globe, along with a boyish right hand holding a prism into a light beam so that the light is dispersed into various colors all appear on the red 20 franc banknote (H130mm × W70mm). The banknote was issued on May 17th, 2017.

50-franc banknote: Wealth of experiences (wind)

The 50-franc note focuses on the wealth of experiences Switzerland has to offer - expressed by the wind, the note’s key motif. A paraglider, and wind flow arrows curling around the glaciated mountain peaks of the Swiss alps, contour lines, the names of the main peaks, an Atlantic view of the globe, along with a left hand holding a dandelion with flowing, silky pappi carried forth by the wind all appear on the green 50 franc banknote (H137mm × W70mm). The banknote was issued on April 12th, 2016.

100-franc banknote: Humanitarian tradition (water)

The 100-franc note focuses on Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition – expressed by water, the note’s key motif. Water flowing alongside a vertical mountain side in the dry Valais, an Africa and Europe view of the globe along with a pair of hands holding and providing water all appear on the blue 100 franc banknote (H151mm × W70mm). The banknote was issued on September 12th, 2019.

200-franc banknote: Scientific expertise (matter)

The 200-franc note focuses on Switzerland’s scientific expertise, represented by the key motif of matter. Signals from a particle collision in a detector at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva and a particle collision map, an Arica, Europe, Middle East, Indian Ocean, Asia view of the globe with the Earth's land masses during the Late Cretaceous period superimposed along with a right hand pointing in the three dimensions, representing the right-hand rule all appear on the brown 1,000 franc banknote (H151mm × W70mm). The banknote was issued on August 22nd, 2018.

1000-franc banknote: Communicative flair (language)

The 1000-franc note focuses on Switzerland’s communicative flair, represented by the key motif of language. Letters of the International Phonetic Alphabet and a view of the Swiss parliament room in Berne used for the Federal Assembly appears along with an East Asia and Australia view of the globe and two hands engaged in a handshake all appear on the deep purple 1,000 franc banknote (H158mm × W70mm). The banknote was issued on March 13th, 2019.

Read more about the banknotes here

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2019