New vegan-friendly €100 and €200 banknotes have gone into circulation today (May 29).
They are the latest in the “Europa” series that have been slowly rolled out since 2013 to replace banknotes first introduced when the Euro was launched in 2002.
The banknotes — which feature and take their name from the Greek mythological figure Europa — are supposed to be more durable and less vulnerable to counterfeiters.
The new features include raised print, said to make the ink feel thicker in some parts, as well as a more prominent security strap and watermark images of Europa when held to the light.
The notes are printed on pure fibre cotton paper instead of the polymer notes used by the UK, which contain animal fat.
The figure of Europa is supposed to be a symbol of the European community as a whole.
In Greek mythology Europa was a Phoenician princess who was abducted by Zeus when he took the form of a bull and rode off with her on his back, taking her to Greece where she later became the Queen of Crete.
The European Central Bank said: “This figure from Greek mythology was included in the new euro banknotes because it has an obvious link to the continent of Europe and also adds a human touch to the banknotes.”
The image of Europa used in the design was taken from a vase which is currently on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris.