new 5 euro bill

How the New 5 Euro Bill is Made

May 01, 2013 / by / 0 Comment
  • SumoMe

A new 5-euro note will be circulating starting May 2, 2013. At first glance, no major changes from the previous cut. However, it will be more difficult to counterfeit and will offer better resistance to wear and tear. A behind the scenes look at the production of the bill. Coralie Cathelinais reports for France’s BFMTV.

The new version of the 5 euro note bursts onto the scene this Thursday, May 2 in the 17 countries of the euro zone. At first glance, this bill does not seem to create a break with the old model in circulation for the past 11 years: same size, same gray-green tone. Yet this new print marks the first copy of the “Europe” series, so named in reference to the character from Greek mythology who gave his name to the Old Continent. And it is his portrait, taken from an antique vase in the Louvre, which serves as the watermark. Other cuts, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros are also set to be replaced by the Europe release.

In the meantime, this new version does not automatically send the old € 5 banknotes to the dustbin. Those will be slowly phased out before losing legal tender status at a date to be announced sometime in the future.

While waiting to hold the new bill in your hands, here are some of its manufacturing secrets.


The fight against counterfeiting and keeping a step ahead of the counterfeiters are the primary objectives of this new series of banknotes. In 2012, the ECB has withdrawn 251,000 bills from circulation, a low number in comparison to the 14.9 billion banknotes in total circulation. But the number is still too high.

The new five euro bill is supposed to be even harder to counterfeit than its predecessor. Among other steps taken to prevent counterfeiting is the emerald ink used to print the figure. When the note is tilted, it changes in color and produces a light effect that moves up and down and left to right. The new bill also features a new holographic track, in which one can discover the portrait of Europe.


Among the most used bills, the € 5 bank notes are also the most exposed to wear and tear: their typical lifespan does not exceed 13 months, in comparison to two years for other bills. The ECB has chosen to improve its resistance by applying a special coating on the paper. As in the previous series, the paper is made of cotton, a material that gives the bill its “firm and crunchy” texture.


The ECB is the organization that allows the issuance of new bank notes and manages their circulation as well as their removal from circulation.  To produce this new 5 euro bill, the printing facilities of the Banque de France in the Auvergne region of Chamalières was tapped. It provided about 40% of the notes that will be circulated across the euro zone tomorrow. France is the largest producer of this bill.


The production price of the bill varies depending on the series and models. And the addition of anti-fraud devices, such as special watermarks inserted into the paper, drive up the production price.

For this note, the final manufacturing price amounts to less than 5 cents apiece. When it comes to the design and printing equipment used for this series, the Bank of France keeps its investments in research and development a secret.


The first bills left the print shop a little over a year ago. After going through stringent quality control, they have been kept in a secret location since.

The first notes will be available starting Thursday, May 2 in some ATM machines and at bank counters. Impossible to know how many will be put into circulation on the first day or at what locations…



Dom Einhorn is a proud Alsatian interested in a wide variety of subject matter, from literature and politics to science and sports. He speaks 5 languages fluently and calls both Wyoming and France "home." Dom is also a trivia fanatic and the editor of