Published: 06.01.2011

The banknotes throughout the euro area are similar, however the reverse of the coins is chosen by each country separately. This makes the creation process of the coins more complicated, but the users of these banknotes find interest in their diversity. The folk maiden will be depicted on the national side of the Latvian one-euro and two-euro coins, whereas the 50-, 20- and 10-euro cent coins will feature the great coat of arms of Latvia and the 5-, 2- and 1-euro-cent coins the small coat of arms of Latvia. The design models are approved by the Euro Coins Subcommittee of the Economic and Financial Council (ECOFIN).

The design of the reverse of the Latvian euro coins was chosen at the all-Latvian competition of ideas in 2004. The jury chose as the best the proposal sent in by Ilze Kalnina who suggested that the portrait of a Latvian folk maiden, the Freedom Monument and the coat of arms of the Republic of Latvia be depicted on the coins. For the Latvian euro coins the jury of the competition of ideas chose the images that symbolize Latvia and its core values - the love of Latvians for their native land, their quest for freedom and pride in their nation. This idea is also retained, although, not so broadly as planned, in the approved models.

After the competition of ideas the Bank of Latvia's experts, artists, mints and European Commission's experts joined efforts to ensure, on the one hand, compliance with the legislation of the European Union, the specifications for the design (additional size, the proportion of the enclosing and central circle, the layout of the EU stars in the enclosing circle) and, on the other hand, appropriate reflection of the chosen images in the small square of the circulation coin. The experts involved finally came to the conclusion that it was not possible to depict the Freedom Monument on the euro circulation coin so that it would be easily recognizable. Acknowledging the results of the competition of ideas, it was therefore decided that the same portrait of the folk maiden that adorned the reverse of the five-lats coin designed for the newly independent Latvian state will be depicted on the two-euro coin.

In compliance with the National Euro Changeover Plan, the Bank of Latvia begins minting Latvian euro coins at the end of July 2013. In order to manage minting the necessary amount of high quality coins within the short period of time after the final decision of the European Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) on Latvia's full participation in the euro area has been taken, i.e. in the second half of 2013, a tender was launched in the autumn of 2012 and the potential producer of Latvian euro coins was selected. It is the State Mints of Baden-Wuerttemberg (Staatliche Münzen Baden-Württemberg) in Germany where different lats circulation coins have already been minted before.

Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, Governor of the Bank of Latvia, is putting the coin minting equipment into operation2 euro coins2 euro coin

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