There are still Luxembourg francs out there – do you know how many millions?

With Lithuania’s adhesion on 1 January 2015, 19 EU Member States use the single European currency, the euro. In Luxembourg we’ve been using the euro since 1 January 2002. At the time, the euro conversion rate was fixed to 40.3399 Luxembourg francs (LUF) and shortly after the introduction of the euro the old LUF coins and notes disappeared from everyday commercial activity.

Yet despite the 12 years that have gone by not all Luxembourg francs have been exchanged for euros. There is still a large batch pending change. Do you still have LUF hidden away somewhere?

Millions of LUF under mattresses and floor boards

In its annual report, the Banque Centrale de Luxembourg (BCL, the Luxembourgish Central Bank) publishes the total value of Luxembourg franc banknotes issued by the “Institut Monétaire Luxembourgeois” and not yet presented for exchange. Surprisingly enough, in 2013 the amount was LUF 205 million , that is c. EUR 5.1 million.

The report goes on to say that the 5,000 LUF banknote is exchanged more frequently than the 1,000 LUF or even the 100 LUF notes.

There many and more reasons why there are still so many LUF “in circulation”. Nostalgia always play a great role in the decision to get rid of the coins and notes one’s used most of their life. Similarly, collectors find it hard to part with something that now belongs in a museum. And probably the main reason: forgetfulness. All across Europe “old” coins and banknotes appear every day in drawers, old suitcases and attics. According to the Belgian and German central banks, it is estimated that BEF 6.1 billion (c. EUR 153 million), and DEM 12.9 billion (c. EUR 6.6 billion) are still in circulation. And the same goes for most of the other 14 countries – without counting Lithuania that just got started!

I found a treasure in LUF – can I still exchange it?

Whether princess or pirate, we’ve all dreamt at some point of finding a treasure chest full of gold, jewels and cash! Should you find one buried underneath the stables of an old farm house, hope that it is full of LUF banknotes, not coins.

After the introduction of the euro, Luxembourg established the limit date to exchange LUF coins was 31 December 2004. However, LUF banknotes can still be exchanged at the BCL. The European Central Bank has published a list with all the currencies and dates for these exchanges, should you find other currencies lying around the house or in an old piece of luggage.

Conclusion

Times change, and so does our currency. The euro has allowed us to become closer with our European neighbors and has made life in a country like ours much simpler – no need to think about the cash in your pocket when you go shopping or dinning to Belgium, France or Germany.

205 million of Luxembourg francs might seem like a lot but, when you think about it, divided by an estimated population of 450,000 when the euro was introduced, if all just found LUF 455 we’d make up for the total sum – and who hasn’t come across a LUF banknote in an old purse or handbag in these past 14 years?

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