The euro is 20! On January 1, 2002, Germany abolished the D-Mark, and the common currency was also introduced in ten other EU member states.
Today, the euro is the official means of payment for a good 340 million people in 19 EU countries and has also survived a first major crisis:
During the “euro crisis” from 2010 onwards, the eurozone was about to break up, and the exit of individual states such as Greece was discussed because of the high national debt.
Many people still haven’t said goodbye to the old currency. According to the Bundesbank, 12.4 billion D-Marks should still be in circulation.
After the US dollar, the euro is the most important currency in the world. But: How do Germans feel about the euro today?
“The Ostmark was like play money for me”
Lieselotte Schubert (84), pensioner: “In 1951 I was given a chain for my confirmation. My uncle had paid for it with Reichsmarks in 1945. In 1948 we got the Ostmark. It looked like play money and still felt that way to me later.
In 1958 I fled alone to the West. I made my first major purchases with the D-Mark: a carpet and a small television. When the euro came in 2002, I couldn’t do much with it. It took several years to stop converting to D-Marks. “
“I kept 5-mark pieces”
Frank Cornelius (64), restaurateur: “I can still remember the beginning of 2002 well. The tips were very good for a short time because my guests left the same in euros as in DM. Unfortunately, that changed quickly.
Since its introduction, prices have continued to rise – at least that’s my feeling. I still kept a twenty and five-mark pieces so that I can show my grandchildren some German money later – as a history lesson, so to speak. “
“The apartment suddenly cost half”
Karin Geißler (42) Accountant: “I know three currencies – Ostmark, Westmark and Euro. As a child, money didn’t really matter to me. In 2002 I already had my first apartment of my own – and it suddenly cost half as much. But of course the salary was also halved.
That was a bit strange at first. I even have a fifty from 2002 in my wallet. For traveling it was of course great to have a common currency. But the D-Mark has remained in the back of my mind to this day: Does a kebab really cost 8 Marks now? “
“I almost never pay in cash anyway”
Simon Wagner (19) trainee: “I’ll be as old as the euro in two weeks and I can’t remember ever having had a D-Mark in my hand. My only reference to it is the fact that my father regularly makes the comparison. For example with my apprenticeship allowance.
And then to say that you already earn a lot as an apprentice today. In general, I think it’s nice and practical to be able to pay uniformly across almost all of Europe. Especially since I almost never pay cash anyway. When I have 20 euros in my pocket, that’s a lot. “