What is the Currency of Austria?

By Joyce Chepkemoi on August 1 2017 in Economics

Austrian one euro coin.
Austrian one euro coin.

Austria is a country in Europe and as a member of the eurozone, its official currency is the euro. Austria adopted the euro when it was first introduced in 1999. Prior to the euro's existence, Austria's currency was the Austrian schilling. Austria shares its currency with other eurozone countries including Finland, Estonia, Slovakia, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Malta, Holland, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Italy, Cyprus, and Greece. Austria has used several other currencies during various periods of history, mainly dependent on the political administration within the country at the time. For instance, the krone was the primary currency during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the German reichsmark was used during World War II.

The Euro

The euro is the official currency of eurozone countries. The euro has an inflation rate of 2% and ranks as the second largest reserve currency after the US dollar. The symbol for the euro is € and it uses the code EUR. The euro is divided into 100 subunits (cents). The euro comes in different denominations of coins and banknotes. The coins are made in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Banknotes are usually available in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. The euro is issued by the European Central Bank based in Frankfurt. Austria adopted the use of the euro on January 1, 1999, and issued the first euro coins and banknotes in 2002. The Austrian National Bank played a significant role in the smooth transition to the use of the euro.

Commemorative Coins

The Austrian Mint issues various commemorative coins only legal in Austria. These coins have unique designs on the obverse side including architectural representations and famous people. Some features imprinted on these commemorative coins include the alpine gentian, St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Other commemorative coins mark the anniversary of various events, such as the 50th anniversary of the Austrian State Treaty (2005) and the Treaty of Rome (2007). Most of Austria's commemorative coins are minted from gold, silver, and sometimes niobium.

The Austrian Schilling

The Austrian schilling is a former Austrian currency, which was replaced by the adoption of the euro. About 13 schillings are equal to one euro. The schilling had the symbol ATS and was used between 1924 and 1938, and then again from 1954 until 2002. The gap between these two periods occurred due to the introduction of the German reichsmark during World War II. The schilling consisted of 100 subunits called groschen. Coins were produced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 50 groschens, while banknotes were issued in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 schillings. At the time of its replacement by the euro, the exchange rate was at a fixed rate of 1 euro to 13.7603 schillings.

The Austrian Krone

When Austria was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the krone was the common currency. The Austrian krone, which uses the symbol K, served as Austria’s currency during the period after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austria adopted the krone, which was similar to the Austrain-Hungarian krone. Coins were minted from silver and gold in denominations of 20, 10, 200, and 1000. Krone banknotes were introduced in 1922 in denominations of 2, 10, 20, 100, 1000, 5000, 50,000, 100,000 and 500,000. The decline of the Austrian economy after World War I led to the decline of the Austrian krone and the introduction of the schilling.

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