Eurozone: Lithuanians Adopt New Currency

Collection with 20 media items created by Berta Tilmantaite

31 Dec 2014 22:00

Fireworks in Lithuania marked not only the beginning of the New Year, but also the beginning of the new currency in the country. Over the next two weeks, Lithuanian litas that had been used since 1993 are being replaced by the euro. Lithuania is the last Baltic country after Estonia and Latvia to adopt the euro, doing so to attract more investment, eliminate money-changing costs, reduce the borrowing from - and maybe even the influence of - Russia.

“We used rubbles, talonas, then switched to litas, and now will have to get used to euros,” says Zigmantas while familiarising himself with the new currency on the last day of the year.

The litas was actually first introduced in 1922 after World War I, when Lithuania declared independence. In 1939 Germany annexed the Klaipėda region of Lithuania and the reichsmark replaced the litas until 1941, when the Soviet Union annexed Lithuania and Soviet rubbles were introduced to the country. The talonas – a temporary currency of Lithuania – was used from 1991 to 1993 before reintroducing the litas. Now, from the 1st of January, euros will take the place of Lithuania’s national currency.

“There will be a lot of confusion,” says Zita, Zigmanta’s wife. “I can’t see very well so it’s not easy to tell litas coins from euro coins. It will take time to get used to it.”

Zita spent time watching news on TV to learn about the currency switch in Lithuania and asked her children to change her savings in litas to euros. The switch will be confusing not only because of the physical similarities between the two currencies, but also because of the exchange rate, which is not the easiest to calculate by memory. To help himself and his wife Zita to convert litas to euros, Zigmantas has drawn a chart with different amounts of litas and their equivalent values in euros.

However, the younger generation isn’t worried. Guoda, an 18-year-old student, got a few packages of euro coins as a present for Christmas. Apparently, euro bags were among the most popular presents this year.

“I’ll just put everything together,” Guoda says. “I will try to spend litas first and then will start using euros.”

For the first two weeks on the 2015, Lithuanians can use both currencies to pay for goods and services, however they will only be issued change in euros.

Not all Lithuanians are happy about the change, though. Many worry about rising prices. Others see the loss of the litas as the loss of the nation’s identity. This gave rise to a small artistic movement of ‘crying litas’ – where people started to draw tears on litas notes to make it look as if famous people shown on the notes were crying.

Businessmen, of course, took advantage of the trend and started to produce clothes, bags, playing cards and other everyday goods featuring litas, a very famous symbol among sentimental Lithuanians.

After Lithuania adopted the euro, there are only 11 different currencies remaining in circulation in the European Union.

Lithuania Eurozone Euros Eu Currency Economy Market Lita

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 01
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
14 Dec 2014

The municipal building in Silale is decorated with the 1000 litas note that was in use from 1926 to 1941. In the record book of Lithuania, it is registered as the biggest stained-glass window, made from 4500 pieces of stained glass.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 02
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
14 Dec 2014

The municipal building in Silale is decorated with the 1000 litas note that was in use from 1926 to 1941. In the record book of Lithuania, it is registered as the biggest stained-glass window, made from 4500 pieces of stained glass.

Huge tears are cut out from two human figures on the note as a part of the movement "crying litas." Tears are drawn or cut out on the notes to symbolize the sadness of losing the national currency, litas.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 03
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

A hairdresser collects her payment in litas in Silale, Lithuania. The 31st of December was the last day of the Lithuanian Litas, before the country adopted euros. After the 1st of January it will be possible to pay in both litas and euros for a couple of weeks. After that the euro will be the official currency in Lithuania.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 04
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Zigmantas familiarises himself with euros before Lithuania adopt the euro instead of the national currency, the litas. Small packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) were sold in the country and became one of the most popular Christmas presents.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 05
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
30 Dec 2014

Zigmantas familiarises himself with euros before Lithuania adopt the euro instead of the national currency, the litas. Small packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) were sold in the country and became one of the most popular Christmas presents.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 06
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Special motion cards were made to help people convert litas to euros in Lithuania. Flipping card allows one to see how much a certain amount of litas will be in euros.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 07
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Zigmantas familiarises himself with euros before Lithuania adopt the euro instead of the national currency, the litas. Small packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) were sold in the country and became one of the most popular Christmas presents.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 08
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Zigmantas familiarises himself with euros before Lithuania adopt the euro instead of the national currency, the litas. Small packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) were sold in the country and became one of the most popular Christmas presents.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 09
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
30 Dec 2014

Zigmantas drew a chart to help himself and his wife Zita to convert litas to euros after Lithuania adopted the euro on the 1st of January.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 10
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
30 Dec 2014

Zita watches TV to find out what's going on in the country and world. She learned everything she knows about the European currency on television news.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 11
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Zigmantas and Zita familiarise themselves with euros before Lithuania replaces their national currency, the litas.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 12
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Gouda, 16, rearranges her wallet, keeping both litas and new euros, which were adopted in Lithuania on the 1st of January, 2015. Gouda got a few packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) for Christmas. Euros were among the most popular Christmas presents this year.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 13
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Gouda, 16, rearranges her wallet, keeping both litas and new euros, which were adopted in Lithuania on the 1st of January, 2015. Gouda got a few packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) for Christmas. Euros were among the most popular Christmas presents this year.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 14
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Gouda, 16, rearranges her wallet, keeping both litas and new euros, which were adopted in Lithuania on the 1st of January, 2015. Gouda got a few packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) for Christmas. Euros were among the most popular Christmas presents this year.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 15
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Gouda, 16, rearranges her wallet, keeping both litas and new euros, which were adopted in Lithuania on the 1st of January, 2015. Gouda got a few packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) for Christmas. Euros were among the most popular Christmas presents this year.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 16
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Fireworks in Silale, Lithuania mark the new year and a change of currency in the country to the euro.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 17
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Fireworks in Silale, Lithuania mark the new year and a change of currency in the country to the euro.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 18
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
30 Dec 2014

In Lithuania, midnight of December 31st marks not only the New Year, but also a change of currency in the country to the euro.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 19
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
30 Dec 2014

In Lithuania, midnight of December 31st marks not only the New Year, but also a change of currency in the country to the euro.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 20
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
31 Dec 2014

In Lithuania, midnight of December 31st marks not only the New Year, but also a change of currency in the country to the euro.