The first thing I did when I got off the plane in Oslo was exchange currency at the airport. Not smart. I now realize that they bent me over on that exchange. I could figure out exactly what that misstep cost me, but I’d rather not. I do know better, but I was kind of tired and a little stressed, and I wandered in like a moth to a flame. (I should have reviewed this website before leaving.)
Fortunately, I only exchanged 100 USD, and I’m glad I have some local currency in case my credit card fails me. I only have a few wrinkly 200 kroner bills, so here are some pictures from the internets:
Isn’t it pretty? More importantly, Norwegians value the arts and sciences, and their appreciation is reflected by the people they put on their money:
- The man on the 50 (Peter Christen Asbjørnsen) was a writer and collector of Norwegian folktales
- The woman on the 100 (Kirsten Flagstad) was an opera singer and director of the Norwegian National Opera House
- The man on the 200 (Kristian Birkeland) was a magnetism researcher and inventor (his experiments replicated the aura borealis which is pretty cool)
- The woman on the 500 (Sigrid Undset) won the Nobel Price in Literature in 1927
- The man on the 100 (Edvard Munch) was an expressionist painter and graphic artist
Of course I ripped all this info off Wikipedia, but I’m sure it’s legit…or close enough)
It’s pretty badass that scientists, artists, and musicians adorn their money. I think it says a lot about the shared values and priorities of the Norwegian people. (AHEM, America–we still have Andrew Jackson on our money and NO WOMEN.)
The coins are neat too:
Some of their coins have holes in them! For jewelry purposes, perhaps? I read a few things online and somebody suggested that it makes the coins easy to distinguish from other coins, particularly for the blind. It also saves metal, which was particularly important when coins had inherent value because they were made of gold, silver, and copper blends. I have a few coins with holes and I’m saving them for my coin collection. (NERD ALERT).
Like the Euro, Norwegian coins can have a lot of value. For instance, when we visited Oslo, I paid 20 Kroner to use a public bathroom. It’s a coin about the size of a quarter, but it’s worth over $2. (Yes, I paid two dollars to pee.) I don’t immediately register the coins as being worth much because (like most Americans) I’m not used to pocket change having a lot of value. But you gotta save that coin. C.R.E.A.M, get the money!