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Creative light New CHF20 note unveiled by Swiss National Bank

Thomas Wiedmer, from the SNB, in front of an image of the new note.


A new CHF20 ($19.90) banknote was introduced by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in Bern on Wednesday. It remains the same red colour of the previous version but it features an updated design and a range of new security elements.

The note will pass into public circulation on May 17, following the new CHF50 notes issued just over a year ago. The old notes will continue to coexist as legal tender before being phased out at an unspecified later date. 

In terms of design, the new noteexternal link is centred on the theme of “light” and its relationship with creativity and the creative process. On one side is a backdrop showing the Locarno film festival, while on the other we see butterflies, their wings diffracting light into iridescent colours. The note no longer features the portrait of composer Arthur Honegger.

The 15 security features include perforated symbols such as the Swiss cross, a globe which changes colour, and infrared and ultraviolet properties. It is printed on an innovative, three-layer substrate material, making it more durable and tear-resistant than traditional banknotes. It is also more difficult to counterfeit.

Next in the series

The new note is the second to be released in a series that began this time last year with the revised CHF50 bill. The rest are set to follow by 2019, with the next release, the CHF10 note, issued on October 18. The CHF200 bill will be next, followed by CHF1000, and finally the CHF100 note, the most used in the country.

It is the ninth time that the SNB has released a new series, and the first since 1995-1998. The banknotes will all feature the same security updates and core design elements. They are also smaller, which facilitates handling, storage and production costs.

Speaking at the unveiling, Fritz Zurbrügg, vice-president of the SNB governing board, said feedback from the new notes had thus far been positive. “The public finds the theme and the design appealing and the security features easy to remember,” he said.

The designs all fall under the theme of “the many facets of Switzerland” and have marked a move away from the depiction of well-known historical personalities. Following the “wind” of the CHF50 note and the “light” of the CHF20, the rest of the series will encompass “time”, “matter”, “language” and “water”.

​​​​​​​ and agencies/dos

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