Germany lies between the Baltic and North Seas and the Alps, covering an area of 357,022 square kilometers. It neighbors Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. With a population of more than 83 million spread within its 16 states, the country is the most populous nation of the European Union.
Positioned at the crossroads of Central and Western Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany has a strong and highly developed economy. It is a global leader in industrial and scientific and technology sectors and an important exporter of vehicles, machinery, equipment, and chemicals. The country struggles with demographic issues such as low fertility rates and the drop in net immigration.
In 1998, the administration of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder launched reforms to address high unemployment. These reforms have reduced unemployment and brought about growth in 2006 and 2007. In 2009, GDP shrank at 4.7% but grew by 3.6% in 2010. The recovery was mainly because of the rebounding exports and manufacturing orders from outside the Eurozone.
Prior to the reunification in 1990, German states had a state currency and a state bank of their own. West Germany, for instance, was using the West Deutsch mark or the West German mark as its medium of exchange from 1948 until the unification in 1990, replacing the Reichsmark. The Deutsch mark then became the country’s currency from 1990 until it was replaced with the euro in 2002. The currency was divided into 100 pfennige.
The first series of the German mark banknotes was released by the Allied military in 1948. The second series was put into circulation in 1948 by the Bank Deutscher Lander which was a financial institution of the western occupation regime. Since the designing and printing of these notes were a collaboration between the Bank of France and the American Bank Note Company, their designs resemble the US Dollar and the French franc. The third series of the German mark was launched by the Bundesbank in 1960 highlighting neutral symbols, artworks by German painters, and buildings.
The last series was introduced by the Bundesbank in 1990 with enhanced security features such as a windowed security thread with a demetalized denomination. These paper bills featured German artists and scientists along with tools and symbols relative to their field. Furthermore, these notes are in vibrant colors and their sizes vary, depending on the denomination.