Fifty euro
(European Union[1])
Value50 euro
Width140 mm
Height77 mm
Security featuresColour-changing ink, see-through number, hologram patch with perforations, EURion constellation, watermarks, raised printing, ultraviolet ink, microprinting, security thread, matted surface, barcodes and a serial number[2]
Material used100% pure cotton fibre[2]
Years of printing1999–2015[3] (1st series)
Since 2015 (Europa series)[3]
DesignWindow in Renaissance architecture[4]
DesignerRobert Kalina[5]
Design date5 July 2016[5]
DesignBridge in Renaissance architecture and map of Europe[4]
DesignerRobert Kalina[5]
Design date5 July 2016[5]

The fifty euro note (€50) is one of the middle value euro banknotes and has been used since the introduction of the euro (in its cash form) in 2002.[6] The note is used by some 343 million Europeans and in the 25 countries which have the euro as their sole currency (with 23 legally adopting it). In July 2023, there were about 14,523,000,000 fifty euro banknotes in circulation in the eurozone. It is by far the most widely circulated denomination, accounting for almost half (49.0%) of the total banknotes.[7] Estimates suggest that the average life of a fifty euro banknote is about four years before it is replaced due to wear.[8]

It is the fourth smallest note, measuring 140 mm × 77 mm, and has an orange colour scheme.[4] The note depicts bridges and arches/doorways in the Renaissance era (15th and 16th centuries). The €50 note contains several complex security features such as watermarks, invisible ink, holograms and microprinting that document its authenticity.

The full design of the Europa series €50 banknote was revealed on 5 July 2016.[9] The new 50 note was released on 4 April 2017.[10][11]


The hologram on the 50 euro note
50 euro note of the 2002-2017 series
50 euro note of the 2002-2017 series (Obverse)
50 euro note of the 2002-2017 series(Reverse)

Main article: History of the euro

The euro was founded on 1 January 1999, when it became the currency of over 300 million people in Europe.[3] For the first three years of its existence it was an invisible currency, only used in accounting. Euro cash was not introduced until 1 January 2002, when it replaced the national banknotes and coins of the 12 countries in the eurozone, such as the Dutch guilder and the Portuguese escudo.[3] Today, the €50 note is used by some 332 million Europeans[12][13] and in the 22 countries which have it as their sole currency (with 20 legally adopting it).[14]

Slovenia joined the Eurozone in 2007,[15] Cyprus and Malta in 2008,[16] Slovakia in 2009,[17] Estonia in 2011,[18] Latvia in 2014,[19] Lithuania in 2015 and Croatia in 2023.[20]

The changeover period

The changeover period during which the former currencies' notes and coins were exchanged for those of the euro lasted about two months, from 1 January 2002 until 28 February 2002. The official date on which the national currencies ceased to be legal tender varied from member state to member state.[3] The earliest date was in Germany, where the mark officially ceased to be legal tender on 31 December 2001, though the exchange period lasted for two months more. Even after the old currencies ceased to be legal tender, they continue to be accepted by national central banks for periods ranging from ten years to forever.[3][21]


Notes printed before November 2003 bear the signature of the first president of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg. He was succeeded on 1 November 2003 by Jean-Claude Trichet, whose signature appears on issues from November 2003 to March 2012. Notes issued after March 2012 bear the signature of the third president of the European Central Bank, incumbent Mario Draghi.[4]

The first series issues do not reflect the expansion of the European Union, as Cyprus is not depicted on the notes as the map does not extend far enough east, and Malta is also missing as it does not meet the current series' minimum size for depiction.[22]

Since the European Central Bank plans to redesign the notes every seven or eight years after each issue, a new 50 note was put into circulation on 4 April 2017.[10] New production and anti-counterfeiting techniques are employed on the new notes, but the basic design remained on the same theme (bridges and arches) and continues to use colours identical to the previous series. However, the new note is visibly distinguishable from the old one.[23]


50 euro banknote under fluorescent light (UV-A)
50 euro note under UV light (Obverse)
50 euro note under UV light (Reverse)

The fifty euro note is the fourth smallest note, measuring 140 millimetres (5.5 in) × 77 millimetres (3.0 in), with an orange colour scheme.[4] Each euro banknote depicts bridges and arches/doorways in a different historical European style; the €50 note shows the Renaissance era (15th and 16th centuries).[4] Although Robert Kalina's original designs were intended to show real monuments, for political reasons the bridge and the window are merely hypothetical examples of the architectural era.[24]

Like all euro notes, the €50 note shows the denomination, the EU flag, the signature of the president of the ECB, the initials of the ECB in the different EU languages, a depiction of EU territories overseas, the stars from the EU flag and various security features.[4]

Security features (first series)

The watermark on the 50 euro note

The fifty euro note contains the following security features:

Security features (Europa series)


The European Central Bank closely monitors the circulation and stock of the euro coins and banknotes. It is a task of the Eurosystem to ensure an efficient and smooth supply of euro notes and to maintain their integrity throughout the euro area.[29]

In December 2022, there were 14,430,405,946 €50 banknotes in circulation around the Eurozone.[29] with a total value of €721,520,297,300. This is the number of banknotes issued by the Eurosystem central banks, without any distinction as to who is holding the currency issued, thus also including the stocks held by credit institutions.

The figures are as follows (Nov. 3, 2017) :

Date Banknotes € Value Date Banknotes € Value
January 2002 1,417,053,560 70,852,678,000 December 2009 5,199,440,707 259,972,035,350
December 2002 2,434,707,158 121,735,357,900 December 2010 5,550,160,896 277,508,044,800
December 2003 2,896,386,947 144,819,347,350 December 2011 6,045,145,732 302,257,286,600
December 2004 3,255,008,516 162,750,425,800 December 2012 6,437,178,183 321,858,909,150
December 2005 3,624,320,322 181,216,016,100 December 2013 6,962,832,968 348,141,648,400
December 2006 4,077,608,858 203,880,442,900 December 2014 7,508,631,958 375,431,597,900
December 2007 4,442,233,190 222,111,659,500 December 2015 8,398,272,519 419,913,625,950
December 2008 4,911,736,808 245,586,840,400 December 2016 9,231,380,229 461,569,011,450

On 4 April 2017, a new 'Europe' series was issued.

The first series of notes were issued in conjunction with those for a few weeks in the series 'Europe' until existing stocks are exhausted, then gradually withdrawn from circulation. Both series thus run parallel but the proportion tends inevitably to a sharp decrease in the first series.[clarification needed]

Date Banknotes € Value Series '1' remainder € Value Proportion
December 2017 9,826,239,828 491,311,991,400 7,202,485,936 360,124,296,800 73.3%
December 2018 10,446,866,397 522,343,319,850 5,575,235,652 278,761,782,600 53.4%
December 2019 11,216,209,023 560,810,451,150 4,504,551,206 225,227,560,300 40.2%
December 2020 12,724,868,337 636,243,416,850 3,961,795,038 198,089,751,900 31.1%
December 2021 13,684,375,433 684,218,771,650 3,541,489,557 177,074,477,850 25.9%
December 2022 14,430,405,946 721,520,297,300 3,164,581,973 158,229,098,650 21.9%

The latest figures provided by the ECB are the following :

Date Banknotes € Value Series '1' remainder € Value Proportion
July 2023 14,522,711,073 726,135,553,650 2,957,864,639 147,893,231,950 20.4%

Legal information

Legally, both the European Central Bank and the central banks of the eurozone countries have the right to issue the 7 different euro banknotes. In practice, only the national central banks of the zone physically issue and withdraw euro banknotes. The European Central Bank does not have a cash office and is not involved in any cash operations.[3]


There are several communities of people at European level, such as EuroBillTracker,[30] that keep track of the euro banknotes that pass through their hands, as a hobby. The aim is to keep track of the places to which the banknotes travel:[30] how they spread, from where and to where they travel in general, and generate statistics and rankings, for example, in which countries there are more banknotes.[30] EuroBillTracker has registered over 161 million notes as of November 2016,[31] worth a total of more than €3 billion.[31]


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  5. ^ a b c d "ECB: Banknotes design". ECB. ECB. February 1996. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
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  9. ^ "ECB unveils new €50 banknote". 5 July 2016.
  10. ^ a b New €50 banknote starts circulating today
  11. ^ "New €50 aims to beat counterfeits". Connexion France. 4 April 2017.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "ECB: Security Features". ECB. ECB. 11 September 2018.
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  14. ^ *"Andorran Euro Coins". 2003. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
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  16. ^ "Cyprus and Malta adopt the euro". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 1 January 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  17. ^ Kubosova, Lucia (31 December 2008). "Slovakia Joins Decade-Old Euro Zone - Businessweek". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  18. ^ "Estonia to join euro zone in 2011". RTÉ News. Radió Teilifís Éireann. 13 July 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  19. ^ Van Tartwijk, Maarten; Kaza, Juris (9 July 2013). "Latvia Gets Green Light to Join Euro Zone". Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Croatia joins the euro area". European Central Bank. January 2023. Retrieved 2023-09-10.
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  23. ^ The life cycle of a banknote Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, De Nederlandsche Bank. Accessed 2007-08-17.
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  30. ^ a b c "EuroBillTracker - About this site". Philippe Girolami, Anssi Johansson, Marko Schilde. EuroBillTracker. 1 January 2002. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  31. ^ a b "EuroBillTracker - Statistics". Philippe Girolami, Anssi Johansson, Marko Schilde. EuroBillTracker. 1 January 2002. Retrieved 21 October 2011.