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Europa Series

The Myth of Europa

A portrait of Europa, a figure from Greek mythology, has been incorporated into some of the security features of the new series of euro banknotes. This is why it is called the Europa series. Learn more about the myth of Europa, why her portrait was chosen and where the image comes from.

The myth of Europa

In Greek mythology, Europa, the daughter of a Phoenician king, was seduced by the god Zeus, in the shape of a bull, who carried her away to Crete. The story inspired the ancient Greeks to use “Europe” as a geographical term.


Choosing her portrait

Portraits have traditionally been used on banknotes all over the world. Research has shown that people tend to recognise faces easily. The portrait of Europa was chosen to feature in the new euro banknotes because it has an obvious link to the continent of Europe and also adds a human touch to the banknotes. This particular image was taken from a vase in the Louvre in Paris. The vase dates back over 2,000 years and was found in southern Italy.


Europa, the new face of the euro

Discover how Europa became the new face of the euro and take a closer look at the ancient vase from the Louvre that depicts her.