The European Currency Unit (ECU)

The European Currency Unit was introduced on the 13th of March 1979 as part of the new European Monetary System that also went into effect in the same year.

Before the introduction of the new E.C.U. the European Unit of Account was used from 1975-1979 after the collapse of the Bretton Woods System.

A “basket” or “portfolio” of all participating European currencies was made, and the percentage of one currency from a specific country was determined by their economic performance.

Harry Dexter White (left) and John Maynard Keynes in 1946 at the Bretton Woods Convention. * Source ;

In financial accounting a “Unit of Account” is used for measuring the value of goods or services for example, which is especially useful when different currencies are used with different exchange rates / volatility.

The top 5 European countries that had the largest shares of the E.C.U. basket from 1975 until the replacement by the Euro were :

  • Germany (30,323%) ;
  • France (19,293%) ;
  • United Kingdom (12,056%) ;
  • Italy (10,232%) ;
  • Netherlands (9,476%) ;

All though the ECU was used as a tool with international financial transactions at the time, it wasn’t used as legal tender. Between 1987 and 1999 different European countries would issue their own ECU tokens, and from 1995 the Euro was used in the text on the tokens instead of ECU.

Vaduz Castle

Vaduz Castle is situated on the hills overlooking the capital of Liechtenstein which has a population of over 5,600 residents and is situated along the Rhine river.

The castle is in possession of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein of which its head currently is Prince Hans Adam II.

The oldest manmade structures on this site date back as far as the 12th century. The castle through out the centuries has seen many periods of turmoil and has also been razed, rebuilt and expanded.


Vaduz Castle as seen from the capital. * Source ;

In 1712 the county of Vaduz and the castle came into the hands of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein who in 1699 also had acquired the Lordship of Schellenberg. These two combined land area’s would finally deliver the qualification for the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire that the family had been looking for.

All though they owned multiple in the Czech Republic, Austria and Poland the family didn’t own a piece of land that was held directly under the Holy Roman Empire and of which they were the rulers.

On the 23rd of January 1719 Emperor Charles VI decreed that the combined area’s of Schellenberg and Vaduz would henceforth would be known as the Principality of Liechtenstein, in essence an Imperial State within the Holy Roman Empire.

Vaduz Castle on the hilltop, Liechtenstein. * Source ;

This gave the family the status and influence they were looking for but it wouldn’t be more than 100 years later before descendants of the Princely Family made Vaduz Castle their abide.

Obverse Text : Fürstentum Liechtenstein (Principality of Liechtenstein)

Reverse Text : Liechtenstein im Herzen Europas – Schloss Vaduz (Liechtenstein in the heart of Europa – Castle Vaduz).