Since joining the European Union in 2004, Latvia has decisively moved towards the common European currency. Not even the turbulent times of the financial crisis of 2007-2008 could stop Latvia’s determination to become a full pledged member. It was January the 1st, 2014 when Latvia joined the Eurozone.

Latvian Lats

Lats is the historical and original currency of the Republic of Latvia. It was first introduced in 1922 and reintroduced in 1992. The lats was the fourth – highest valued currency unit after Kuwaiti dinar, Bahraini dinar and the Omani rial at the end of its circulation in 2013.

The 500 lats note was the world’s third most valuable banknote after the $10 000 Singapore note and the 1 000 Swiss franc note.

Latvian EURO coins

It is well known around Europe that the euro notes share the same designs across all countries in the euro area. But unlike notes, the coins have one common side and one specific side that represent one of the Eurozone member states.

Did you know: Due to linguistic issues you might find a different spelling of the word EURO in Latvia? Latvians also use the Latvian form EIRO for all non-legal matters, while EURO remains for all official documentation. 

The design of the reverse of the Latvian euro coins was chosen at the all-Latvian competition of ideas in 2004. The jury chose a proposal sent in by Ilze Kalniņa due to an excellent merge of symbols that portrays Latvia’s core values. This idea is also retained, although, not so broadly as planned, in the approved coin models. Meanwhile graphic design for the 1- and 2-euro coins was created by Guntars Sietiņš and the euro cent design by Laimonis Šēnbergs.

Some vestiges of the lats live on and particularly it is the Latvian 1- and 2- euro coins that feature the same folk maiden that appeared on the 500 lats note. Albeit without her former spending power, but with her beauty, historical and symbolical value to the Latvian people.

The folk maiden on Latvian euro coins