During the changeover process to the euro, national central banks gradually withdraw the national currency from circulation. This is partly done during the so-called ‘dual circulation period’ where both euro and national currencies can circulate together as legal tender. During the dual circulation period retailers help remove the old currency by giving euro in change, and citizens can swap the old currency for euro at banks.
Exchanging at retail banks
During the dual circulation period, and in some cases for a longer period, exchanging old currencies for euro at high street banks can be done free of charge – but there are time limits, which also vary between countries and after which there may be a charge. There may also be restrictions on the amounts that can be exchanged in retail banks, although not at central banks.
Exchanging at central banks
Central banks continue to exchange the old national currency free of charge well after the retail banks stop doing it – which is very often at the end of the dual circulation period – and sometimes for an unlimited duration. In other cases, they set time limits that differ from one country to another and can also be different for banknotes and coins. Below is an exchange calendar that shows these time limits for exchanging old national currencies for each Member State of the euro area.
Central banks may also set limits on the maximum amount per transaction, and the series of national banknotes and coins accepted for exchange against euros, as in some cases very old cash may not be exchangeable. For specific exchange conditions applicable in each Member State, links to the respective national central banks are also provided in the table below.
Euro-area exchange calendars
National central bank
|Banknotes until||Coins until|
|Belgium||Unlimited||Expired in 2004|
|Cyprus||31 December 2017||Expired in 2009|
|Finland||Expired in 2012||Expired in 2012|
|France||Expired in 2012||Expired in 2005|
|Greece||Expired in 2012||Expired in 2004|
|Italy||Expired in 2012||Expired in 2012|
|Luxembourg||Unlimited||Expired in 2004|
|Malta||31 January 2018||Expired in 2010|
|Netherlands||1 January 2032||Expired in 2007|
|Portugal||28 February 2022||Expired in 2002|
|Slovenia||Unlimited||Expired in 2016|
|Slovakia||Unlimited||Expired in 2013|