As of 1 December 2021, the National Bank of Romania is putting into circulation a banknote with face value of lei 20. The new banknote was presented to the public in a press conference Friday, 26 November 2021, at 12:00 p.m. by the Governor of the National Bank of Romania, Mr. Mugur Isărescu.
It is the first legal tender banknote which features a female personality: Ecaterina Teodoroiu. This responds to the legitimate public interest, which has been largely supported by the society, and helps strengthen gender equality and the major role of female personalities in Romanian history and society.
The banknote with a face value of lei 20 is printed on polymer substrate, with a mix of flat and raised printing technique, 136 x 77 mm in size and with the predominant colour olive green.
The obverse of the banknote shows the following representative graphical elements: the portrait of Ecaterina Teodoroiu, her birth and death years (1894-1917), a floral element depicting a bouquet of crocuses (Crocus flavus). In the background, the central area features a badge of the Romanian Scouts. The obverse also includes: the face value in figures and letters, “20 LEI DOUĂZECI” printed horizontally, the signatures of the Governor and the Chief Cashier, the coat of arms of Romania, the name of the issuing central bank “BANCA NAȚIONALĂ A ROMÂNIEI”, a stylised depiction of the infantry insignia, the NBR logo in a medallion, and, on the right, vertically, the face value in letters “DOUĂZECI LEI”, the circulation date “1 decembrie 2021”, the face value in figures “20”.
The reverse of the banknote features a graphic composition showing: a depiction of the winged figure of Victory on the Victory Medal, an image of the Mărășești Mausoleum and, behind the Mausoleum, a lily flower. The reverse also includes: the face value in letters and figures, the name of the issuing central bank “BANCA NAȚIONALĂ A ROMÂNIEI”, the NBR logo printed at the top right and bottom left in a rectangle, the text “FALSIFICAREA ACESTOR BILETE SE PEDEPSEȘTE CONFORM LEGILOR” (Forgery is punished according to the law), the serial number printed in black ink with same-size fonts on the left side, vertically, and in red ink, with fonts of ascending height on the top right side, horizontally.
To protect against forgery, the banknote includes a series of security features, some for the public, others traceable only when using special equipment, intended for employees in the banking system. The image of the banknote with all these security features will be presented in the press conference on 26 November.
The banknote with a face value of lei 20 will be put into circulation through the regional branches of the National Bank of Romania in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Constanța, Craiova, Iași and Timișoara, when making cash payments to credit institutions/the State Treasury.
Who was Ecaterina Teodoroiu
Ecaterina Teodoroiu (1894-1917) was a Romanian woman who fought and died in World War I and is celebrated as a heroine of the Romanian people.
A Scouts’ member, she had initially worked as a nurse but she subsequently decided to become a front-line soldier, being deeply impressed by the patriotism of the wounded and the death of her brother Nicolae, a sergeant in the Romanian Army. It was an unusual decision for a woman of that era, so she was sent to the front rather reluctantly. However, with the support of the Romanian Royal family, she was able to serve in the military and eventually came to be seen as a symbol.
In September1917, the Romanian lines were attacked in force by the German 40th Reserve Regiment of the 115th Infantry Division. While leading her platoon in a counterattack, Ecaterina Teodoroiu was hit by machine gun fire in the chest (according to some accounts), or in the head (according to other accounts).
According to the historical accounts, her last words before dying were: “Forward, men, don’t give up, I’m still with you!”