Design of the banknotes

The General Council of the Riksbank decides what our banknotes and coins should look like. The signatures on the banknotes are those of the Chairman of the Riksbank's General Council and the Governor of the Riksbank.


Each banknote carries a portrait of a person on the obverse. Each of these persons has a connection with an area of Sweden. The reverse of each banknote carries a natural and environmental motif that is connected to the person. Different parts of the country are thus represented by the natural and environmental motifs of the new banknotes.

The persons portrayed on the banknotes' obverses have been selected according to particular criteria:

  • They had major cultural achievements.
  • They were active in the 20th century.
  • They are popular with the general public and are well-known internationally.

There is an even distribution of men and women and there is some historical distance to the persons.

Engraving and composition

The portraits on the banknotes were engraved by Gunnar Nehls. The composition of the banknotes was created by Crane AB's design team under the leadership of Karin Mörck Hamilton. The composition is based on the artistic starting point developed by Göran Österlund.

Material and design

The main substances in Swedish banknotes are cotton (cellulose), synthetic polymers, such as polyester, water and titanium dioxide. The notes are printed using banknote printing inks on banknote paper. The paper is made from cotton fibres that contain various security features, such as security bands, an embedded security thread and invisible UV fluorescent fibres.

The printing inks for offset printing, intaglio, UV fluorescent printing and screen printing contain pigments (organic and inorganic), resin, mineral oils, vegetable oils, waxes (natural and synthetic) and drying agents (cobalt acetate).

The embedded security thread contains iron and aluminium, among other substances.

The banknotes also contain very small amounts of other additives that make the paper stronger. These include, for instance, CarboxyMethylCellulose, epichlorohydrin resin and N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone. N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone is harmful in concentrated form but the banknotes contain very small quantities. According to investigations made by the Riksbank and the banknote supplier, there are no health risks in handling banknotes.

The banknotes have special details in intaglio print which makes it easier for visually-impaired people to tell them apart.

An efficient means of payment

There are several basic requirements if banknotes are to function as an efficient means of payment. The banknotes have been designed so that

  • it is easy for everyone to recognise a genuine banknote
  • they are difficult to counterfeit
  • they can easily be distinguished from one another
  • they will have as little impact on the environment as possible
  • they are hard-wearing
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Updated 13/09/2019