Normandy region to get its own as-yet-unnamed currency

Normandy is to have its own currency, with name options so far including “Rollon”, “Drakkar”, “Normand”, and “Viking”

Normandy is to have its own currency, which will operate in five departments, and be accepted alongside the Euro in shops and local establishments that join the scheme.

The as-yet-unnamed currency - name options so far include “Rollon”, “Drakkar”, “Normand”, and “Viking” - is expected to be introduced before the end of March this year, and will be accessible through a smartphone app allowing shoppers to pay in participating establishments, explains newspaper Le Figaro today.

It will be an option in five departments: Calvados, Eure, Manche, Orne and Seine-Maritime.

The idea is not to replace the Euro, but to stimulate the region’s economy and incentivise people to shop locally. It will be managed by currency association Monnaie Normande, which will take charge of the circulation and maintenance.

The currency will only work in Normandy itself, and will not have any value in terms of exchange, use elsewhere, or any significant inflation or increase in worth.

This means that inhabitants will not be able to exchange their Normandy money for Euros or other currencies, and there will be little point in saving much in your smartphone account, as the money’s value will not increase with time.

The introduction of a regional currency has been a long-held ambition of Normandy president, Hervé Morin.

In a statement, he said: “This is a way to value the Normandy culture and to strengthen links between individuals and businesses in the region.”

It is thought that some shops might pay a proportion of workers’ wages in the new money, and that local establishments such as public swimming pools could also use it for entrance tickets.

The region has allocated €400,000 to the project ahead of its introduction, and a partner bank will offer €100,000 to guarantee the value of the currency, explained Gérard Heit, president of Monnaie Normande.

There are around 40 local currencies in France but Normandy is the first area in the country to offer an official separate money for the entire region.

Yet, the “eusko” in Pays Basque appears to be thriving. As Le Figaro explains, it was created in 2013, and there are now 750,000 euskos in circulation. Last year, a digital eusko card was introduced, and over 750 shops and businesses - along with €300,000 inhabitants - are now said to use the currency.

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