Belgium switched to the euro since 2002, but about 16 billion Belgian francs have still not been exchanged for the newer currency, the National Bank of Belgium (BNB) indicated on Wednesday. The unchanged francs represent about 400 million euros.
Of the last series printed, which totalled 273.8 million bills, 15 million bills (5.5%) were not exchanged. According to BNB Spokesman Geert Sciot, they have either been hoarded in Belgium or abroad, thrown away or destroyed.
The highest numbers of missing bills are the 100- and 200-franc denominations, 10% and 12% of which, respectively, have not yet been handed in, as against 0.8% of 10,000-franc notes.
More than 115,000 bills have been exchanged in the last few years for a total of about 300 million euros. The amount has been decreasing from year to year, but the national bank has maintained the exchange system.
All banknotes printed from 1944 to 2001 can be exchanged, except for 20- and 50-franc ones. Coins cannot be exchanged.