Recurring debates on the common European currency illustrate that monetary organisation and issues of national identity and community are closely interlinked. National sentiments and ideas about the nation continuously inform public attitudes towards currencies. This article addresses the interrelation between monetary organisation and nationalism. In the conflict between the Danish state and the Duchies of Schleswig-Holstein in the nineteenth century, banks and currencies were mobilised as political symbols to promote an agenda of regional nationalism. The local Schleswig-Holstein currency and the local Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesbank became symbolic antagonists to the Danish central bank and to the official state-sanctioned currency – which by Danish policy-makers were considered key elements in the attempt to consolidate the Danish state and curtail Hamburg's economic influence. The analysis highlights the symbolic qualities of monetary institutions and points to the entwinement of economic motivations and nationalist ideology that consequently affected the possibilities for Danish monetary organisation and nation-building; it thus contributes to our understanding of currencies and banks as nation-building tools and symbols of national community.
- Central bank
- Nineteenth century