“Too Weird for Banknotes”: Legitimacy and Identity in the Production of Danish Banknotes 1947–2007

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In this article I argue that questions of banknote design are closely related to ideas of the national collective. Using the Danish banknote design competitions from 1947 to 2007 as an exemplary case I show how the Danish central bank, Nationalbanken, continuously sought to balance banknote iconography between different and evolving perceptions of the national community in an attempt to underpin the legitimacy and authority of Danish banknotes. I suggest that concepts from institutional theory can explain this equipoise relationship and I argue that banknote designers need to somehow reconcile conflicting ideas about the national community. As such, this article contributes to a more detailed understanding of the considerations and challenges facing banknote-issuing authorities.
TidsskriftJournal of Historical Sociology
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)182-206
Antal sider25
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2016


  • Legitimacy
  • Banknote design
  • Authority
  • National communities
  • Ethnic identity