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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Historical Sociology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)182-206
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


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

Cite this