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M: Hello and welcome to German Survival Phrases brought to you by germanpod101.com, this course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Germany. You will be surprised at how far a little German will go. Now before we jump in, remember to stop by germanpod101.com and there you will find the accompanying PDF and additional info in the post. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.
F: German Survival Phrases. Lesson 18, Currency. In Germany, the currency is the Euro. Denominations consisting of Euro and Euro cent. As of today, the exchange rate is roughly 1.5 Euro to USD1 and roughly $0.60 to ¥100. Paper currency includes 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Euro bills and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Euro cent coins as well as 1 and 2 Euro coins. When you are in Germany, you will notice that some of the coins look different. This is because the Euro is the currency in almost all of Europe and every country was allowed individual motives on their coins. To understand the significance of that, you have to remember that every European country had a different currency before. The Germans had [Mark] and [Pfennig], the French had [Franc] and [Centimes], Austria had [Schilling] and [Groschen] and Italy had [Lire] and [Centesimi] and that’s only a couple of the countries that are now paying with the Euro. Norway still has Norwegian [Krone] and [Öre]. So before the Euro was established, you always had to change your money when you travel to another country and every time you couldn’t help the feeling to be paying with toy money because it looks so foreign. You might know that feeling but the Euro is rather easy to get used to. All the bills look the same and you will find a pattern there. The 5 Euro bill is gray with an antique building. The 10 Euro bill is red with a building from Romanticism [Ära] the 20 Euro bill is blue with the Gothic building, the 50 Euro bill is orange with a Renaissance building, the 10 Euro bill is green with a Baroque and Rococo building, the 200 Euro bill is yellow brown with a building from the industrial era, the 500 Euro bill is purple with a sample of modern architecture. On the back, you always find a matching bridge a silhouette of Europe. Only the coins have different motives. Every country was free to design their coins just the way they want to and this is the reason why you sometimes can find coins with the same value but with a different layout on the back side. Since we are interested in German money, let’s cover the motives that German Euros have. The 1 and 2 Euro cent coins show some oak leaves. They are the symbol of the German confederation, a movement that meant to unite all the small countries in Germany and Austria. There was a lot of political tension between Germany and Austria because both wanted to be the dominant power but the German confederation went a long way in establishing a unified trade system. The 10, 20 and 50 Euro cent coins show the Brandenburg Gate. It is a very important symbol for Germany. When the Berlin Wall was erected, the gate was closed and when the wall fell, East and West Germans embraced each other on the place in front of the gate first. Today it is a symbol for United Germany since it also was part of the end of the cold war, it also represents the European Unification process now for the 1 and 2 Euro coins. There, you will find the Coat of arms of Germany an eagle. It was used on and off since 1871 and it is used in its current design since 1950. You will also find the words [Einigkeit, Recht und Freiheit] engraved on the side of the 2 Euro coin. This is part of the national anthem. Since 2004, there are also a couple of special 2 Euro coinages showing numerous European historical or contemporary events. Also you will find 12 stars as a symbol of the EU as well as the year in which the coin was coined and a letter which identifies the location in which the coin was coined. Enough of the theory, let’s go to some practical questions. For example, what is a good amount of money to carry? Well, if you consider transportation and food, you should calculate 100 to 150 Euro per person per week. Of course, you can save a lot of that money by buying food in a supermarket instead of eating out but these are your holidays, you probably don’t want to. If you want to go sightseeing and intend to see a few things, 50 to 70 Euro seemed like a wise rate. Also it depends on what you want to see. If you inform yourselves beforehand, you might be able to find a price list for most of the common museums, theaters, movies, bus and alike. If you intend to see a musical, one performance alone usually costs about 60 Euros. Everything else basically depends on how many souvenirs you want to buy and if you look for brands or not. To give you a feeling for the Euro, it might be a good idea to name the prices of products you know which of course include one of the world’s most famous fast food places, McDonalds. A Hamburger and a cheese burger both cost about 1 Euro which equates to $1.50, a Big Mac costs about €3.10 which are about $4.50. So this way, you can compare prices across a lot of countries. Now the foreign exchange rate is always fluctuating but I like to calculate the rate as roughly €1.50 per $1. Using this rough equation, a 10 Euro bill has about the same value as $15. As for phrases necessary for foreign exchange, we will cover that in another lesson.
M: That’s going to do it for today.