Yardley, Monday 17 December 2001
The Netherlands bid the guilder farewell.

Every Dutchman has received a coupon, to get a free set of all the euro coins. Friday the 14th, the national collect-your-euro-coins-day, came too late for me. Never mind, I'm not in a hurry to meet the euro (

I will see the euro coins only in 2002. As compensation I've already said goodbye to the Dutch guilder.

  • I sent out my last invoice in guilders last week.
  • Two Saturdays ago I fiercely tried to get rid of a magnitude of dimes and nickles. I exchanged bags of change for my weekly groceries at the market.
  • My overseas Christmas cards consumed my last guilder stamps. As I was short of stamps, I had to add some euro stamps. Still it did not suffice.
  • Schiphol airport's post office, well disguised as 'communication centre' on the first floor, added some guilder stickers. Every envelop turned into a collage of three kinds of stamps. How an overseas postal service will make sense of this is a mystery to me.
  • Back on the ground level I take a last look at my collection of francs, Portuguese escudos and Irish pounds. A piece of personal history disappears into a collection box.
  • What is left is a pocket filled with the last guilders, Dutch quarters, dimes and nickles. I rid myself of them in the duty free shop. My last 25 guilder note and tenner are not enough. I pay the remainder with my debit card, my very last guilder purchase.
Saying goodbye to a currency is part of a holiday ritual. Usually the local coins become redundant on the way home.

And this is exactly what is so special about this goodbye. I am at the beginning of a holiday, just left home.

In a few weeks, at the end of this journey, the euro will be a new currency to me. It will be as if I have just arrived at a new holiday destination. On the road, yet home.

Till next week.