Germans have garnered plenty of economic benefit from the euro over the years as the common currency – fundamentally undervalued in Germany – allowed peripheral European nations to be able to purchase more German exports.However, a lot of Germans still have a special place for the old German Deutsche mark. Literally – that special place is under their mattresses, and the currency Germany used before transitioning to the euro is starting to resurface again.
Germans are starting to pay for everyday purchases with their old Deutsche marks. The Wall Street Journal’s Vanessa Fuhrmans reports:
With so much left of the currency—which is exchanged at about 1.96 marks per euro—some retailers have made a mint from taking it in.
“Leave your last pfennig in Gaiberg!” read the slogan of this hilltop village’s annual May campaign to lure the former German pennies, coins and notes to its handful of restaurants and shops.
“We’re not doing this just to do people a favour,” said Mr. Schaetzle of Gaiberg, where shoppers from as far as Frankfurt spent 15,000 marks this May. “Probably 90% of it is money we’d otherwise never see.”
Furhmans points out that there is a special reason for the Germans’ nostalgia toward the old currency, writing that it “became a symbol of the country’s postwar economic miracle amid the ashes of World War II and one of the few in which Germans could comfortably express national pride.”
That same general feeling of connection to the European Project is clearly lacking in Germany.