On 1 December 2021, the National Bank of Romania (NBR) put into circulation a new 20-lei banknote. It is the first Romanian banknote to feature a notable Romanian woman, World War I lieutenant Ecaterina Teodoroiu. She initially served as a nurse during the war and became a soldier after her four brothers died in battle. She rose through the ranks to become Romania’s first female army officer and won commendations for valour. She died on the front lines age 23.

The public supports the movement toward featuring important women in Romanian history and society on the country’s currency. This also helps strengthen gender equality.

The banknote is printed on polymer substrate, in mixed offset/intaglio on both sides. It measures 136 x 77 mm and is predominantly olive green in colour.

The front side of the banknote features unique graphical elements such as:

  • A portrait of Ecaterina Teodoroiu and her lifespan (1894-1917)
  • A floral element depicting a bouquet of crocuses (Crocus flavus)
  • A badge of the Romanian Scouts (in the background)
  • “20 LEI DOUĂZECI,” printed horizontally
  • the Romanian coat of arms
  • a stylised image of the infantry insignia

The reverse side of the banknote features images that include:

  • The winged figure of Victory on the Victory Medal
  • An image of the Mărășești Mausoleum
  • A lily flower behind the Mausoleum
  • Serial number printed in black ink with same-size fonts on the left side, vertically, and in red ink, with fonts of ascending height on the top right side, horizontally.

The NBR lists the security features of the new note as follows:

  • Transparent windowin the shape of the “Military Virtue” medal contains the embossed denomination and a golden overprinted element depicting a bugle.
  • Watermark (shadow image): When the banknote is held up to the light, the portrait of Ecaterina Teodoroiu and the NBR logo appear at the left of the front side in the unprinted area.
  • Optically variable ink:Some elements shift colour from gold to green when the banknote is tilted.
  • Latent image:On the reverse, the “BNR” initials embedded beneath the image of the Mărășești Mausoleum; this element only becomes visible when the banknote is tilted parallel to the line of sight.
  • Iridescent stripe:Vertical golden translucent stripe incorporating the face value as “20”.
  • See-through register:Some fragments of the stylised depiction of the infantry insignia are printed above the bouquet on the front, with other fragments above the Mărășești Mausoleum on the reverse. When the note is held up into the light the infantry insignia is fully visible.
  • Magnetic security thread. Visible both on the front and reverse sides of the banknote when the note is held up to the light.
  • Intaglio (raised) printing:The main design elements are intaglio printed on both sides.
  • Microtext:Printed area with very small characters (less than 1 mm high) can be seen with a magnifying glass.
  • UV fluorescence:UV images include the face value and series of the banknote (unique, consisting of three digits, one letter and a seven-digit number). The vertical series on the left appears green in UV light, while the series on the right appears orange.


National Bank of Romania




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