Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier
Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier

Tidsskriftet

Pengesedlers ikonografi udtrykker ofte ønsket om at gengive den seddeludstedende nation på en bestemt måde. Derfor er pengesedler interessante kilder til en national selvopfattelse. Artiklen analyserer nationalbankens valg af seddelmotiver til nye pengesedler fra 1908 til 2007. I denne periode blev der afholdt 4 designkonkurrencer, hvor professionelle kunstnere og den brede offentlighed blev bedt om at komme med egnede motiver til nye danske pengesedler. Ved at se på interne overvejelser i Nationalbanken og på offentlighedens modtagelse af nye pengesedler, afdækker artiklen to forskellige og modsatrettede opfattelser af typisk danske værdier. Tilblivelsen af danske pengesedler afspejler en officiel, nationalromantisk fortælling om nationen samt en mere dagligdags og profan opfattelse af ’det danske’. Analysen afdækker, at Nationalbanken næsten altid har valgt den første, officielle og romantiske fortælling.

English summary

To design Danishness: performances of the nation on Danish banknotes

In this article, I analyse four different banknote-design competitions that were hosted by Denmark’s National Bank (Nationalbanken) between 1908 and 2007. The proposals for new banknotes have evoked different narratives about the national community, and I describe how these proposals were characterised by two opposing trends: one style alluded to a romantic national narrative by using ancient relics, barrows and classical landscapes to highlight a common history of origin; the other included more popular and commonplace motifs, such as foodstuff, industry and leisure activities. Historically, Nationalbanken has struggled to balance these different trends while preserving the notes’ legitimacy, and it has endeavoured to make the notes reflect contemporary Danish values. However, as the design processes unfolded over 100 years, the bank’s governors seemed to reconsider such ideas and, despite being given different suggestions, they have always chosen the most conservative iconography. I suggest that decision-makers within the bank have been reluctant to innovate banknote designs and make the notes reflect contemporary values, out of fear that such motives might jeopardise the trustworthiness of Danish paper currency. In maintaining this attitude, Nationalbanken has ultimately reinforced a romanticist narrative about the Danish nation.