By Bank of Latvia….
On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, Bank of Latvia (Latvijas Banka) issued a 2-euro commemorative coin featuring a nesting stork. The coin is legal tender in the Republic of Latvia and all the euro area countries. Like all other circulating money, this coin will be released to special points of sale and other enterprises, as well as to the population via commercial banks.
The coin is available for exchange at the Cashier’s Offices of the Bank of Latvia in Riga and Liepāja as of December 1. The issuing volume of the 2-euro commemorative coin “The Stork” is one million. The experience of the Bank of Latvia shows that this volume is sufficient to meet demand (at least for several weeks) from all interested parties. 10,000 Brilliant Uncirculated coins in special souvenir packing will also be on sale (7.30 euro each at the bank’s Cashier’s Offices). 10,000 special sets of nine Latvian euro circulation coins, including the commemorative coin “The Stork” in Brilliant Uncirculated quality, will also be available (19.00 euros each at Cashier’s Offices).
The image of a nesting stork, designed by Olga Šilova and featured on the very first 1-lats coin once introducing Bank of Latvia’s special series of 1-lats circulation coins, has been restored to live again on the new 2-euro commemorative coin struck in Lithuania by UAB Lithuanian Mint (UAB Lietuvos monetų kalykla).
In Latvia, storks are symbolically associated with long life and faithfulness. Not only in Latvia but also for many other nations, the stork, known also as svētelis in Latvian, is presumed to be a saintly bird, and blessed is the house that storks choose for nesting. At times when the nation’s survival is questioned, households blessed with children become nationally meaningful.
It is similarly meaningful that the designs of Latvian money, now a part of the Latvian Cultural Canon, start living a second life on the euro, thus winning recognition for Latvian national culture across the entire euro area. Money is a medium of payment and saving; its design, at the same time, represents the country and its sustainable continuance, with nature conservation as a precondition.
According to Viesturs Ķerus, CEO of the Latvian Ornithological Society, around 14 thousand pairs of white storks and 180 to 240 pairs of black storks are nesting in the territory of Latvia at present.
“Either white storks in the fields or black ones from forest tracts of Latvia, the people of Latvia are deeply concerned about the population of these birds, and those who generally care for birds are members of the Latvian Ornithological Society for 30 years now. Over time, the number of white storks has markedly increased, while that of the black storks has undergone a dramatic decline. On numerous occasions, the population of storks and birds in general is nowadays affected by unreasonable money chasing; admittedly, nature conservation without funding nowadays is not conceivable either. Therefore, we are glad that the Latvian Bank is issuing this coin to serve as a symbolic reminder that financial capability is crucial for well-being while preserving Latvia’s natural wealth as its integral part,” notes V. Ķerus.
Most populations of both white and black storks are nesting in Europe. Due to insufficient protection, these species are among those distinguished by the European Parliament and Council Directive as requiring effective conservation measures to ensure their survival and reproduction. The black stork is among the European nature conservation flagship species, and 10 years ago Latvia adopted a conservation action plan for their protection. Latvia has participated in all white stork nesting site count campaigns since 1934, including also the most recent 7th International White Stork Census held in all European countries in 2014 and 2015.
Often designated as the land of storks, Latvia is proud to be the place where almost 5% of world total white stork nestlings hatch, and to mark this event the Bank of Latvia is issuing a new 2-euro commemorative coin featuring a stork.
The bank is carrying on the tradition of minting circulation coins of special design in Latvia. Each country in the euro area is entitled to issue two 2-euro commemorative coins with special designs per year (this year, Latvia has produced a 2-euro commemorative coin to honour the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU). Also, a third coin can be issued under a programme jointly organised by several euro area countries. This year, the Latvian Bank has already issued a 2-euro commemorative coin marking 30 years of the EU flag.
The next 2-euro commemorative coin will bear the image of a cow, once designed by artist Gunārs Lūsis and featured on the Latvian 2-lats circulation coin as a symbol of farming for a long time.