Star Turn

Author:Niccole Braynen-Kimani and Melinda Weir
Position:NICCOLE BRAYNEN-KIMANI and MELINDA WEIR are on the staff of Finance & Development.
Star Turn
s new banknotes spotlight the heroes among its
flora and fauna
Niccole Braynen-Kimani and Melinda Weir
Humorous ads, like this one depicting the 25 florin banknote’s troupial bird getting camera-ready, helped to introduce
Aruba’s 2019 banknote series. The 25 florin’s features include the passion flower, known for its medicinal value, and
traditional pottery.
IT IS SAID THAT laughter is the best medicine,
and for Arubans, a good dose of humor was
just the remedy to help them accept the rst
new currency design since 1990. Before last
year’s overhaul, the orin had been upgraded
only once, in 2003, but the former series had
become outdated and a target for counterfeitin g.
Armed with a smal l team in a small ban k on a
small island, t he Central Bank of Aruba (CBA)
set out to upgrade its currency—a journey that
lasted seven years, c elebrated some native stars,
and won the country an internat ional award.
Blessed with beautifu l beaches, cool breezes,
and lots of sunshine, Ar ubans have plenty to
smile about. But getting the loca l population to
accept what the CBA was tr ying to do with its
new banknote series wa s a challenge. “Central
banks are ver y dry institutions,” says Jane Semeleer,
president of the CBA. She and her team knew
that just putting the new notes into circulation
and hoping they caught on might not work—an
easygoing Ar uban smile and nod were not going
to be enough.
To introduce the elements contained in the new
2019 series to a population still attached to the
country’s old banknotes, the ban k hit on the idea
of featuring the isla nd’s indigenous wildlife in a
series of comical poses for a n outreach campaign
called “Streanan di Aruba” (“Stars of Ar uba”).
Ads depicted the currency’s fauna celebrities bei ng
primped for their starring roles —think Hollywood
glam meets tropical w ildlife: birds getting “pedicu res,”
an iguana at t he salon.
e CBA team wanted to spark public cur iosity
and dialogue about the native stars on the new
bills, so they promoted them via socia l and tradi-
tional media. e ca mpaign was a “huge success,”
according to Semeleer, and more than 85 percent
of the old notes were returned before they were
taken out of circulation.
Local pride
e CBA worked with local ar tists accustomed to
capturing the isla nd’s beauty in paintings. e new
designs needed to feature A ruba’s ora and fauna—
particula rly animals that rarely get a se cond glance,
like the red land crab, the enda ngered green turtle,
the Caracar a cheriway and the troupial bird, and
the iguana— all of which now have their perpetua l
day in the sun on the new bank notes. Semeleer says
it was important to showcase a side of Ar uba other
than its renowned beaches. “Nat ure competes with
tourism, and to have a sustainable indust ry, we have
to keep our natural ha bitat in balance,” she stressed.
“Aruba’s nature is beautiful, and worth preser ving.”
e vibrant colors and enhanced sec urity features
of the new family of notes signa led that the CBA
team might have an awa rd-winning design series
on its hands. e International Ban k Note Society
(IBNS) agreed, choosing the A ruban 100 orin
banknote, with its cheek y young green iguana (they
turn gray as the y age) as 2019 Banknote of the Year.

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