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30 April, 2012

Elegy for Øre

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

As of tomorrow, the 50 øre coin is no longer legal tender in Norway.

50 øre coin

Not to scale.

The Norwegian krone is divided into 100 øre, but the 50 øre coin is the last physical representation of this. It’ll still be possible, as far as I know, to pay a bill at the bank with a sum including øre, but when using cash, the concept is effectively gone.

And I can see why, much as I am a nostalgic fart trapped in my own rosy vision of the past. I never use the damn things myself. Tiny little coins taking up place in my wallet, to be ditched at the first possible opportunity, which is rarely when making a purchase. Most of them probably ended up in various charity collections, cheap-ass as that is. A coin that doesn’t circulate is a waste, and getting rid of it makes sense. Even so, it feels a bit like we’re losing something, with the øre disappearing.

I am just old enough to remember the 10 øre coin, which was discontinued when I was six. My grandmother had an old tin piggy bank which consisted of two halves joined at the middle; to open it you pulled the whole thing apart. That thing was filled to the rim with 10 øre coins, stored up over time as that coin, too, ceased to have a use in circulation. As a child, i would empty them all into a big pile and then reassemble the pig and put them all back in one by one.

In hindsight, perhaps my parents should have had me tested.

Anyway, the point is, I have a lot of nostalgia tied up in the øre, and now it’s disappearing. There’s something about the phrase “kroner og øre” that fills me with the same kind of pleasure as the term “pound sterling”. Not just “pounds”, mind you, it needs the “sterling”. It is nostalgia, but somehow not just nostalgia. I don’t know how to explain it. It hits just the right spots in my brain.

Yeah, I probably won’t miss the coin. It’s a stupid coin, you cannot buy anything with it. But I’ll miss the concept of the øre as a tangible thing.


  1. That is exactly how I feel about it, too. I will also miss – to a much less extent – synergy of the bronze-silver-gold look on the coins in order of value. When they discontinued the 5-øre coin in ’82, we went without the bottom level visual until they changed the 50-øre look to the present one in the mid-nineties.

    On the one hand, it irks me to think of the 1 kroner as low enough to be bronze in colour. On the other, it irks me to think of having to wait another fifteen-twenty years before they get around to restoring the bottom end of the visual system.

    In short, the whole thing irks – and saddens – me.

    Comment by Loki — 30 April, 2012 @ 09:19

  2. I heard it here first, and my first thought was “Yes, FINALLY, I’ve been thinking they should get rid of this thing for ages”.

    Luckily I pay mainly with cards, so I won’t be fleeced of 40 øre whenever I pay for something that costs xx,60. Or I guess it adds up, because if I buy something that costs less, like xx,40, I’ll save 40 øre

    PS. Hey cool, I really enjoy putting coins into slots, too!

    Comment by David Sanchez — 5 May, 2012 @ 14:17

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