The Oesterreichische Nationalbank marks its 200th anniversary in 2016

(, Vienna)

Austria’s guardian of price stability turns 200

The Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) marks its 200th anniversary in 2016 with a range of special activities and events to illustrate to the general public the important role the OeNB has been playing for Austria’s monetary system since the year 1816.

On June 1, 1816, Emperor Francis I founded the “privilegirte oesterreichische National-Bank” by issuing two exclusive rights called “patents,” which makes the OeNB one of the oldest central banks in the world. These two patents, one of which granted the independent National-Bank the exclusive right to issue banknotes, aimed at reestablishing monetary order in the Empire after the turbulence of the Napoleonic wars. In the first decades of its existence, the bank served to finance government debt, but over the course of the past 200 years, its tasks have changed fundamentally. Today, the OeNB – as an independent central bank – is responsible for safeguarding price stability and financial stability. Most recently, the introduction of the euro marked the largest currency changeover in the OeNB’s 200-year history.

Anniversary projects and activities in 2016

A wide range of projects and activities tailored to different audiences are scheduled for the anniversary year.

On the OeNB’s website, the section 200th anniversary of the OeNB provides information about all the anniversary-related offerings and main activities. Moreover, an interactive timeline (German only) highlights the milestones in the OeNB’s history.

On January 18, 2016, the Austrian Mint (Münze Österreich AG) and Austrian Post (Österreichische Post AG) will present, together with the OeNB, a EUR 2 commemorative coin as well as a special-issue stamp. Both the coin and stamp will be available from January 18, 2016.

On January 28, 2016, the OeNB will present two books marking its 200th anniversary. The richly illustrated historical volume “Memories of a Central Bank. Oesterreichische Nationalbank. Since 1816,” which also includes previously unpublished visual materials, takes the reader on a colorful journey through the OeNB’s 200-year history.  The book published by Brandstätter will be available for purchase from end-January 2016.

In the second book “The Quest for Stable Money. Central Banking in Austria, 1816–2016,” published by Campus, the authors, Clemens Jobst (OeNB) and Hans Kernbauer (Vienna University of Economics and Business), look at monetary policy and monetary history from a researcher’s perspective. Both anniversary books will also be available in English.

Historical time series that span the period from 1816 to 2016 and cover central banking topics such as OeNB balance sheets, credit institutions, interest and exchange rates as well as macroeconomic indicators will complement the OeNB’s historical reminiscences. These time series will be released on the OeNB’s website over the course of the first half of 2016.

On April 11, 2016, the special exhibition “Guardian of the currency. 200 years Oesterreichische Nationalbank” will open at the Money Museum of the OeNB. The exhibition catalogue will be available both in German and in English. More information on this exhibition and on the opening hours of the Money Museum will be published on the OeNB’s website in due course.

In spring 2016, the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF will air its feature-length documentary “Money and Life” dedicated to the eventful history of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank. This film includes statements by OeNB representatives and contemporaries. Also, the OeNB plans to launch a radio competition together with the ORF radio station Ö3 in May 2016, which will put listeners’ knowledge of the OeNB and financial literacy to the test.

In addition to the above-mentioned anniversary products and activities, the OeNB will also mark its bicentennial by hosting several conferences. On April 28 and 29, 2016, the OeNB will host the annual conference of the European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH) entitled “Did Globalization Increase or Decrease Financial Stability? 500 Years of Financial Interconnection.”

On May 19 and 20, 2016, the 7th Austrian numismatics conference examining the stability and instability of monetary systems will take place at the OeNB.

On June 1, 2016, the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) will – on the occasion of the OeNB’s establishment – hold its monetary policy meeting in Vienna. At a ceremony on June 2, 2016, renowned speakers including top representatives from politics, business, finance and academia will shed light on “Central Bank Policies – Past Challenges and Future Perspectives.”

Also in early June, a work commissioned by the OeNB from the renowned Austrian composer Thomas Larcher will premiere as part of the Vienna Philharmonic subscription concert series.

On September 13 and 14, 2016, the OeNB will host a research and policy conference that combines its Economics Conference and Conference on European Economic Integration (CEEI) and is jointly organized with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). With this conference titled “Central Banking in Times of Change” the OeNB’s anniversary activities will draw to a close.

All anniversary-related news will be communicated on the OeNB’s website under the section “200th anniversary of the OeNB” as the year 2016 progresses.