Planet Money

Estonian Kroon, R.I.P.

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Farewell Lydia  Koidula, Estonian poet and playwright.

Farewell, Lydia Koidula, Estonian poet and playwright. NiaD/Flickr hide caption

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Today is the last day Estonians can walk into a store and buy something with Estonian kroons. As of tomorrow, they'll have to use euros.

Estonia is the newest member of the Euro Zone. The majority of Estonians are supportive of the move to the euro. But they’re also sad to say goodbye to the kroon.

The currency was introduced in 1991 after Estonia gained independence from the Soviet Union, and became a symbol of independence.

Mihkel Raud, writer and judge on Estonian Idol, remembers when he held his first kroons. "That's probably the very moment when I realized, hey, we are living in an independent country," he says.

Some Estonians even remember their first purchase with kroons. For Hando Sinsalu, a business owner in Tallinn, it was a hamburger.

This week, Estonians have been considering what to buy with their last kroons.

Üllar Jaaksoo, a software company CEO, says he thought about it for weeks — then decided to buy pencils for his future grandchildren.


They represent language and the arts, Jaaksoo says. And he wants to be able to tell his grandchildren they were bought with Estonian money.

After today, any remaining kroons have to be turned into the central bank. Central bank official Viljar Rääsk says the bank will shred the bills and then, most likely, "we will burn them in order to generate heat."



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