header Notes Collection

20 Kronor 1997, Sweden

in Krause book Number: 63a
Years of issue: 1997
Signatures: Kjell-Olof Feldt, Urban Bäckström
Serie: 1997 Issue
Specimen of: 1997
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 120 х 67
Printer: Tumba Bruk (Crane and Co.), Tumba, Sweden

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** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

20 Kronor 1997




Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf.


20 Kronor 1997

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The main motif on the 20-krona banknote is a portrait of the writer Selma Lagerlöf. The portrait is an engraving of a photograph taken by "Jaegers studio" in 1922. Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf (20 November 1858 - 16 March 1940) received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1909 and was a member of the Swedish Academy from 1914. She is the first woman to have been depicted on a Swedish banknote.

She was born in Östra Emterwik, Värmland, Sweden. She was brought up on Mårbacka, the family estate, which she did not leave until 1881, when she went to a teachers' college at Stockholm. In 1885 she became a teacher at the girls' secondary school in Landskrona. She had been writing poetry ever since she was a child, but she did not publish anything until 1890, when a Swedish weekly gave her the first prize in a literary competition and published excerpts from the book which was to be her first, best, and most popular work. Gösta Berlings Saga was published in 1891, but went unnoticed until its Danish translation received wide critical acclaim and paved the way for the book's lasting success in Sweden and elsewhere. In 1895 financial support from the royal family and the Swedish Academy encouraged her to abandon teaching altogether. She travelled in Italy and wrote Antikrists mirakler (1897) [The Miracles of Antichrist], a novel set in Sicily. After several minor works she published Jerusalem (1901-1902) [The Holy City], a novel about Swedish peasants who emigrated to the Holy Land and whom she had visited in 1900. This work was her first immediate success. A book intended as a primer for elementary schools became one of the most charming children's books in any language: Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (1906) [The Wonderful Adventures of Nils].

None of her later works matched the power or success of Gösta Berlings Saga. In the mid-twenties she published the historical trilogy: Löwensköldska Ringen (1925), Charlotte Löwensköld (1927), and Anna Svärd (1928) [The Ring of the Löwenskölds, 3 vols.]. She also published several volumes of reminiscences under the title Mårbacka (1922-1932).

At March 16, 1940, after a long illness, Selma died of peritonitis at the age of 81. (

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The face of the banknote contains the introduction to "Gösta Berlings Saga", her first novel. The introduction is taken partly from the author's original manuscript and partly from the first edition's initial letters. The story is set in the Värmland mill and country estate environment where she herself grew up.

In the background you can see a stylized landscape from Värmland, showing a forest and a lake. This theme is also taken up in the micro lettering that runs along the right-hand edge of the banknote, which translates as follows:

"Sjön har sina källor ganska långt upp i norr och där är ett härligt land för en sjö. Skogen och bergen upphöra aldrig att samla vatten åt den. Strömmar och bäckar störta ned i den året om. Den har fin vit sand". (The lake has its sources far up in the north, and the country is a perfect country for a lake. The forest and the mountains are always collecting water for it; tiny rivers and brooks stream into it the whole year around. It has fine white sand).

This text is taken from Gösta Berlings Saga. The spaces and punctuation marks are left out of the micro lettering.

On the face of the note there is also an engraved vignette of a horse and carriage, with Selma Lagerlöf as passenger, as well as a brief extract from the first edition of Gösta Berlings Saga.

The background of arable and pasture-land consists of various machine-drawn guilloche patterns - fine lines - using offset printing.

Denominations in numerals are in top left and lower right corners. In words at the top.


20 Kronor 1997

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On reverse of the note the motif of passage from Selma Lagerlöf's book "Nils Holgersson's Wonderful Journey Through Sweden" (Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige) finished in 1906, with Nils and Mårten goose flying over the flatlands of Skåne, in southern Sweden.

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Lower, in fields, is Glimmingehus visible.

Glimmingehus, located in Simrishamn Municipality, Scania, in southern Sweden, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, "murder-holes" for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

The artwork placed over the castle entrance by Jens Holgersen Ulfstand commemorate the foundation-laying year as 1499. Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

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An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the XVIII century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board (Swedish: Riksantikvarieämbetet).

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of story telling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".

Denominations in numerals are in top left and lower right corners. In words in lower left corner.


Graver: Toni Hanzon and Agnes Miski (little picture with Selma sitting in a carriage).

I got this banknote at the sea ferry Kiel, Germany - Gotheborg, Sweden in August 2009.

The current 20-krona note, with a purple tone in the format (67 x 120 mm.), was first issued in 1997. Prior to that there was a 20-krona note with the same motif, but the note was larger (72 x 130 mm.) and had a bluer tone instead of purple. The older note was issued from 1992 and became invalid on 1 January 2006.

You can see from the banknote number which year the note was printed. The first figure is the same as the last figure in the year of printing. The second and third figures show the decade the note was printed, in accordance with a special code.