Chiemgauer is the name of a regional local currency started in 2003 in Prien am Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany. It is named after the Chiemgau, a region around the Chiemsee. The Chiemgauer program is intended to promote local commerce. The Chiemgauer operates with a fixed exchange rate: 1 Chiemgauer = €1.
Creation and objectives
Christian Gelleri, a high school teacher, started this project with his students who are in charge of designing and printing vouchers, administration, accounting, advertising and other services. Chiemgauer is member of a regional currencies' network called Regiogeld e. V. (regiomoney-association).
The Chiemgauer is intended for:
- Employment creation: unemployed, students and volunteers are hired to work, earning some allowances.
- Promotion of cultural, educational and environmental activities: the Chiemgauer system supports non-profits who work for such purposes
- Promotion of sustainability: organic food and renewable energy among others
- Strengthening the solidarity: enhancing the human relationship between local shoppers and businesses
- Stimulation of local economy: Chiemgauer retains purchasing power within the region better than the euro and favors local small businesses, stimulating transactions by the demurrage.
- Express-Money: Example for a complementary currency on a national level
Currency issue, exchange and acceptance
Bills of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 Chiemgauer are issued. To maintain an individual bill's validity, a "scrip" corresponding to 2% of the banknote value must be paid every three months. (This system, called demurrage, is a form of currency circulation tax and was invented by Silvio Gesell.)
Chiemgauer, considered to be equivalent to the euro, circulates as follows within Prien and neighboring towns:
- Non-profits: entitled to purchase 100 Chiemgauer at €97 and resell them at €100, thereby earning €3 to be spent for their own activities.
- Shoppers: exchange €100 for 100 Chiemgauer at a non-profit they support, allowing the non-profit to benefit from the preferential purchase price. Also, spend Chiemgauer at local businesses at face value, thereby helping both local non-profits and businesses without any further cost.
- Businesses: accept 100 Chiemgauer at face value and spend them for their own purchases or exchange 100 Chiemgauer into €95, losing 5% for commission but earning more by attracting Chiemgauer members to their products and/or services. Of this, €2 is devoted to administrative costs, and €3 replaces the original discount to the non-profit.
- Number of members: 3300 (2007: 2100)
- Number of businesses: 600
- Amount of Chiemgauer in circulation: 550000 Chiemgauer (Dec 2011)
- Turnover (2011): 6200000 Chiemgauer (2007: 2300000 Chiemgauer, 2006: 1450000 Chiemgauer)
- Income for non-profit organizations (2011): 50200 Chiemgauer (2007: 25100 Chiemgauer, 2006: 16800 Chiemgauer)
- Total income for non-profit since 2005: 234000 Chiemgauer
- Westervelt, Eric; From Stalwart To Skeptic, Germany Rethinks EU Role; NPR; July 2010
- Gelleri, Christian; Chiemgauer Regiomoney by Christian Gelleri; International Journal of Community Currencies, 2009.
- Gelleri, Christian & Mayer, Thomas;Express Money; January 2012
- Regional currencies in Germany - Local competition for the euro?; 2006
- Chiemgauer-Statistik 2003 bis 2011