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 and non-profits. 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.)
There is also an electronic form called 'eChiemgauer' (for electronic Chiemgauer) since 2006. Bank accounts are used for operation and there is a cooperation with cooperative and local banks. Only businesses and non-profits need additional electronic accounts. Consumers have an additional electronic card which is called 'Regiocard'. Two third of Chiemgauer turnover is electronic.
Interest free saving and loans
Chiemgauer can be saved without interest at a social cooperative called REGIOS (since 2007). Chiemgauer has a micro loan programm for businesses and non-profits since 2010. Loans are from 1.000 Euro to 20.000 Euro. The interest rate is 9% but when the loan is in Chiemgauer and it is paid back punctually and without fault the whole interest costs are paid back to the loaner.
How the Chiemgauer works
Chiemgauer, considered to be equivalent to the euro, circulates as follows within the districts of Rosenheim and Traunstein:
- Issuing Office: Consumers can change Euro into Chiemgauer at about 40 issuing offices.
- Consumers: exchange Chiemgauer 1 to 1. They get 100 Chiemgauer for 100 Euro. They spend Chiemgauer at local businesses at face value, thereby helping both local non-profits and businesses without any further cost. As a 'bonus' they choose a Non-profit which gets 3 percent.
- 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.
- Non profits: get 3 percent. They motivate members and friends of the organization to change for the project. In the registration form consumers choose the non-profit they want to support.
- Number of members: 3649 (2007: 2100)
- Number of businesses: 627
- Amount of Chiemgauer in circulation: 520000 Chiemgauer
- Turnover 2013: 7009918 Chiemgauer (2007: 2300000 Chiemgauer, 2006: 1450000 Chiemgauer)
- Income for non-profit organizations (2013): 59282 Chiemgauer (2007: 25100 Chiemgauer, 2006: 16800 Chiemgauer)
- Total income for non-profit since 2005: 334770 Chiemgauer
- Westervelt, Eric; From Stalwart To Skeptic, Germany Rethinks EU Role; NPR; July 2010
- Gelleri, Christian; Chiemgauer Regiomoney; International Journal of Community Currencies, 2009.
- Gelleri, Christian & Mayer, Thomas;Express Money; January 2012
- Gelleri, Christian; Neuro : supplement to Euro; November 2012
- Rösl, Gerhard; Regional currencies in Germany - Local competition for the euro?; 2006
- Chiemgauer-Statistik 2003 bis 2013