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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.[1] The Chiemgauer operates with a fixed exchange rate: 1 Chiemgauer = €1.[1]

Creation and objectives[edit]

Christian Gelleri, a high school teacher, started this project with his students, who are in charge of designing and printing vouchers and take care of administration, accounting, advertising and other tasks. Chiemgauer is a member of a regional currencies' network called Regiogeld e.V. (regiomoney-association).

The Chiemgauer is intended for[2]:

  1. Employment creation: unemployed, students and volunteers are hired to work, earning some allowances
  2. Promotion of cultural, educational and environmental activities: the Chiemgauer system supports non-profits who work for such purposes
  3. Promotion of sustainability: organic food and renewable energy among others
  4. Strengthening the solidarity: enhancing the human relationship between local shoppers and businesses
  5. Stimulation of local economy: The Chiemgauer retains purchasing power within the region better than the euro and favours local small businesses, stimulating transactions through demurrage.
  6. Express-Money: Example for a complementary currency on a national level[3] [4]

Currency issue, exchange and acceptance[edit]

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 invented by Silvio Gesell[5].)

There is also an electronic form of the Chiemgauer: the eChiemgauer. The rules are the same as for the paper money. The demurrage is 8% per year.

Electronic Chiemgauer[edit]

Since 2006, an electronic form of the Chiemgauer — the 'eChiemgauer' — is also in use. Bank accounts are used for operations; this has been made possible through cooperation with cooperative and local banks. Only businesses and non-profits need additional electronic accounts, while consumers have the possibility to use electronic cards called 'Regiocard'. Two third of Chiemgauer turnover is electronic.

Interest free saving and loans[edit]

Chiemgauer can be saved without interest at a social cooperative called REGIOS (since 2007). Likewise, a microcredit programme for businesses and non-profits exists since 2010. Loans are available in amounts ranging from €1,000 to €20,000. Interest is calculated at a rate of 9%, but when a loan issued in Chiemgauer is paid back on time and without fault the entire interest costs are paid back to the debtor.

How the Chiemgauer works[edit]

Chiemgauer, considered to be equivalent to the euro, circulates as follows within the districts of Rosenheim and Traunstein:[2]

  • Issuing Office: Consumers can change euros into Chiemgauer at about 40 issuing offices.
  • Consumers: Exchange Chiemgauer 1 to 1. €100 are exchanged for 100 Chiemgauer. Chiemgauer can be spent at local businesses at face value, thereby helping both local non-profits and businesses without any further cost. As a 'bonus', those exchanging their euros for Chiemgauer choose a non-profit which receives 3 percent of the value exchanged.
  • Businesses: Accept Chiemgauer at face value and spend them for their own purchases, but also have the option to exchange 100 Chiemgauer for €95, losing 5% for commission but earning more by attracting Chiemgauer members to their products and/or services. Of this, €2 is allocated to administrative costs, and €3 representes the donation to a non-profit when the Chiemgauer were originally bought.
  • Non-profits: Receive 3 percent of any amount of euros exchanged for Chiemgauer. This motivates members and friends of the organization to participate in the project. In the registration form consumers choose which non-profit to support.


As of end-of-year 2014:[6]

  • Total number of members (consumers, businesses, societies/municipalities): 3889 (2010: 3049)
  • Number of businesses accepting the currency: 593 (2010: 602)
  • Amount of paper Chiemgauer in circulation: 154000 (2010: 187000)
  • Amount of eChiemgauer in circulation: 540000 (2010: 308000)
  • Turnover: 7400000 Chiemgauer (2010: 5000000)
  • Income for non-profit organizations: 61000 Chiemgauer (2010: 45000)
  • Total income for non-profits since 2005: 443000 Chiemgauer
  • Velocity of money: 5.16 per year (over 3 times that of the euro, which was 1.66)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Westervelt, Eric; From Stalwart To Skeptic, Germany Rethinks EU Role; NPR; July 2010
  2. ^ a b Gelleri, Christian; Chiemgauer Regiomoney; International Journal of Community Currencies, 2009.
  3. ^ Gelleri, Christian & Mayer, Thomas;Express Money; January 2012
  4. ^ Gelleri, Christian; Neuro : supplement to Euro; November 2012
  5. ^ Rösl, Gerhard; Regional currencies in Germany - Local competition for the euro?; 2006
  6. ^ Chiemgauer-Statistik 2003 bis 2014

External links[edit]