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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, 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[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: Chiemgauer retains purchasing power within the region better than the euro and favors local small businesses, stimulating transactions by the 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 and was 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]

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[edit]

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[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 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.


As of December 2013:[6]

  • Number of members: 3649 (2007: 2100)
  • Number of businesses: 627
  • Amount of paper Chiemgauer in circulation: 160000 Chiemgauer
  • Amount of eChiemgauer in circulation: 360000
  • Turnover 2013: 7000000 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
  • Velocity of money: 5.41 per year (3 times as fast as the Euro which is 1.65)

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 2013

External links[edit]