For Ireland, it is the harp. For Germany the Brandenburg Gate, and for Greece an ancient Athenian ship. Coins are an opportunity to evoke a few national stereotypes. The only real surprise is that the Eiffel Tower has not yet featured on any of France's euro coins.
So it is always interesting when a new country adopts the euro. Slovakia joins the euro club on 1 January 2009, and since early December starter packs of the country's new euro coins have been available for collection from all Slovakian post offices. The national images that feature on the country's new euro coins say a lot about how Slovakia nowadays perceives itself.