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The kuna is the currency of Croatiamarker (ISO 4217 code: HRK). It is subdivided into 100 lipa. The kuna is issued by the Croatian National Bankmarker and the coins are minted by the Croatian Monetary Institute.

The word "kuna" means "marten" in Croatian since it is based on the use of marten pelts as units of value in medieval trading. It has no relation to the various currencies named "koruna" (translated as kruna in Croatian). The word lipa means "linden tree".

Earlier usage

During Roman times, in the provinces of upper and lower Pannonia (today Hungarymarker and Slavoniamarker), taxes were collected in the then highly valued marten skins. Hence, the Croatian word "marturina" or tax, derived from the Latin word "martus" (Croatian: "kuna"). The kuna was a currency unit in several Slavic states, most notably Kievan Rus and its successors until the early 15th century. It was equal to (later ) gryvna of silver.

In the Middle Ages, many foreign monies were used in Croatia, but since at least 1018 a local currency was in use. Between 1260 and 1380, the Croatian Viceroys were making a marten-adorned silver coin called the banovac. However, the diminishing autonomy of Croatia within the Croatia-Hungarian Kingdom led to the gradual disappearance of that currency.

The idea of a kuna currency reappeared in 1939 when the Banovina of Croatia, established within the Yugoslav Monarchy, planned to issue its own money.

In 1941, when the Ustaše formed the Independent State of Croatiamarker, they introduced the Independent State of Croatia kuna. This currency remained in circulation until 1945, when it disappeared together with the fascist puppet-state.

Kuna since 1994

The modern kuna was introduced on May 30, 1994, starting a transitional period from Croatian dinar, ending on December 31, 1994. The exchange rate between dinar and kuna was 1 kuna = 1000 dinara.

The choice of the name kuna was controversial for a number of Croatian citizens, including the Serb minority, as the same currency name had been used by the Independent State of Croatia kuna. The Croatian government claimed continuity in the historical use of marten pelts, the use of a marten adorned coin by Croatian viceroys and the consideration of the kuna during the Banovina of Croatia in the first Yugoslavia. Detractors accused the government of attempting to establish symbolic continuity of modern Croatia with the World War II extremist Fascist regime, and using these relatively little known historical facts as an excuse.

An alternative proposition for the name of the new currency was kruna (crown) after the Austro-Hungarian krone. However, this proposition was challenged on the same basis as the previous, since the kruna was proposed to be divided in 100 banica. Additionally, terms like kruna (crown) and banica (viceroy's wife) were found inappropriate for the country which is a republic.

The transition to the new currency went smoothly and the controversy quickly blew over.

The self-proclaimed Serbian entity Republic of Serbian Krajina did not use the kuna or the Croatian dinar. Instead, they issued their own Krajina dinar until the region was integrated back into Croatia in 1995.

The main reference currency for kuna was the German Mark, and later the Euro. A long-time policy of the Croatian National Bankmarker has been to keep the fluctuations of the kuna exchange rate with the euro in a relatively stable range. The country has been on the path of accession to the European Union and it plans to join the European Monetary System.


In 1994, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 lipa (Croatian word for linden or tilia tree), 1, 2 and 5 kuna. The coins are issued in two versions: one with the name of the plant or animal in Croatian (issued in odd years), the other with the name in Latin (issued in even years).

Denomination Reverse Design
Croatian Latin English translation
1 lipa kukuruz Zea mays Maize
2 lipa vinova loza Vitis vinifera Grapevine
5 lipa hrast lužnjak Quercus robur Oak
10 lipa duhan Nicotiana tabacum Tobacco
20 lipa maslina Olea europaea Olive
50 lipa velebitska degenija Degenia velebitica Degenia
1 kuna slavuj Luscinia megarhynchos Nightingale
2 kune tunj Thunnus thynnus Tuna
5 kuna mrki medvjed Ursus arctos Brown Bear

A number of commemorative designs have also been issued for circulation, see Commemorative coins of the Croatian kuna.


Present-day Croatian banknotes

Denomination Obverse Design Reverse Design
5 kuna
Petar Zrinski and
Fran Krsto Frankopan
Varaždinmarker's Old Town fortress, mirrored view
10 kuna Juraj Dobrila Arena colosseummarker in Pulamarker and the city plan of Motovunmarker
20 kuna Josip Jelačić The castle of Count Eltzmarker in Vukovarmarker
50 kuna Ivan Gundulić Dubrovnikmarker;
historic, UNESCO-protected town core
100 kuna Ivan Mažuranić Rijekamarker; church of St. Vid
200 kuna Stjepan Radić Osijekmarker; the building of the High Command at Tvrđa
500 kuna Marko Marulić Splitmarker; Diocletian's Palace
1000 kuna Ante Starčević Statue of King Tomislav and the Zagreb cathedralmarker

See also


  1. History of Croatian money by Dalibor Brozović - Excerpts from the book Kune and lipe - Currency of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb, Croatian National Bank
  2. Povijest hrvatskog novca, Section 3, Croatian National Bank compilation from multiple sources
  3. Croatian Government and Croatian National Bank decisions published in Narodne novine 37/94 [1][2][3][4]
  4. "The rich visual symbolism of Croatian currency" by Ante Milinović, in the Croatian Heritage Foundation's Almanac for 2001
  5. Monetary policy and ERM II participation on the path to the euro, Speech by Lucas Papademos, Vice President of the ECB at the tenth Dubrovnik economic conference, in Dubrovnik, 25 June 2004
  6. "Vujčić: uvođenje eura dvije, tri godine nakon ulaska u EU", statements made by Boris Vujčić, deputy governor of the Croatian National Bank, at the Dubrovnik economic conference, June 2006

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