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01/14/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/14/2022 00:45

Bank of Lithuania opens its building in Kaunas to the public in celebration of its centenary

In celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2022, the Bank of Lithuania opens the unique historic building in Kaunas to the public, inviting them to register for tours that will be organised throughout the year. The year will be filled with other centenary events as well: in preparation for the official date of the establishment of the Bank of Lithuania on 2 October 1922, exhibitions, conferences and an Open Day will be held and collector coins to commemorate the occasion will be issued.

"We begin the celebration of the 100th anniversary by inviting people to get to know the central bank and its history, so we open a unique historical building in Kaunas to the public. This building is not only a symbol of the origins of central banking in Lithuania but also a piece of architecture with a distinct interior symbolising the prosperity of Kaunas in the interwar period," says Asta Kuniyoshi, Deputy Chair of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.

Visitors who sign up for a tour will get a chance to see the doors of a money vault weighing more than 3 tons, admire the impressive paintings of the representatives of the interwar Kaunas Art School, visit the apartment of the former Prime Minister Augustinas Voldemaras boasting an 8-meter-high dome, see one of the oldest lifts in Kaunas and hear the stories of Vladas Jurgutis and other interwar bankers. The exposition of the Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania, with new exhibits added, will offer a glimpse of the long and rich history of the Bank of Lithuania, money and banking.

Tours in Kaunas can be booked via the registration system on the website of the Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania. The tours suitable for various age groups will be given from Tuesday to Friday in Lithuanian, English and Russian. All tours are free of charge.

The Bank of Lithuania is also involved as Kaunas becomes this year's European Capital of Culture. The hall of the building in Kaunas will become a temporary home to the installation 'Ex It' by the famous artist and activist Yoko Ono. The installation handled by the Centre for Contemporary Art will be on display between 23 January and 11 September. During the opening weekend of 'Kaunas - the European Capital of Culture 2022', on Sunday, 23 January, the installation will be available between 12.00 and 20.00. Later it will be accessible during the Bank of Lithuania's working hours (Monday to Wednesday from 8.30 to 15.30, Thursday until 18.00, Friday until 14.30). No advance registration is required and it is free of charge.

In preparation for 2 October, the official date of the establishment of the Bank of Lithuania, the central bank will invite the public to various events. It is planned to hold an international conference together with the Bank for International Settlements. In cooperation with the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, the Bank of Lithuania will organize a conference 'The Litas: A Century-Long Way' and will present its exhibition 'Art and Money'. The Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania, together with the National Museum of Lithuania and colleagues from museums in Latvia and Estonia, is preparing for the international exhibition '100 Years: Litas, Lats, Krona'. The festive year will be crowned with a traditional Open Day and the issuing of collector coins dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Bank of Lithuania: a €50 gold coin, €20 silver coin and €1.5 coin minted from a metal alloy.

On the occasion of its centenary, the Bank of Lithuania also plans to present to the public its art collection gathered at the central bank and to release an album. In addition, the most important dates, events and people of the Bank of Lithuania will be commemorated in the chronicle. A special illumination of the buildings of the Bank of Lithuania in Vilnius and Kaunas will also help to create a festive mood. Moreover, the planned activities include lectures by the Money Museum, various games and quizzes on the social media of the Bank of Lithuania and a virtual 3D tour of the bank's building in Kaunas.

More information will be made available before the events.

Anniversary in brief

Re-established on 1 March 1990, the Bank of Lithuania continues the traditions of Lithuania's central bank that operated during the interwar period.

Plans to establish a bank of issue in Lithuania and to introduce the national currency appeared immediately after the restoration of the statehood in 1918 but, because of the country's financial difficulties, the Bank of Lithuania started its activities as late as in 1922. The Law on Currency Unit and the Law on the Bank of Lithuania were adopted on 9 and 11 August, while the Bank was officially established on 27 September and became operational on 2 October. The founder of the Bank was the Government.

The primary objective of the Bank of Lithuania was to regulate currency circulation, facilitate cash withdrawals, develop a sound and sustainable monetary system in Lithuania, foster the development of agriculture, industry and trade. For a period of 20 years the bank was granted the right to issue banknotes, to carry out state treasury and saving bank operations, distribute and redeem the State's loan bonds, provide commercial credit, etc. Professor Vladas Jurgutis (1885-1966) became the first Governor of the Bank of Lithuania. The representative building of the Bank of Lithuania at the intersection of Donelaitis and Maironis Streets was built 6 years after the establishment of the Bank, specifically to accommodate the central bank.