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NBS logo

The NBS logo combines the names “NÁRODNÁ BANKA SLOVENSKA” and “EUROSYSTÉM” (Slovak spelling) with a circular ‘horse rider’ design. Compared with the original logo, however, the new rider motif is simpler and closer to the source design found on Biatec coins (Biatecs were used in the first century BC by the Celtic settlers of the territory in which Bratislava now lies). The logo’s revamping was part of a broader effort to improve the readability and functionality of the central bank’s online publications and printed matter.

Logo NBS

The NBS logo from 1993 to 2019

In the run-up to 1 January 1993, when NBS was established, there arose the question of what the bank’s logo should be. The prevailing view was that the logo should capture the historical and economic traditions of Slovakia. After discussions with historians, artists and numismatists, two designs were shortlisted.

Logo NBS

History of the logo

About the Bank, NBS logoThe first was the ‘falconer’, an armed rider-hunter with a falcon perched on his left hand, as depicted on a ninth-century silver planchet found during an archaeological excavation of an ancient Slav settlement. In addition to agriculture, horticulture, viniculture, and well-developed craft production, falconry was an important way of making a living among the Slavs of the ninth century, when Great Moravia – one of the first Slavic state entities, covering the territory of present-day Slovakia – was at the peak of its development. Today’s Slovakia is directly linked with the cultural and historical traditions of the principalities of Nitra and Moravia – a connection referred to explicitly in the preamble to the country’s Constitution.

About the Bank, NBS logoThe second shortlisted design was based on an image depicted on the obverse of Biatecs: a man, presumably the eponymous ruler, riding a horse and holding a branchlet in his right hand. Below the image is the inscription BIATEC. Numismatic and archaeological research has shown that the Celts, among the oldest known nations, struck these coins in the area of present-day Bratislava between approximately 70 and 44 BC.

Uniquely for coins of that time and region, Biatecs were made of high-quality silver and gold. While BIATEC was the most frequent inscription, it was one of 14 different inscriptions that appeared on these types of coin in capital Latin letters. Among the others were NONNOS, DEVIL, BUSU, BUSSUMARUS, and TITTO, which research indicates were the names of local rulers. About the Bank, NBS logoAlthough all such coins have come to be known as Biatecs, they are sometimes referred to in the literature as “hexadrachms of the Bratislava type”. The inscriptions represent the oldest known use of writing in Slovakia and the neighbouring territories.

The coins have a diameter of 25 mm and weigh 16.5-17 g. The obverse usually depicts a head, and the reverse usually shows a horse rider, but may also feature various mythological motifs (including, for example, harpies, centaurs, griffins and dragons) or symbols of real animals. In terms of the diversity of coin motifs, the Celtic mint at Bratislava stood comparison with its contemporary Roman counterparts.

The most important find of Biatecs was made during excavation work for the Tatra Banka building in Bratislava in 1923, when 76 large and 324 small coins were found scattered over an area of between one and two square metres in a stratum that also contained La Tene pottery.

In the end, it was decided to base the NBS logo on the Biatec horse rider on the grounds that Biatecs are the oldest coins known to have been minted in the territory of present-day Slovakia; it was also decided, however, to incorporate the ‘falconer’ theme and thereby reference two ancient and important periods and traditions of Slovakia: the Celtic and the Great Moravian. Designed by Anton Šulek, the logo depicts the horse rider in the centre of a circle, but instead of holding a lime branchlet, he has a falcon perched on his right hand. The branchlet is positioned below the horse. The ruler on horseback, bearing a bird of prey, symbolises power and independence, as well as stability and flexibility of action; it also conveys an aura of prestige, seriousness, courage and resolution – all desirable qualities of a central bank.

The name “NÁRODNÁ BANKA SLOVENSKA” was integrated into the lower part of the design, and the name “EUROSYSTÉM” was added when NBS joined the Eurosystem, on 1 January 2009.