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A 12-nation currency switchover creates a continent of 300 million tourists

In Europe, old fears about Y2K returned as 2K2 loomed. Jan. 1 was the date for the 12-nation switch to one currency, and in the hours leading up to it, there were nightmare scenarios about riots and self-destructing cash machines as lire, francs, guilders, pesetas and deutsche marks were converted into euros.

When the time came, the banking network was indeed stretched thin. Banksys, the group that operates Belgium's ATMs, recorded about 600 cash withdrawals a minute in the first two hours of the new year. Some 200 Dutch post offices kept their doors closed on the morning of Jan....

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