In celebration of the total solar eclipse of August 11, 1999, the National Bank of Romania (BNR) decided to issue a commemorative two thousand Romanian lei banknote. This was the last solar eclipse of the millennium and was visible across southern Romania. Since it was the last eclipse of the millennium, the denomination was chosen to be 2000 in respect to the upcoming year. These notes were issued as legal tender.
Polymer banknotes are banknotes made from a polymer such as biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP). Such notes incorporate many security features not available to paper banknotes, including the use of metameric inks; they also last significantly longer than paper notes, resulting in a decrease in environmental impact and a reduction of production and replacement costs. Modern polymer banknotes were first developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), CSIRO and The University of Melbourne. They were first issued as currency in Australia in 1988 (coinciding with that country's Bicentenary year). Countries that have since switched completely to polymer banknotes include Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania and Vietnam.