The dirham (درهم dirham, adrim, dirham, dírha; sign: DH; code: MAD) is the currency of Morocco. It is issued by the Bank Al-Maghrib, the central bank of Morocco. It is subdivided into 100 centimes (Arabic: سنتيمات santimat, singular: سنتيم santim).
Before the introduction of a modern coinage in 1882, Morocco issued copper coins denominated in falus, silver coins denominated in dirham, and gold coins denominated in benduqi. From 1882, the dirham became a subdivision of the Moroccan rial, with 500 Mazunas = 10 dirham = 1 rial.
When most of Morocco became a French protectorate in 1912 it switched to the Moroccan franc. The dirham was reintroduced on 16 October 1960. It replaced the franc as the major unit of currency but, until 1974, the franc continued to circulate, with 1 dirham = 100 francs. In 1974, the santim replaced the franc.
In 1960, silver 1 dirham coins were introduced. These were followed by nickel 1 dirham and silver 5 dirham coins in 1965. In 1974, with the introduction of the santim, a new coinage was introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 santimat and 1 dirham. The 1 santim coins were aluminium, the 5 up to 20 santimat were minted in brass, with the highest two denominations in cupro-nickel. Cupro-nickel 5 dirham coins were added in 1980 and changed to a bi-metal coin in 1987. The bi-metal coins bear two year designations for the issue date—1987 in the Gregorian calendar and the 1407 in the Islamic calendar.
The 1 santim was only minted until 1987 when new designs were introduced, with a ½ dirham replacing the 50 santimat without changing the size or composition. The new 5 dirham coin was bimetallic, as was the 10 dirham coin introduced in 1995. Cupro-nickel 2 dirham coins were introduced in 2002. In 2011, a new series of coins has been issued, with the 5 and 10 dirham coin utilizing a latent image as a security feature.
The first notes denominated in dirham were overprints on earlier franc notes, in denominations of 50 dirhams (on 5000 francs) and 100 dirhams (on 10,000 francs). In 1965, new notes were issued for 5, 10 and 50 dirhams. 100 dirham notes were introduced in 1970, followed by 200 dirham notes in 1991 and 20 dirham notes in 1996. 5 dirham notes were replaced by coins in 1980, with the same happening to 10 dirham notes in 1995. In mid-October 2009, Bank Al-Maghrib issued four million 50-dirham banknotes to commemorate the bank's 50th anniversary. The commemorative note measures 147 x 70 mm and features the portraits of Kings Mohammed VI, Hassan II, and Mohammed V. The back of the notes features the headquarters of Bank Al-Maghrib in Rabat. The speech delivered in 1959 by Mohammed V at the opening of Bank Al-Maghrib is microprinted on the back.
In December 2012, Bank-Al Maghrib issued a 25-dirham banknote to commemorate the 25th anniversary of banknote production at the Moroccan State Printing Works, Dar As-Sikkah. It is the first banknote in the world to be printed on Durasafe, a paper-polymer-paper composite substrate produced by Fortress Paper. The front of the commemorative note features an intaglio vignette and a watermark of King Mohammed VI, and a magenta-green color shift security thread. The thread, like the watermark, is embedded inside the banknote yet visible behind a one-sided Viewsafe polymer window. It also has a fully transparent polymer window embossed with the King's royal crest. The back of the note carries a print vignette commemorating 25 years of banknote printing at the Moroccan State Printing Works, Dar As-Sikkah. The windows in Durasafe are formed by die cutting each side of the three layer composite substrate separately. One-sided Viewsafe windows give a clear view inside the substrate where the thread and the watermark of King Mohammed VI are protected, but fully visible behind the polymer core. The transparent Thrusafe window is created by die-cutting both the outer paperlayers to reveal only the transparent polymer core.
On August 15, 2013, Bank Al-Maghrib has announced a new series of banknotes. The notes feature a portrait of King Mohammed VI and the royal crown. Each of the notes show a Moroccan door to the left of the portrait, demonstrating the richness of the country's architectural heritage, and symbolizing the openness of the country.
Popular denominations are words widely used in Morocco to refer to different values of the currency; they are not considered official by the state, though. Those include the rial, equivalent to 5 santimat, and the franc , equivalent to 1 santim. Usually, when dealing with goods with a value lower than a dirham, it is common to use the rial or santim. For very high priced goods, such as cars, it is normative to refer to the price in santimat. However, rial is used when speaking in Arabic and centime when speaking in French.
Though not used by the young generation, the denomination 1000, 2000, ... to 100,000 francs will be used by people who lived during the French colonial period when referring to 10, 20 and 1000 dirham. Likewise, rial is also used for higher value than portions of the dirham, reaching 5000 dhs (100,000 rial). This denomination is used in Moroccan Arabic speaking context, especially in popular milieu such as old medina souks or vegetable markets.