In this note we analyse the research activities of the central banks in the European Union (EU) over the period 1990-1999 both in terms of input (research staff) and output (papers in international journals). The share of research staff in total staff of the national central banks varies between 0.02 and 0.16. The ECB has the highest ratio between researchers and other staff. We make a ranking of the research performance based on the number of scientific papers per employee engaged with research. The Bank of Finland has the best research performance of European central banks, closely followed by the Dutch central bank. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.