The Netherlands – Stamp booklet A flower greeting

PostNL today introduces a new product with greeting cards and stamps that resemble each other. The 6 cards and 6 personal stamps are decorated with flowers from drawings and watercolors from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

The design of the booklet, the greeting cards and the stamps was made by designer and artist Joëlle Wehkamp from Nederhorst den Berg. The cards can be easily detached by means of a tear perforation, so that the booklet remains undamaged.

Every envelope a gift

PostNL asked Joëlle to design stamps and greeting cards with floral motifs, using hidden art treasures from the Rijksmuseum archive. Joëlle: “The starting point was to make cheerful, positive and colorful stamps and cards. That suits me exactly. Besides, I really like mail. Who doesn’t get happy when you receive mail? Beautiful stamps also make me very happy. They turn every envelope into a present.”

From lupine to French rose

The following 6 flowers are depicted on the cards and stamps A floral greeting: lupine, geranium, tagetes, Persian lily, wood anemone and French rose. Each card and stamp features a large free-standing drawing of a flower with a stem and leaves, against a plain background with a different color each time.

17th and 19th century

For her design, Joëlle used details of drawings and watercolors from Rijksstudio, the digital archive of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Reuse of details from existing artworks is a permanent part of Joëlle’s work, in addition to the prints, drawings, paintings and illustrations that she makes herself. For A Flower Greeting she based herself on drawings and watercolors by Anselmus Boëtius de Boodt, Alida Withoos and Pieter Withoos (17th century) and M. de Gijselaar (19th century).

Picture frame

Each flower is surrounded by a narrow frame with a block motif. Like a picture frame, the frame emphasizes the character of the image as a work of art. Joëlle: “I also added that confetti edge because I wanted to make something exciting happen in that small area, as an extra cheerful note.”

The Netherlands – December Stamps

Every year PostNL releases new December stamps with which consumers and companies can send Christmas and New Year cards at a favorable rate. The December rate is unchanged and remains € 0.91 per stamp. The rate is valid from November 14, 2022 to January 6, 2023.

This year’s December stamps were designed by Miriam Bos. The well-known illustrator from Apeldoorn made playful drawings full of cheerful scenes in picturesque colors especially for these stamps.

Bob van Ireland, director of Mail at PostNL: ‘The holidays are just around the corner. A period in which it is all about warmth, love and attention for each other. Sending a card is a nice gesture to let them know that you are thinking of someone, it will make the recipient happy. We sincerely hope that many people will do the same again this Christmas. The special rate of the December stamps makes that extra advantageous.’

Exclusive gift

When purchasing two sheets with 20 December stamps each in the store, customers will receive an exclusive gift from Vondels (while stocks last) that has been specially designed for PostNL. This year the present is a gingerbread house for the Christmas tree, as depicted on one of the December stamps.

Happy atmosphere

With her illustrations Miriam often tries to radiate optimism to remind people that beautiful and positive things still exist in the world. She thinks that is important, especially after the past 2 years in which we were further apart than ever due to the corona measures. “All the more reason to opt for a cheerful atmosphere in the illustrations”, says Miriam. “It is a theme that recurs more often in my work.”

Finer pigment

For the December stamps, Miriam used gouache, which she applied with brushes of different thickness. “I enjoy working with gouache”, says Miriam. “Because it has a slightly finer pigment than poster paint. I also don’t use brushes that are too thin, otherwise the brush stroke will disappear.”

Hand lettering

The illustrations also contain texts written by hand. This form of illustration is called ‘handlettering’. Work by Miriam Bos can often be recognized by this. Handwritten letters have also been used for the typography at the bottom of all December stamps: a graceful letter for the value indication December and a sleek letter with varying thicknesses for the Netherlands 2022.

Boosting Colors

Miriam’s illustration style is often recognizable, also because of her use of bright and warm colours. She has used mutually reinforcing colors for the December stamps. “It took a while to figure out how to do that with 10 different illustrations. I could have made it easier on myself with a limited color palette, but that’s not for me. The Christmas green is complemented by red, turquoise, purple, pink and yellow, among others. The latter are not necessarily Christmas colors, but they combine well.”

The Netherlands – Stringed Instruments

PostNL’s latest personal stamps provide an overview of special stringed instruments.

Each stamp shows an overall picture with a detail of a stringed instrument. The detail photo continues on the left or right sheet edge. On the stamp, both photos are connected by white circles of different sizes.

Construction and playing style

The following stringed instruments are depicted on the stamps: kayagum (South Korea), harp (France), baroque mandolin (Italy), nkundi (Congo), rabab (Northern Africa), zither (Germany), viola (Netherlands), kamancha (Iran ), charango (Bolivia) and nyckelharpa (Sweden). With regard to stringed instruments, there is a difference in construction between lutes, harpsichords and zithers. Another difference is the way of playing, with a bow, by plucking or by hitting with hammers and keys as with the piano.

Art Museum

The stamps are designed by graphic designer Bart de Haas from The Hague. All the stringed instruments depicted were photographed by him in the Kunstmuseum The Hague. This museum manages an extensive collection of more than 3,800 musical instruments.

Music connects

De Haas has chosen a balanced spread of western and non-western instruments. “They are not placed opposite each other, but are divided diagonally left and right on the stamp sheet. After all, the essence of music is the connection. The stamps feature stringed instruments from all over the world. From Europe of course, but also Africa, America and Asia are discussed.”

Signature details

When making the detailed photos, the designer placed the most recognizable part of each stringed instrument on the stamp itself. For the mandolin he chose the remarkable sound hole with rosette. With the kayagum the attention is paid to the striking elements under the strings, with the harp it is the typical bend, with the nkundi the sculpted head and with the rabab the half-square neck.

Graphic element

On each stamp, the total photo and the detail photo are connected by increasingly smaller white dots. According to De Haas, this graphic element has a subtle music association. “You can see in it what you want to see: strings, frets, musical notes or LEDs. It’s lively, adds rhythm. And it dances a bit – that’s what music is for.”