New stamp commemorates historical ties between the Netherlands and Japan

2014-07-11 Grenzeloos Nederland-Japan

Leiden, the Netherlands, 11 July 2014 – The century-old historical bonds between the Netherlands and various countries serve as the source of inspiration for the Netherlands and Beyond stamp set, first launched in 2008. PostNL issued a new set in the series today which highlights the special relationship between the Netherlands and Japan. The stamps, which are themed around the subjects trade, knowledge and culture, set the stage for 2015, when the SieboldHuis (a Leiden-based museum dedicated to Japanese art and culture) will be celebrating its tenth anniversary.

PostNL Managing Director Annerie Lekkerkerker (Consumers and Small Businesses) presented the first-day issue of the stamp today to Kris Schiermeier, director of Leiden’s SieboldHuis Japan Museum. The new The Netherlands and Beyond: Japan stamp is the latest stamp in the Netherlands and Beyond series, in which PostNL is inspired each year by a country with which the Netherlands has built a special relationship. 

The Netherlands and Beyond: Japan

This year’s set spotlights and celebrates Japan, a country with which the Netherlands has enjoyed close ties for many centuries. Starting out as trading partners, the two countries have seen their relationship flourish over the years into a rich exchange of knowledge and culture, and it is this exchange that has informed and inspired the new The Netherlands and Beyond: Japan stamp. Annerie Lekkerkerker drew attention to the stamp’s symbolism: “The new Netherlands and Beyond: Japan stamp invites us to consider the many ways in which our relationship with Japan has enriched us in terms of knowledge, culture and trade.” 

Knowledge, culture and trade in an “origami” frame

Each of the central subjects is embodied in two different stamps. The designers, Hairco Beukers and Marga Scholma of the Haarlem-based design company Beukers Scholma, exemplified the subject of knowledge by depicting the portraits of Philipp Franz Von Siebold (1796-1866) and the Japanese-born Netherlands scholar Ōtsuki Gentaku (1757-1827). The cultural stamps depict two paintings which clearly reveal Japanese influences. The stamps commemorating trade relations illustrate the unique role the Netherlands has played in Japan ever since the Japanese arrival of the Dutch ship “De Liefde” in 1600. Each stamp is framed by an origami model (origami being the renowned traditional Japanese art of paper folding).