Complete stamp series of the Beautiful Netherlands fortified cities

Postzegelserie Mooi Nederland Vestingsteden compleet

The Hague, 26 May 2015 – As of today, the fortified cities of Hulst in the province of Zeeland and Willemstad in the province of Noord-Brabant have their history depicted on postage stamps. With these stamps and a separate collection sheet for all five fortified cities, PostNL completes the Beautiful Netherlands Fortified Cities 2015 stamp series.

The Beautiful Netherlands 2015 stamp series showcases fortified cities. Besides the stamps featuring Hulst and Willemstad, stamps of Elburg, Bourtange and Naarden were released earlier this year. All of these cities and fortified towns were built between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries to protect their inhabitants from external attack.

Based on old city maps and aerial photos

City maps and aerial photos were used to design the stamps. The Hulst stamp is based on a city map from 1645, while Willemstad is based on a map from 1740. These historic images show how the construction of city walls, corner towers and city gates turned the towns into well-protected fortresses.

Stamps tell the tale of history

Designer Karin Langeveld from design firm Trapped in Suburbia wanted to use the historic maps as a starting point for her design. “One slight problem: these maps are often faded and grey. They also contain lots of details that are not clearly visible on a stamp. The solution was to leave out everything around the city itself, so the shape of each fortified city stands out more clearly. And the blue and red colours make the stamp clear. The aerial photos by Karel Tomeï offer a good impression of what these cities look like today,” Langeveld explains.


A different Beautiful Netherlands theme has been featured every year since 2005. The Beautiful Netherlands 2015 stamps are marked ‘Nederland 1’, the denomination for items up to 20g in weight destined for mail within the Netherlands. The Hulst and Willemstad stamps will be sold starting 26 May at PostNL retailers in the relevant municipalities of Hulst and Willemstad. The Beautiful Netherlands Fortified Cities 2015 collection sheet will be available from all outlets of the Bruna book and stationery chain in the Netherlands. All stamp sheets are also sold online via The stamps are valid for an unlimited period.