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Then and now: Dutch public transport on stamps

Openbaar vervoer in Nederland, toen en nu

The Hague, 19 August 2019 – PostNL has issued 2 postage stamp sheets today with a summary of public transport in the Netherlands, then and now. The stamps show many different things, for example different types of public transport, old and new stock, various transporters and current and former routes in and between all provinces.

All weather types 

The weather and weather conditions also always differ on each stamp. Because, according to graphic designer Thijs Verbeek: “Public transport operates every day, during all seasons. This is why you see all weather types on the background: from sun and rain to thunder, storm and mist.” 

Two issues 

The 2 postage stamp sheets both have the same name: Public transport in the Netherlands, then and now. The first postage stamp sheet with 6 stamps is intended for shipments within the Netherlands, the second sheet that also has 6 stamps is intended for international post. 

Chain of place names 

Both issues focus on the most important forms of public transport in our country: tram, metro, city bus, rural-service bus, stopping train, intercity and international ferry service. Twelve different public transport routes are shown on the postage stamp sheets, 6 per stamp sheet. The names of places in the Netherlands which can or could be reached by public transport are mentioned on the tabs and sheet edges. This resulted in a ‘chain’ that shows that all remote areas and villages in the Netherlands are connected to each other. 

Trains, trams and buses 

Graphic designer Verbeek describes public transport as a ‘product with which everyone has a relationship'. “Whoever you are, wherever you are going to: every type of person in the Netherlands uses it. This is why I do not want to have sleek and polished pictures from a catalogue. But trains, trams and buses you see in reality: dirty, dented or with graffiti.” 

Simple, but layered 

Each stamp tells a simple, but layered story. They tell how we can travel from one point to the other point in the Netherlands by public transport and what we see on the way. Verbeek: “All these stories combined tell how we are connected to each other in the Netherlands. It is a journey through our country, through all provinces, with that typical Dutch view.” 

Availability 

The 2 postage stamp sheets Public Transport in the Netherlands both have 6 different stamps. The first sheet is intended for post up to and including 20 grams sent to an address within the Netherlands, the second sheet for post up to and including 20 grams with an international destination. The stamps are available as of 19 August 2019 from the post office counter in Bruna stores and online at postnl.nl/bijzondere-postzegels. The stamps can also be ordered by phone from the Collect Club customer service on telephone number +31 (0)88 - 868 99 00. The validity period is indefinite.