Iconic 1931 stamps inspire new stamp's design

Ingmar Birza incorporates classic Piet Zwart stamp into new National Stamp Day design

The Hague – A stamp design by Piet Zwart, groundbreaking when it first appeared in 1931, served as the inspiration for the new stamp to be issued by PostNL today to commemorate National Stamp Day (Dag van de Postzegel). Ingmar Birza's design adds new elements to the classic 1931 air-mail stamp depicting a profile portrait of Queen Wilhelmina, which has transformed the original design and resulted in an all-new stamp.

National Stamp Day is an annual international event held on 18 October and celebrated by the philatelic community throughout the Netherlands. Events traditionally held on this day include philatelic fairs, exhibitions and other events organised especially for the occasion.

First stamp featuring pictures

For the design of this year's stamp, designer Birza drew inspiration from Piet Zwart’s Queen Wilhelmina stamps. Zwart’s original design was considered trailblazing when it first appeared in 1931 owing to the use of photography and other innovative features. The Dutch postal and telecommunications service PTT was the first postal organisation in the world to use photo montages instead of engravings for its stamps. Birza, commenting on the design: "I've always regarded the Zwart stamp as iconic in its design – it has strong graphic shapes with bright colours and a minimalist layout, and the typography is really eye-catching."

'Immaculate maverick'

The new stamp's typography was inspired by Zwart's designs. Birza: "Piet Zwart was a maverick in the sense that he broke virtually all the rules of typography. For one, his text was never straight. But there was always a method to his madness - his designs were never messy. He broke the rules, but he did so in a way that was immaculate. He made everything align perfectly, which is exactly what I tried to do in my own design." Birza has designed other stamps for PostNL in the past, including the 2013 Europe stamps.


The new stamps will be released on 18 October 2013 and will be available – while stocks last – from outlets of the Bruna book and stationery chain and at www.collectclub.nl. The stamps are valid until further notice and are marked 'Nederland 1', the denomination for items up to 20g in weight destined for mail within the Netherlands. A new stamp booklet, commemorative booklet and first-day cover envelope* will be launched along with the stamp sheetlets.

*A product from the NVPH.

2013-10-18 Postzegel 1931

2013-10-18 Postzegelvel 1931