Beautiful Netherlands

Many people, including stamp collectors, find the stamps of the Netherlands a bit too avante-garde, but I’ve always admired how their designers push “the boundaries.” This sheet from 2006 contains five stamps for ordinary mail use within the Netherlands. It would’ve been easier to put multiple copies of the stamp on a sheet side-by-side, and certainly more economical. The Netherlands, however, chose to do more by making a sheet whose title “Beautiful Netherlands” (Mooi Nederland) is composed of perforated letters. And in addition to the playful Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) with a camera around its neck on each stamp, other images of the wildlife and natural beauty of Vlieland, the subject of the stamp, are attractively presented on the sheet.

Vlieland is an island in the northern Netherlands, one of the West Frisian Islands, lying in the Wadden Sea. It has one major town, Oost-Vlieland and is the second most sparsely populated municipality in the Netherlands. Most of the island is sand dunes, but there are some wooded areas and meadows. More than anything, there is piece and quiet.

“Beautiful Netherlands” is a series that began in 2005 and continues to today. Many of the sheets contain five different stamps as does the sheet below from 2014 which features Ceramics from different areas of the Netherlands: Loosdrecht, Tegelen, Delft, Harlingen and Makkum.

5 thoughts on “Beautiful Netherlands

  1. I have to say I’m not too fond of the first sheet pictured, as the stamps interrupt the background image. The second sheet is much better, as each stamp relates to the item behind it. Overall, Netherlands stamps do “punch above their weight” because of their creative designs.

  2. Thanks for using hi-res on the latest stamps image so I can zoom in on my iPad to study it up close. In this case the fun is in the details—wouldn’t want to miss the sneakers on the hare or bare butts on the beach :-))) It’s also interesting how they placed and perfed the five stamps as well as the type. Wondering how big the press sheets are and how they set up the perf drums or rollers? Must be fun to watch the process.

    1. You have good questions for which I have no answers, at least yet. If I see any information about the printing, especially the perorating, I’ll post it. The sheetlet you’re referring to was able to be enlarged, so I’m glad it helped with your appreciation. The second sheetlet featuring ceramics is not as large a digital file, but it was the best I could find.

  3. I looked at other Mooi Nederland sheets and they look beautiful, although the fist sheet you show is kinda over the top for me, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    1. You’re correct, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as you can see from the other comments to this post. I mentioned that I enjoy contemporary Dutch stamp design because they frequently seem to be stretching the boundaries of what people would expect. I think this leads to new ways of communicating and an expanded visual vocabulary, but it can certainly be unsettling too. Thank you for sharing your reaction to the design.

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