Netherlands - Old postal routes

Netherlands – Old postal routes

Netherlands – Old postal routes

For centuries the post was mounted by postillions on horseback and spread by mail coach across Europe. PostNL brings 6 new ones today stamps showing the old Habsburg Empire postal routes again come alive.

Relay system

From the 16th to the 19th century, mail delivery in Europe was actually owned by 1 family: Von Thurn und Taxis. The family business, which among Habsburg princes like Philips de Schone and Karel 5 flourished, used a relay system to deliver the mail as quickly and efficiently as possible. Along the routes there were enough substations for the postillions to rest. They could also go there change horses and deliver mail and take it with you.

Blue and gold

Studio026 from Arnhem has this relay system on the stamp sheet Old Post Routes from Von Thurn und Taxis depicted. On the blue images on the stamps are see horses in motion and at rest. Also the big gold symbols, which walk from left to right with the horses and the stagecoach, refer to it system of action and rest. There is a thin line with between the images golden stripes representing the stops along the routes.

Super fast

The mail was first transported by horse and rider, later by the stagecoach. Carriages were slower than horses, but took much more mail. Also paying passengers generated additional earnings. The motto for the postal couriers from Von Thurn und Taxis read cito, cito, cito, citissim! In other words: fast, fast, fast, super fast! “The concept was developed based on that credo,” says Anne Schaufeli of studio 26. “That’s why the spell is so prominent on the sheet.”

Design competition

With the new stamp sheet PostNL is competing for the main prize in EUROPE Stamp Best Design Competition. This design competition is organized annually by PostEurop, the organization in which all European national postal companies


May 11 2020
The Netherlands


The Netherlands

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