Europa 2017 - Castles SI

Europa 2017 - Castles

The associated European public postal operators, which have been publishing stamps with a common theme since 1956, introduced a competition some years ago known as the EUROPA Stamp Best Design Competition. This competition is organised under the aegis of PostEurop, a partnership organisation of all European postal administrations and enterprises. Since the 2017 design competition focuses on castles, PostNL decided to issue a Dutch Castles stamp sheetlet on 20th February 2017, with the value 1 International for all mail to destinations outside the Netherlands. The 10-stamp sheetlet contains two stamp varieties and was designed by Hague-based graphic designer Bart de Haas. It features images of two Dutch moated castles, Doornenburg and Ammersoyen.

The Netherlands has been home to an estimated 3,000 castles over the centuries, of which several hundred remain intact today. According to the definition of castle expert Prof. H.L. Janssen, a castle is the “fortified residence of a gentleman, more often than not someone of aristocratic lineage (...) inextricably linked to feudal social structures, as prevalent in Europe during the mediaeval period. As a fortification it represents a private defensive structure, inhabited by a gentleman and his family along with a number of servants and vassals, and it has suitable protections in place against invaders.” The Dutch Castles stamp sheetlet bears images of two of these castles: Doornenburg Castle (at the junction of the River Rhine in the Pannerdensch Canal and the River Waal) and Ammersoyen Castle (near the village of Ammerzoden in Gelderland province, located in the Bommelerwaard district on the banks of the River Meuse). Both these castles are what is known as ‘moated’ castles, being surrounded as they are by a wide canal. Doornenburg Castle also served as the setting for the popular 1960s Dutch TV series Floris, which centred on an exiled knight in sixteenth-century Holland. 

The Dutch Castlesstamp sheetlet contains five identical stamps featuring Doornenburg Castle and five identical stamps bearing the image of Ammersoyen Castle. Both stamps combine contemporary colour pictures of the castle with historical illustrations, maps, and coats-of-arms. On the Doornenburg Castle stamp, the colour picture is positioned on the left and the illustration on the right, while for the Ammersoyen Castle stamp the order is reversed. A blue tint has been added to the monochrome prints, which matches the colour of the ‘Priority’ logo on the tabs. The outlines of the area map – which are square for Doornenburg Castle and feature round towers for Ammersoyen – have been superimposed on the image. On both stamps, both the illustration and the map continue onto the stamp right above. The Doornenburg Castle stamp features three transparent coats-of-arms on the left of former residents of this castle: from top to bottom these are the coats-of-arms of the Van Doornick (1313-1385), Van Bylandt (1385-1481) and Van Homoet (1459-1474) families. The Ammersoyen Castle stamp features the coat-of-arms on the right of the Van Arkel-De la Kethullen family. The Van Arkel family resided at Ammersoyen Castle from 1496 to 1694.

The stamps bear the value denomination International 1, the ‘Netherlands 2017’ caption, and the PostEurop logo. On the tabs on the left and right you will find a brief description of each castle right below the ‘Priority’ logo, while the title of the stamp sheetlet is printed on the edge of the sheet: Nederlandse kastelen (Dutch Castles). The typeface used is DTL Fleischmann (1992), designed by Erhard Kaiser.


Technical Details

Issue Date: 20.02.2017
Designer: Bart de Haas, The Hague