TD Icon - Dutch Stamps

The history of postage stamps began with recipients having to pay for mail, leading to issues when they refused or moved.

In 1837, Rowland Hill introduced a system where senders paid for postage, and postage stamps were introduced as proof of payment. James Chalmers further improved the system with self-adhesive stamps and uniform rates. In 1840, the very first postage stamp was used.

This innovative solution revolutionized the way mail was handled and marked the beginning of a new era in postal services worldwide.

In the Netherlands, the introduction of postage stamps led to designer Wim Crouwel’s significant contribution. As a co-founder of Total Design, he played a prominent role in designing stamps for PTT in 1963. Later, in 1976, he was approached to design a new Dutch stamp series of which we can say was very popular as these were used until 2002.

Mathematical character

Wim Crouwel’s stamps were considered both well designed as practical by the PTT management and were then developed. Crouwel had several principles in mind: Stamps of different values had to be clearly distinguished by typography and color, and the numeral and letter shapes had to have a simple mathematical appearance.

Furthermore, Crouwel aimed to provide the stamps with a sense of optical spaciousness. He achieved this by contrasting the colors of the numerals and background against each other.

Wim Crouwel, preliminary study for stamps Netherlands 1976 Figure stamps

Total Design’s passion for stamp design continued, with various projects, including limited editions for the Red Cross, commemorating 100 Years of Aviation, vibrant summer editions and more.

100 Years of Aviation

In 2019, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) and the Dutch Aerospace Center (NLR) founding, PostNL issued a special edition stamp, “100 jaar luchtvaart” (100 Years of Aviation). The stamp features 11 significant aircraft representing the historical development and future of the three organizations: KLM, NLR, and Fokker. Designed by Total Design’s Edwin van Praet and Tim Hölscher, the collection showcases iconic planes, from the first KLM-operated Fokker F.II to the concept NLR Hybrid Electric Plane, expected to take flight around 2050. The stamps highlight the tangled history of PTT, KLM, and Fokker, highlighting their crucial roles in the aviation industry.

Today, Total Design continues its stamp design legacy, creating new stamps for PostNL with the “Typically Dutch” theme, showcasing typical Dutch customs, products, dishes, and traditions.

Whether it is typical Dutch food, facades and houses, sports or landmarks, Total Design developed a powerful and iconic concept every time. Traditional stamps in a modern and timeless design. Surprising and recognizable every year. And Total Design really is involved from start to finish, with an eye for detail, and they go to extremes until we are all happy with the design. Curious about what they have in store for next year, but the first sketches are promising!

— Sasha van Hoorn, Product Manager Stamps at PostNL

Typical Dutch Food

This stamp collection celebrates the culinary delights that define Dutch cuisine. From the beloved bitterballen to the traditional sausage and sweet tompouce, each stamp captures the essence of Dutch goodies, making mouths water both within the Netherlands and beyond.

Facades and housing types from the Netherlands

Showcasing the picturesque architecture that graces Dutch cities and towns, this stamp set highlights the charming facades of historic buildings, capturing the essence of Dutch landscapes. Each stamp brings to life the unique charm and character that decorate Dutch streets.

Sports in which the Dutch excel

Featuring the Netherlands’ talent in sports, this collection celebrates their achievements in fields like field hockey, speed skating, and soccer. The stamps pay tribute to the nation’s sporting legends and the passion that unites the Dutch people through athletic achievements.

Dutch Attractions

This stamp set takes collectors on a journey through iconic Dutch attractions, from the windmills of Kinderdijk to the charming canals of Amsterdam. Each stamp captures the beauty and significance of these cultural landmarks, making them cherished collectibles for philatelists and travel lovers.

While stamp collecting might be less common nowadays, Total Design remains committed to bringing joy to stamp collectors and those who still enjoy sending letters with their special designs.