The new PostNL stamps mark the historical connection between the Netherlands and Belgium.
The new stamps were designed by Barends & Pijnappel from Antwerp. It was not by coincidence that a Dutch duo living and working in Belgium was selected to design this stamp sheetlet. They focus on the cultural exchange and mutual influence between the two countries. The stamps draw attention to contemporary subjects based on the tripartite themes Architecture, Literature, and the Visual Arts.
The sheetlet on architecture is dedicated to the traces left behind by Dutch and Belgian architects in their respective neighbouring countries. This is illustrated on the stamps, inter alia, through a photo of the Museum aan de Stroom in Antwerp by the Dutch agency Neutelings Riedijk Architects.
The image on the literature stamps portrays the backs of books which, through their content and sometimes also their title, emphasise the relationship between Belgium and the Netherlands. The books vary from Brouwers in Brussels, a memorial book for Jeroen Brouwers, Les Hollandais sont la by Jos Vandeloo to Mijn Nederland by Geert van Istendael.
The Visual Arts
The sheetlet on the visual arts addresses Dutch and Belgian artists who left their countries for the south or the north, respectively. The two corresponding stamps depict paintings by the Belgian artist Rik Wouters (made in Amsterdam) and by the Dutchman Jakob Smits (made in De Kempen).
The typography in particular makes the stamps recognisable as a design by Barends & Pijnappel. "It is indeed our own typographical style. We discovered a long time ago that narrowing some of the typefaces could lead to a striking effect. One of my favourite typefaces, the Bolt Bold, was used for the stamps, while the Tasse typeface was used for the explanatory text. The colours red and blue were selected, of course. After all, they are and will remain typically Dutch stamps," says the designer Henrik Barends.
The new stamps on the historical connection between Belgium and the Netherlands are the next in a series. In 2008, the stamps were dedicated to the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, in 2009 Brazil, Surinam in 2010, South Africa in 2001 and Indonesia in 2012.