The first stamps of the Netherlands were issued in 1852 and depicted King William III. During the Second World War the Netherlands were occupied by Germany. Stamp issues continued and a number of semi-postal stamps were issued. The Netherlands were liberated on 5 May 1945. The previous stamps continued in use until a new series was introduced on 1 April 1946. This series contained stamps originally issued by the Netherlands Government in Exile in Britain in 1944 for use on ships of the Netherlands Navy serving with the Allies.
Regular stamp issues have continued since then including several long-running definitive stamp series, numerous commemorative stamps and the regular issue of semi-postal stamps for charitable causes which has become a notable feature of Netherlands philately.
In 2002 a series of 12 provincial stamps were issued. Whilst not strictly local stamps, as they were valid throughout The Netherlands, the stamps were only available to purchase from post offices in the relevant province or from the Netherlands Philatelic Bureau. The Netherlands Post Office has been an enthusiastic issuer of postage stamp booklets and their stamps are widely collected throughout the world due to the high quality of its designs and printing.