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Sail Den Helder

GBP £9.91
Presentation Pack
GBP £5.10
Stamp Booklet
GBP £12.91
About Sail Den Helder

On 26 June 2023, PostNL will publish the Sail Den Helder stamp sheet. This year's maritime event will take place from 29 June to 2 July. Sail Den Helder is organised together with the 2023 Marinedagen (Navy days), marking the start of the Tall Ships Races 2023. The ten stamps feature photos with examples of the types of ships that are present at these three events. The denomination on these stamps is ‘1’, the denomination for items weighing up to 20g destined for the Netherlands. The Sail Den Helder stamp sheet was designed by Maud van Rossum from Amsterdam. A sheet of ten stamps costs €10.10.

Den Helder will host Sail Den Helder 2023 from 29 June to 2 July this year. It is the 6th time the port of Den Helder has hosted this maritime event. It is expected to attract 300,000 visitors. Den Helder's harbour and quays will give them the opportunity to learn about what the maritime sector has to offer: from sailing heritage and tall ships to modern training ships and naval vessels. Besides the many hundreds of ships, the focus will be on social issues such as energy transition and protecting life on and under water. Sail Den Helder will be combined with the Marinedagen, the open days of the Dutch Royal Navy. In addition, the port of Den Helder will be the starting location for the Tall Ships Races 2023 on 1 July. This race, in which just under 100 tall ships are expected to participate, will run via Hartlepool (England), Frederikstad (Norway) and Lerwick (Shetland Islands) to Arendal (Norway). The Tall Ships Races are designed to introduce young people to the world of seafaring and sailing. That is why half of the crew of the participating ships are young people aged between 15 and 25.

The Sail Den Helder stamp sheet features ten stamps in two different designs. On the left side of the stamp sheet, the stamps are rotated 180 degrees compared to those on the right side. Both stamp designs feature photos of two different sailing ships. The landscape image features a Navy motor vessel on the right-hand side, on the tab next to the stamp. The perforations extend to the sheet edge. This allows each stamp to be torn from the sheet together with its corresponding tab. The typography on the stamp runs between the pictures at right angles. All events are listed on the edges of the sheet. At the top is the title Sail Den Helder 2023, with Marinedagen underneath. At the bottom is the title The Tall Ships Races 2023, with, in chronological order, all the ports of call of the sailing race and their corresponding latitude and longitude. The five ships on the stamps are typical of the types of ships that will be present during Sail Den Helder 2023 in June and July. The ships pictured are the air defence and command frigate Zr. Ms. De Ruyter from 2002 (Netherlands), the two-master Abel Tasman from 1913 (Netherlands), the tall ship Juan Sebastián de Elcano from 1927 (Spain), the three-master ARM Cuauhtémoc from 1982 (Mexico) and the three-master Mircea from 1938 (Romania).

The typography is printed in Funktional Grotesk by font designer Davide Rossetto (Zürich, 2018).

The Sail Den Helder stamp sheet was designed by graphic designer Maud van Rossum from Amsterdam. She explored the subject partly by visiting the Maritime Museum in her hometown. ‘What fascinates me about this maritime subject is how everything works on board those big ships,’ Van Rossum says. ‘Reflecting the many aspects of the subject on two different stamp designs was a real challenge. And not just Sail Den Helder, but also the Marinedagen and the Tall Ships Races that are linked to it.’

Sketching and types of design
Based on the available photographic material, Van Rossum created a variety of sketches for different types of designs, also with the addition of a graphic layer. ‘That way, I was able to figure out what was possible with the photographic material available to me. For example, combinations with sea charts, meridians, wind roses, Mercator projections and also with routes travelled by ships across the sea. I also explored the possibility of including different types of ships in the same image. This in view of the various activities within and outside the scope of Sail Den Helder 2023.’

Adding depth
During the next stage, Van Rossum worked out her sketches to assess which concepts held up in practice. ‘Sometimes it was just too busy, because I wanted to show too much. At other times, I tried to tell the story with images alone. But I was not always satisfied with that either, especially because I always try to add depth to my designs. So it is not only about combining the right images properly, but also about capturing the whole thing in an overarching narrative.’

Telling the story
A selection was made from the available images to illustrate the story of Sail Den Helder, the Marinedagen and the Tall Ships Races. Van Rossum: ‘I preferred images with different types of ships next to each other against a background that was as simple as possible. So no crowds on the quays. They would have been a distraction. And preferably with beautiful Dutch skies. I also wanted to feature ships that actually visit Den Helder. But the list of participants often changes at the last minute, so I refrained from that. However, I did get some solid information about the route the tall ships will take during their race. The final design kept the different types of ships within the same image, while the tall ships’ route found a place on the sheet border. Including the ports they will call at, indicated by the expected date and latitude and longitude defining their location on the planet. I quite liked that addition.’

Viewing directions
When distributing the images across the stamp sheet, the pictures of the naval ships were placed on the tabs to the left and right, while the sailing ships are printed on the stamps themselves. Van Rossum: ‘In this way, we created a separation between the different events. By rotating the viewing direction on one side of the sheet by 180 degrees in relation to the other, the overall image becomes more dynamic. So at first glance, it looks like there are not two but ten different stamp designs.’

Typographical clarification
In the design, the original photos have been cropped in such a way that the ships on the stamps take centre stage. Each stamp also shows movement as the images are shifted in relation to each other. ‘That also had a practical reason,’ Van Rossum explains. ‘They’re different photographs, each with their own horizon. By shifting them, I ensured that the lines of slight didn’t end up at the same or virtually the same level. They had to be different. The shift created space to typographically clarify the various events in Den Helder. The vertical title Sail Den Helder serves as a pivot that connects the horizontal titles of the Marinedagen and the Tall Ships Races. This is how they encapsulate the story of the stamps.’

About the designer
Studio Maud van Rossum is a graphic design studio based in Amsterdam. The studio has an approach that focuses on content. Client and subject are at the centre of the search for the ideal solution for each project. The design is restrained, precise and serviceable, with typography as the guiding element. Creativity goes hand in hand with practicality. Not only the design, but also text editing, image editing, materials, planning and production are tackled with the utmost of care. Studio Maud van Rossum specialises in book design and works for publishers such as Architectura & Natura, Athenaeum Polak & Van Gennep, Boom, Lecturis, nai010, Plantage, Thoth and museums such as Boijmans van Beuningen, het Bonnefanten, Van Bommel van Dam, the Cuypershuis and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.