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Beautiful Netherlands 2019 - Vlieland - Sheetlets

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Technical details
  • 25.02.2019
  • Birza Design, Deventer
  • Joh. Enschedé Security Print, Haarlem
  • Offset
  • cyan, magenta, yellow and black
  • Stamp Size: 20.8 x 25.3 mm, Sheet Size: 144 x 75 mm
About Beautiful Netherlands 2019 - Vlieland

On 25 February 2019 PostNL will issue the postage stamp sheet Beautiful Netherlands 2019: Vlieland The series Beautiful Netherlands has highlighted local history, cultural wealth and scenic beauty since 2005. For example, stamps were issued in recent years about traditional costumes, historic country houses, fishing villages, stream and river valleys and towns with town gates. With Beautiful Netherlands PostNL shows how much the company is rooted in Dutch society. Earlier this year PostNL, on 2 January, issued the first postage stamp sheet Beautiful Netherlandsabout Texel. After Beautiful Netherlands 2019: Vlieland , four other postage stamp sheets will be issued about the Dutch Wadden Islands (on 25 March about Terschelling, on 23 April about Ameland and on 20 May about Schiermonnikoog and a collector's sheet with stamps of all five islands).

Like the other Dutch Wadden Islands, Vlieland is separated from the mainland by the Wadden Sea. This sea is the world's largest interconnected system of sand plains and mudflats which dry during low tide. The nature conservation area has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since June 2009. When viewed from the west, Vlieland is the second of the five inhabited Dutch Wadden Islands from the series Beautiful Netherlands 2019. The oldest written reference of Vlieland dates from the thirteenth century and describes a chapel, the Nicolaaskapel, which is on 'Insula Fle'. The island was an important link in, among others, the whaling trade and Hanseatic trade from the seventeenth century because of its favourable location. In the eighteenth century West-Vlieland, which was the main village of the village until then, disappeared into the sea. Now Vlieland is mainly popular as a destination for tourists. The island has more than 1,100 inhabitants (figures mid-2018), most of whom live in Oost-Vlieland, the only village of the island. Vlieland is the smallest inhabited island of the Dutch Wadden Islands and is furthest away from the mainland. [sources:,,]

The design of the postage stamp sheet Beautiful Netherlands 2019: Vlielandwas made on the basis of the well-known design and perforation of the series Beautiful Netherlands. On the stamp with a light yellow-green background there is a huge black 1 in the middle. This value is connected with a blank island map of Vlieland with an yellow-green contour line. All around photos have been placed with typical Vlieland images: the lighthouse on the Vuurboetsduin, the replica of a whale jaw as monumental tombstone, the rescue hut on the Vliehors and a house with a blue wooden top facade in the Dorpsstraat. The country name Nederland (the Netherlands) is shown in yellow-green on the left of the stamp and the island name of Vlieland is in white on top. The year of issue 2019 has been placed at an angle in the sorting symbol on the top right.

On the sheet edge there is a large island map of Vlieland which extends under the stamps. On the map there is a panorama photo of the coastal line of the island on the side of the Wadden Sea, taken from a spot across the dike about 4 kilometres west of Oost-Vlieland. Around the island map there are eight circles with yellow-green contour lines, including photos of striking places and objects on Vlieland. The flag of the island is pictured at the bottom right. All photos are explained through brief captions. In and around the large island map there are three small icons (a paddle surfer, hiker and cyclist) as a symbol of the tourist activities for which Vlieland is known.

Several fonts have been used for the typography: the Baro Plain (Julie Soudane, 2018) for the country name Nederland, the Baro Line three (Julie Soudane, 2018) for the island name of Vlieland, the design agency and the item number identification, the TT Tricks Stencil (Sofia Yasenkova, Philipp Nurullin, Vika Usmanova and TypeType Team, 2018) for the captions and the barcode font OCR-B (1968, Adrian Frutiger) for the design identification and the item number.

The postage stamp sheet Beautiful Netherlands 2019: Vlielandwas designed by the design agency Birza Design from Deventer. In the summer months of 2018 Carla and Ingmar Birza made a working visit to the five inhabited Dutch Wadden Islands to find inspiration and make photos for the series Beautiful Netherlands 2019.

More than 100 gigabytes
Ingmar Birza: “We obviously prepared ourselves well, although we had already visited most islands before. This obviously also applies to Vlieland. But it is always different when you transform your impressions into a design. And you also see many things which were not on your list. We made very many photos with two different cameras. We returned with in total more than 100 gigabytes of visual material. For some objects we used stock images or previously taken photos from our own archives when they were more suitable for the design. But most photos were made during our wanderings in the beautiful summer last year. So the postage stamp sheet has become an actual summary of our visit, our impression of Vlieland.”

Special experience
Carla Birza describes Vlieland as an island with two extremes. “You arrive at Oost-Vlieland by ferry, where you walk past many catering establishments. But when you leave the village it is immediately quiet again. That is a very special feeling. Vlieland is characterised by its small-scale nature, with an abundance of nature, but without any gates. A visit to the Vliehors is a special experience because of its vastness, so that it is sometimes difficult to determine where the horizon is. I have not experienced this in many other places. The northeastern point from which you can see Terschelling is also beautiful. With so much nature you must of course be careful when you want to build new houses. But on Vlieland they do this very carefully.”

Pictures with a story
The postage stamp sheet Beautiful Netherlands 2019: Vlielandmainly focuses on the nature and architecture of the island. “When selecting the photos we were looking for pictures with a story in an associative way”, according to Ingmar Birza. “We included most stories in a caption, sometimes in a few words. The stories match the concept that we devised for these stamps during our working visit to the Wadden Islands. In this concept the shape of the island is highlighted, this is why the map of Vlieland can be found on the stamps as well as on the sheet edge. On the stamp the shape of the island has been connected to the huge value 1 as a separate slice of the Netherlands. We made this 1 as large as the lighthouse alongside. The lighthouse photo was changed into duotone to prevent other photos being pushed to the background. As a result the whale jaw, the house with the blue top facade and the rescue hut are as prominent as the lighthouse. The island character of Vlieland is shown in several ways in the design. For example, because no photo has been placed in a descending order, because of the circular shape of the photos on the sheet edge and also because of our choice of typography. The font of the captions is a so-called case letter, consisting of elements which are placed apart.”

Highlighting the north
At the bottom left on the sheet edge there is a compass rose which indicates the north. Carla Birza: “We had to slightly tilt the island map of Vlieland, because it would otherwise not fit on the postage stamp. The compass rose shows how the island is actually placed on the map. It is also an indication of the special character of Beautiful Netherlands this year. With other issues the aim was always to have a balanced coverage of the Netherlands. However, this year the north is highlighted. This is shown by the place of the year of issue 2019 on the stamp. It is not for nothing that it forms an arrow on the stamp pointing upwards together with the sorting symbol.”

About the design agency
Ingmar and Carla Birza together run the design and communication agency Birza Design in Deventer. Carla Birza studied textile work forms at the Tilburg Art Academy, Ingmar studied graphic design at the Den Bosch Art Academy between 1991 and 1995. After a short period at agencies in Breda and Amsterdam Ingmar worked together with his father Be J. Birza in his studio in Deventer. In 2005 Ingmar continued the agency together with his wife Carla, whereby design assignment were carried out for many different clients. Birza Design has already carried our various stamp-related commissions for PostNL since 1998, including prestige stamp booklets, envelopes, postage stamps and fair sheets. Birza Design designed the stamps the Dutch Wad In 2003, on the basis of a concept which had won the first prize in a design competition for the Dutch public. The agency was also responsible for the design of the stamps for 10 x Orange at the 2014 Football World Cup, the 2013 Europe stamps (Dutch post cars) and the new frame for the personal stamps in 2013. Ingmar Birza previously designed the Day of the Stamp 2012 (Juliana 'head-on'/Sem Hartz), 2013 (Wilhelmina in profile/Piet Zwart), 2014 numerical stamps/Jan van Krimpen), 2015 Liberation stamp/Bernard Romein), 2016 (Jubilee stamps/ Karel de Bazel), 2017 (Wilhelmina with hanging hair/Heinrich Raeder) and 2018 (Crouwel stamps). Birza Design also designed the series Beautiful Netherlands about fishing places and the postage stamp sheet about Dutch chicken strains, both in 2016). Birza Design has made many Yearbooks for Dutch stamps and many different philatelic publications with Uitgeverij DAVO.