World Stamps

Celtic love knot inspires Europa 2023 stamp design

May 29, 2023, 10 AM
Switzerland is among the more than 50 countries issuing a Europa stamp with a common design for the theme “Peace, the highest value of humanity.” The design was inspired by a Celtic love knot symbol.

By Molly Goad

The 2023 Europa stamps showcase a common design for the theme “Peace — the highest value of humanity.”

The stamps were officially launched May 9, Europe Day, although some participating countries issue their Europa stamps on other dates.

Post Luxembourg’s “the new peace symbol” design was selected out of the 29 entries submitted during the 2023 Europa design competition, receiving the most votes from the 44 postal companies that participated.

In April 2022, the Europa stamp theme for 2023 was changed to “Peace — the highest value of humanity” at the request of Ukraine’s post office to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine during a time of war.

PostEurop’s board approved the request and decided that it should be a common design motif, something the trade association representing European public postal operators has only done twice since 1993.

Post Luxembourg’s message for the common stamp design was simple: A new peace symbol can unite all nations, regardless of cultural differences.

PostEurop’s press release described the design as depicting “a visual metaphor for a peacefully integrated, cooperative society in which people embrace each other’s cultures.”

The Celtic love knot symbol of two interweaving hearts provided inspiration, and the color palette was selected to illustrate all the nations in the world.

“By depicting a pair of hands holding each other with intertwined fingers, the design conveys the message of mutual respect,” PostEurop said.

More than 50 postal administrations are issuing the common design stamp. Switzerland’s stamp is shown nearby.

“I am extremely happy to see so many European postal operators committed to this joint 2023 Europa stamps theme,” said Agnieszka Trzaskowska, chairwoman of the PostEurop Stamps and Philately Working Group. “The winning design from Post Luxembourg has been successfully adopted by our members, who were able to perfectly integrate this common design idea within their portfolio. This unity amongst our members has made the project a great success.”

PostEurop said that given the nature of this joint-motif edition, the usual online competition for the best Europa design will not occur.

The press release did not mention that some countries issued two Europa stamps this year, one with the joint design and one with the country’s own design.

Upcoming Europa themes are underwater fauna and flora in 2024 and national archaeological discoveries in 2025. For more information, visit PostEurop online.

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