World Stamps

Netherlands continues Typically Dutch series on stamp issued Jan. 2

Jan 5, 2024, 10 AM
A stamp issued Jan. 2 by the Netherlands’ post office, PostNL, in a pane of six shows statuettes of two cows designed to look like Delft pottery. The designers used artificial intelligence to assist with the artwork.

By David Hartwig

The Netherlands’ post office, PostNL, showcases cows and Delft pottery on a stamp issued Jan. 2 in a pane of six.

The stamp shows two cows facing forward. While the cows may look normal at first glance, a closer look reveals that they are statuettes, and the apparent spots on the cows are designs in the shade of blue popular with Delft pottery.

Cattle are an important agricultural commodity in the Netherlands. According to Statistics Netherlands, the Dutch institution that gathers statistical information about the Netherlands, around 3.8 million cattle are registered in the country, including 1.6 million dairy cows.

This comes to about 217 cattle for every 1,000 people in the Netherlands, compared to about 269 cattle per 1,000 people in the United States.

Delft pottery, also known as Delftware and Delft Blue, refers to Dutch tin-glazed earthenware. The city of Delft in the Netherlands developed an association with Chinese porcelain when it was the home port of the Dutch East India Co., founded in 1602.

According to the website of the pottery factory and museum Royal Delft, which has been creating Delft pottery for more than 370 years, porcelain was unknown in the Netherlands at the time, so Dutch potters tried to imitate the products with local clay.

This led to the founding of a number of factories, including Royal Delft in 1653.

Total Design, the Amsterdam agency responsible for the artwork on all of the issues in the Typically Dutch series, used an artificial intelligence program called Midjourney to assist with the artwork on the Cows stamp. The program works by using textual descriptions to create images.

The nondenominated, domestic-rate (currently €1.09) stamp continues the Typically Dutch series PostNL began in 2020.

The Typically Dutch stamps issued in 2020 feature food typical of the Netherlands. In 2021, the stamps focused on house types and facades. The series showed five sports in which the Dutch excel in 2022 and sights important to the Netherlands in 2023.

Animals make up the theme of the 2024 Typically Dutch series, with dog stamps to be issued Feb. 12, horses March 25, songbirds May 13 and cats Aug. 12.

The Cows stamp measures 30 millimeters by 40mm and was printed in offset by Cartor Security Printers in a quantity of 75,000 panes of six.

For ordering information, visit PostNL online.

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