27 August 2019
In our Europa spotlight, we take a look at how countries that don’t have a national bird have managed to produce stamps on this year’s theme.
When PostEurop selected this year’s theme National birds, did they realize that most European countries don’t actually have a national bird? One such example is Belgium, who in June released a two-stamp souvenir sheet featuring the Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) and the Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus). As you may know, there are some linguistic issues in Belgium and usually Belgian stamps are issued in order to please both communities, which was done with this issue.
The Jay is called “Vlaamse gaai”, which in Flemish which means “Flemish jay” and the Oriole is called in Flemish “Wielewaal” and the word “waal” means “Walloon” - a smart way to find a bird for each part of this country.
Another issue with a similar story came from Jersey where as usual their Europa issue is part of a larger set. As Jersey doesn’t have a national bird, Jersey post went for an issue called “Birds and symbolism” in which each of the six birds is linked with a symbol as shown here: the Kestrel for “vision and patience”; the Swallow for “hope and renewal”; the Swan for “purity and love”; the Peacock for “glory and dignity”; the Kingfisher for “peace and calm”; and the Stork for “new beginnings and commitment”. A nice issue in which only the Swan and Kingfisher are bearing the Europa logo.
QUICK LINK: The origins of the Europa stamp