'Typically Dutch' cows on new stamps


24 January 2024
PostNL released the latest in its Typically Dutch series on 2 January – the first of this year’s issues in the series. This multi-year series started in 2020 and all this year’s releases will be dedicated to well-known animals, with this issue on the theme of cows. Other issues in the 2024 series will feature dogs (12 February), horses (25 March), songbirds (13 May) and cats (12 August).

The six identical stamps in the sheet, priced at €6.54, have value 1 for mail up to and including 20g with a destination within the Netherlands.

The stamp has been designed by Total Designs in Amsterdam, who have been responsible for the Typically Dutch series since 2020. PostNL asked the agency to incorporate the Delft Blue theme into the 2024 series, and Artificial intelligence has been used to help design the stamp.

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Cattle have been kept by humans for a long time, probably for more than 10,000 years, with long-term domestication and breeding programs creating many different breeds. Modern-day domesticated cattle are descended from wild cattle, known as aurochs, who became extinct in the 17th century due to the loss of habitat and overhunting.

Today, about 3.8 million cattle are currently registered in the Netherlands, including 1.6 million dairy cows, with the average dairy farm having 110 dairy cows and 58 female young cattle. The country’s lush pastures and temperate maritime climate make it ideal for dairy farming.

The world-famous Friesian cow originates from the Netherlands and is an integral part of the Dutch countryside and dairy industry, especially in its cheese production.

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The stamps feature the statues of two cattle standing next to each other in the form of Delft Blue pottery.

This Dutch product developed in the 17th century as an alternative to porcelain imported from China by the Dutch East India Company (VOC). As the imported product proved very popular among the elite, potters in Dutch towns tried to replicate it, with those in Delft proving the most successful, developing a ceramic product that could be compared to Chinese porcelain in shape, shine and decoration. Delft Blue became very popular in a short time and experienced a heyday in the period 1650–1750 with about 100 pottery factories.

Today, there are only a few factories that produce Delft Blue in the classic way, including De Porceleyne Fles and Heinen Delfts Blauw.