On June 19, the Netherlands’ PostNL will celebrate 10 regional delicacies with a sheetlet of 10 stamps dubbed “Dutch Treats.”
Each sheetlet includes Bossche bol (chocolate ball); Limburg flan; Drents kniepertie; Frisian suikerbrood (sugar bread); Zwolle balls; Gouda stroopwafel; Zeeland bolus; Groningen eierbal; Amsterdam onion; and Tielse fairground cake. The design of each stamps extends through the perforations above and below the stamps. Each stamp depicts its respective treat being held up by one or two hands and displayed on a dish, plate, bowl, cloth, box or jar. Each delicacy is depicted in the centre of the stamp, and each stamp has been given its own background colour.
Each stamp measures 36 mm by 25 mm. The stamps are non-denominated; however, the “1” numeral in the lower-left corner of each stamp indicates it will pay the country’s basic domestic rate for letters weighing up to 20 grams.
Joost Overbeek, of Amsterdam’s Overburen design studio, was one of the sheetlet’s designers. A resident of Arnhem, Joost commented on the lack of Arnhemse meisjes—very sugary hard biscuits—in the recent issue.
“That was the only fly in the ointment. Otherwise it was a really fun job. We were given a great deal of flexibility in coming up with our own-style design. The only proviso was that we included the ten treats on the list compiled in conjunction with the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage.”
Joost worked on this design with colleagues Ayla Maagdenberg and Maarten Geurink. All three designers are featured on the stamps as models presenting a different treat.
“The other seven are people who happened to visit us during the photo sessions,” said Joost. “Ayla took the photos here in the studio. Just using daylight. When we thought about the concept, we quickly came up with the idea of doing something using hands. The treats themselves are not that photogenic. Incidentally, we did try out some alternative ideas. Such as having people talking about the treat in the local dialect in a speech bubble. Great fun, but it didn’t work. The treat became too small.”
Joost said most of the treats featured on the sheetlet are brown, which “doesn’t make for particularly attractive stamps.”
“We manipulated the backgrounds of the photos using light colours from a palette that was put together especially for these stamps,” he added. “The colours also dictated the sequence of the treats on the stamps. The photos that required more space have been placed in the corners. That allows them to overlap onto the tabs. They are exciting, cheerful colours. When I collected stamps as a boy, I preferred Polish and Hungarian stamps. That was mainly because they were so wonderfully colourful. These have a similar feel to them.”
WORKING WITH PROPS
Joost said while most of the treats could be found in local supermarkets, that wasn’t the case for the Tielse kermiskoek or the Zwolse balletjes.
“Luckily, the local producers were enormously helpful,” he said. “The kniepertie was baked for us especially by a PostNL employee. Treats often feel rather sticky or oily when you hold them. That’s why we worked with props such as plates, dishes and cloths. Only the Drents kniepertie is held directly in the hand, as it’s a hard, dry waffle. Moreover, it enabled us to demonstrate better the difference from the Goudse stroopwafel.”