21 juli 2024

Keukenhof’s 75th anniversary

On 1 March 2024, PostNL will issue the Keukenhof’s 75th anniversary stamp sheet to mark the anniversary of this popular flower exhibition in Lisse. Not only is 1 March the day that the meteorological spring begins – it’s also Keukenhof’s official foundation date. The Keukenhof’s 75th anniversary stamp sheet has six stamps in three different designs and was created by Amsterdam-based graphic designer Maud van Rossum. The stamps feature the following spring flowers: the iris, daffodil and tulip. The stamps bear denomination ‘internationaal 1’ for post weighing up to 20g with foreign destinations. A sheet of ten stamps costs €10.50.

SUBJECT
The name ‘Keukenhof’ is derived from Keukenduin, a dune area that belonged to Slot Teylingen in the province of Zuid-Holland. As early as the 15th century, Countess Jacoba van Beieren (1401-1436) had her staff use this area to supply the kitchen of the castle where she lived, right up until her death. Keukenhof Castle was built by Adriaen Maertensz Block in 1641. The Keukenhof estate regularly changed hands and, over time, it grew to an area of over 200 hectares. In 1857, landscape architects Jan David Zocher (father) and Louis Paul Zocher (son) redesigned the garden surrounding the castle. Designed in English landscape style, the park is still at the heart of today’s Keukenhof. In 1949, a group of flower bulb growers and exporters drew up a plan to create an exhibition of spring flowering flower bulbs on the estate. The spring park, Keukenhof, was an instant success and attracted 236,000 visitors in its first year. Over the past 75 years, Keukenhof has grown into a global icon with endless tulip beds and other colourful spring bulb flowers. For Keukenhof, the new season starts when around 7 million spring bulbs from over 100 growers go into the ground between early October and early December. Each year, Keukenhof receives around 1 million visitors, 80% of whom come from around 100 foreign countries. In 2024, Keukenhof will be open from 21 March to 12 May.

KEUKENHOF
Annemarie Gerards-Adriaansens, Project Manager for Keukenhof’s 75th anniversary celebration: ‘In 2024, we’ll be celebrating our 75th anniversary. It will be a special season, with an anniversary exhibition and all sorts of other activities. A 75th anniversary is a big milestone, and we’re grateful and proud to be able to celebrate with visitors, bulb growers, residents, the government and all our employees who have contributed to the park’s development. None of this happened on its own. Jan Zocher and his son designed the garden back in 1840, and over the past 75 years, many people have been involved in building it into the garden as we know it today: Keukenhof. It all began in 1949, with an initiative conceived by ten bulb growers who wanted to raise awareness for flower bulbs. Since it opened in 1950, Keukenhof has blossomed into a global phenomenon. The park is a must-see destination in travel programmes. 80% of Keukenhof’s visitors come from abroad, and we overwhelm our foreign visitors with Dutch spring bulb flowers. The positive energy that flowers produce really connects our visitors. Millions of photos are taken in the park and posted on social media, but postcards are beautiful souvenirs that connect people. Keukenhof’s international visitors love sending handwritten cards, and the anniversary stamp published this spring will only bolster that enthusiasm.’

DESIGN
The Keukenhof’s 75th anniversary stamp sheet has the standard 108 x 150mm size and contains six stamps in three different designs. Each stamp has the same unique shape of a stylised petal with a triangular base under a serrated circle shape. The stamps features three different flowers (the daffodil, tulip and iris) as large as possible against a white background. The six stamps are arranged on the stamp sheet to reflect the shape of a flower with six petals. The ‘Priority’ logo is incorporated into each stamp design, with the flower’s stem continuing below the logo. Above each flower, the stamp features the issue title, country indication, ‘international 1’ denomination and Keukenhof’s 2024 opening hours in a circular shape. The name and flowering period of each flower are printed around each stamp. The background of the stamp sheet features a sloping image of a field of tulips in bloom, in predominantly red hues.

TYPOGRAPHY
Scala Sans Pro (1993) by Dutch type designer Martin Majoor was used for the typography. Adobe Caslon Regular (1990) by American font designer Carol Twombly was used for the numbers (denomination ‘1’ and the ‘75’ in the title).

DESIGNER
The stamp sheet was designed by Amsterdam-based graphic designer Maud van Rossum. Combining flowers and stamps is not a unfamiliar concept to Van Rossum. Back in 2022, she designed the 200 Years of the Mauritshuis Museum stamps featuring paintings of famous floral still lifes. ‘Same subject, but from a completely different perspective,’ says Van Rossum. ‘It needed to be a colourful, joyful, special design and I think we pulled it off.’

Rolling flowerbeds, winding paths
The first thing that Van Rossum did after being assigned the project was to travel to Keukenhof. ‘I was just in time, because I went there just before it closed in May. I picked the worst spring day ever, as it just wouldn’t stop raining. That did mean it was extremely quiet. I thought I was just going to see some tulip fields in tight geometric patterns, but Keukenhof is much more than that. I was pleasantly surprised by how playfully the bulb flowers are planted in sloping beds. There are lots of other flowers in bloom, apart from tulips. There’s also a huge focus on art.’

Oodles of photos
Keukenhof supplied Van Rossum with oodles of photos. ‘From the very beginning, I wanted the flowers themselves to dominate the images. I didn’t want the stamps to feature any people, windmills or other typically Dutch tourist images. And they were fine with that – they’re very down to earth at Keukenhof. They see themselves as a park where you can come and see beautiful bulbs in bloom – nothing more and nothing less. All the pictures I was given were of flower fields, so the first thing I did was to detach all of the images. I didn’t need to do any invasive editing. Lithographer Marc Gijzen played around with the orange shades, as orange is a difficult colour to print and quickly loses its vibrancy. But not here.’

Glossy magazine
On the stamps, Van Rossum echoed that variety by selecting three different flowers: an orangey red tulip, a blueish purple iris and a yellow daffodil. ‘Each flower had the starring role its own stamp, and so they were positioned as large as possible, detached from a white background. When I was selecting the images, I wanted to create a photographic feel in a glossy magazine, where the flower acted as a confident model. It had to be vibrant, bouncing off the stamp.’

Different shape
PostNL gave Van Rossum the freedom to deviate from the standard rectangular stamp format. Van Rossum: ‘I didn’t have to use that freedom, but I did. Last year’s Journey to the moon stamp sheet already showed what extraordinary results that can produce. Initially, I developed several design concepts anyway – one with a traditional stamp shape and another with a round shape reminding me of flower petals. PostNL was instantly positive about the second option, so I went with that idea. The drop shape of the petals was the underlying concept that I ultimately used for the shape of the stamps. The serrations also reflect the shape of the petals – take a look at the daffodil, for example. It’s also a reference to the perforations on classic stamps.’

Logo and typography
The ‘Priority’ logo was factored into the final layout of the sheet and stamps. Van Rossum: ‘The logo is plays an essential role in the sorting process for international post. Usually, the logo is positioned on tabs next to the stamps. However, the special shape of the stamp meant I could integrate the logo into the design itself. The bottom of each stamp was shaped so that the rectangular logo runs along the straight edge. That gave me enough space to place the typography in the white background. For each stamp design, I took the freedom to place the information as naturally as possible, depending on the shape of the flower. I positioned the key postal information – the ‘1’ denomination and sorting hook – close to the Priority logo.’

Flower petals
The position of the six stamps on the sheet is a reference to the way petals are grouped in circles. ‘With a little imagination, of course, as it’s not a true-to-life representation,’ says Van Rossum. ‘Although the stamps were designed freely, I didn’t want them to become too out of the box by literally following the flower contours, for example. All of the stamps have the same unique shape so that they remain recognisable as stamps.’

Background image
The background of the stamp sheet features a photo of a tulip field taken at knee height. Van Rossum: ‘Initially, I thought about putting a classic image of bulb fields on there as well – an aerial photograph, perhaps. But that took too much attention away from the stamps, and so I opted for a less dominant image that reflects my first visit to Keukenhof. Bend down and lower your perspective so you’re not looking down on the flowers, but straight at them, and that opens up a whole new world.’

About the designer
Studio Maud van Rossum is a graphic design studio based in Amsterdam. The studio takes a content-oriented approach, where the client and subject play a pivotal role in shaping a project. The design process is unobtrusive, meticulous and obliging, and typography is the unifying factor. Creativity goes hand in hand with practicality. The studio takes a careful approach to design, text editing, image editing, materialisation, planning and production. Studio Maud van Rossum specialises in book design and works for publishers including Architectura & Natura, Athenaeum Polak & Van Gennep, Boom, Lecturis, nai010, Plantage, Thoth and museums such as Boijmans van Beuningen, Bonnefanten, Van Bommel van Dam, the Cuypershuis and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

For PostNL, Van Rossum has designed the Sail Den Helder (2023), 200 Years of the Mauritshuis Museum (2022), Queen Máxima’s 50th birthday (2021) and The first atlases (2020) stamps. In collaboration with Piet Gerards, she previously created the World Heritage Netherlands (2014), Inauguration of Willem-Alexander (2013) and Heemschut’s 100th anniversary (2011) stamps.

After finishing her studies at Sint Lucas in Boxtel (1992-1996), Maud van Rossum (Venlo, 1974) continued her graphic design training at Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Arnhem (1996-2000), where she was taught by Gerard Schilder, Thomas Widdershoven and Pieter Hildering. In 2000, she joined Piet Gerards Ontwerpers, where she designed numerous books. On 1 July 2018, Maud van Rossum acquired Piet Gerards Ontwerpers and continued operating under her own name.

SALES/VALIDITY
The stamps are available while stocks last from Bruna post offices and www.postnl.nl/bijzondere-postzegels. The stamps are also available for order by telephone from Collect Club’s Customer Service department on +31 (0)88 868 99 00. The validity period is indefinite.

VALUE
The Keukenhof’s 75th anniversary stamps carry bear denomination ‘internationaal 1’ for post weighing up to 20g with foreign destinations. Each sheet of six stamps costs €10.50.

TECHNICAL DATA
Stamp size 37.7 x 37.7mm (hxw)
Sheet size 108 x 150mm (hxw)
Paper normal with phosphor underlay
Gumming self adhesive
Printing technique offset
Print colours cyan, magenta, yellow and black
Circulation 115,000 sheets
Appearance sheet of 6 stamps in 3 different designs
Design Studio Maud van Rossum, Amsterdam
Photography Keukenhof, Lisse
Lithography Marc Gijzen, Voorburg
Printing house Koninklijke Joh. Enschedé B.V., Haarlem
Item number 440361

SUMMARY
Issue: Keukenhof’s 75th anniversary
Issue date: 1 March 2024
Appearance: sheet of six stamps in three similar designs, with denomination ‘internationaal 1’ for post weighing up to 20g with foreign destinations
Item number: 440361
Design: Studio Maud van Rossum, Amsterdam
Photography: Keukenhof, Lisse
Lithography: Marc Gijzen, Voorburg

COPYRIGHT © 2024 Koninklijke PostNL BV

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