24 juli 2024

Typically Dutch – rookworst

ISSUE On 2 January 2020, PostNL will publish the Typically Dutch – rookworst stamp sheet. The issue is the first in the new Typically Dutch series and follows the Beautiful Netherlands (2005-2019) series. The six identical postage stamps will be marked ‘Nederland 1’, the denomination for items up to 20g in weight destined for the Netherlands. The Typically Dutch – rookworst issue was designed by graphic designer Edwin van Praet from Total Design in Amsterdam. The photographs were taken by Scrambled Media, also based in Amsterdam. Over the next six months, PostNL will be issuing four more stamp sheets in the Typically Dutch series after this rookworst issue. On 24 February, PostNL will publish stamps on the theme of carrots, on 23 March about hagelslag, on 6 April about the tompouce and on 15 June about bitterballen.

SUBJECT This year, the Typically Dutch series focusses on foods and dishes that are typical for the Netherlands. Rookworst plays the leading role in the first issue. This traditional Dutch product is generally produced by filling a casing with primarily ground pork. The casing is usually a sheep intestine, pig intestine or collagen intestine (made from the subcutaneous tissue from cattle). The smoking takes place in a smoke box or by adding smoke flavouring. Rookworsten, or smoked sausages, are available both cooked and uncooked, in fine and coarse varieties. Nowadays, vegetarian rookworsten are also available. In the Netherlands, tens of millions of rookworsten are eaten each year, either on their own or as part of typically Dutch dishes such as pea soup and stamppot with curly kale and zuurkool (“sour cabbage”). According to old recipes, rookworst was also made from beef by mixing lean pork with ‘bull flesh or grass veal meat’. Salt, pepper, cane sugar and saltpetre (as a preservative) were used for seasoning. The traditional smoking temperature for rookworsten is 18 to 20°C. At higher temperatures, the taste deteriorates and the intestine breaks easily.

DESIGN The Typically Dutch – rookworst stamps show the classic rookworst with string, lying on a white plate with a knife and fork at the sides. The logo for the Typically Dutch series is printed underneath the plate, including a folded Dutch banner on the left and right. The words Mmm… Rookworst are printed in a strong cursive font above the plate. The year (2020), country (Nederland) and denomination 1 are printed on the right-hand side of the stamp. The sorting hook is in the top left-hand corner. The background colour of the stamps is pastel brown, just like the colour of the sheet edge. On the upper part of the sheet edge, the rookworst returns in slices, accompanied by the knife used for the cutting. The rookworst is placed on a wooden board with brown bread and a bowl of pea soup, with a blue tablecloth with a checked motif underneath. The series logo, including the Dutch flag, returns above the image. The right-hand side of the sheet contains a short description of the rookworst and on the left there is space for the logo, name of the designer, item number and barcode.

TYPOGRAPHY The Nexa Thin and Nexa Rust (Svet Simov, Fontfabric, 2012) fonts have been used for the text on the stamps and stamp sheet. For the words Mmm… Rookworst, the Lemon Tuesday (Daria Kwon, Dafont, 2016) font was used.

DESIGNER The Typically Dutch – rookworst issue is the first in a new series that PostNL is publishing this year. The design was produced by graphic designer Edwin van Praet from Total Design. Typically Dutch follows the Beautiful Netherlands series, which PostNL has published for 15 years.

A design with potential for the future

In the new series, PostNL focuses on typically Dutch customs, products, dishes and customs. ‘In this first year, the focus is on authentic Dutch dishes and food,’ says Edwin van Praet. ‘The first stamps to be published are the rookworst stamps. PostNL asked us to produce a design for Typically Dutch with potential for the future: a basic design that would be suitable for all of the subject matter. It had to be an accessible design that would appeal to everyone, does not hinder the design process and offers plenty of room for creativity – whether that’s with photos, illustrations or graphic solutions.’

Mood boards: illustrations, photography, graphics

As is common practice at Total Design, a separate team was set up to explore content and form. Together with Jeanett Visser (Client Manager) and Eric van den Wildenberg (Client Director), Van Praet (Creative Director) studied the various options in detail. ‘We looked at traditional dishes, classic foods, seasonal changes and the times of day when Dutch people tend to eat typically Dutch dishes. We also explored the influences of other food cultures on Dutch cuisine. After all, Chinese takeaway here is something that is typically Dutch. Mood boards were used to test out illustrations, photography, graphics and written recipes. Of course, we were looking for as much variety in subject matter as possible: sweet, salty, spicy, meat, fish and vegetarian, and the times of day when Dutch people tend to eat typically Dutch dishes.’

Mmm… Rookworst

The search resulted in long lists of potential subject matter, with different types of designs. Van Praet translated them into various designs that were then submitted to PostNL. In all of the designs, the dishes and food such as the rookworst on this first issue were given a prominent place on the stamps. The logo of the new series, with its red, white and blue banner, soon became a permanent feature. And so did the expression Mmm… Rookworst, with a handwritten font just like one you find on a chalkboard in the kitchen.

Photo session

PostNL unanimously selected the design based on nostalgic photography. In the development process for this concept, Van Praet first of all used stock images. However, this did not work so well because the photographs differed from each other too much in terms of quality and style. Instead, Total Design called on the specialist food photographers and stylists at the Amsterdam-based agency Scrambled Media. Van Praet: ‘During the photo session, we tested various rookworsten for the stamps. The HEMA rookworst worked best, as it has the roundest shape. The sausage lies nicely around with the curve of the plate.’

Neutral plate and cutlery

The plate used has a neutral appearance, it is an off-white colour and is not too deep. ‘The rookworst really comes into its own,’ says Van Praet. ‘The same goes for the knife and fork. Not that modern Scandinavian cutlery is all that trendy these days, but the knife and fork have a traditional, inconspicuous design. We have managed to sneak some in. Forks are usually slightly smaller than knives, but that wouldn’t have worked in terms of composition. The grid of the image on the stamp consists of a circle within two squares. In order to achieve perfect squares, we made the knife and fork the same length. The grid fits inside the rectangular shape of the stamp, which you could see as a placemat. The smallest placemat in the Netherlands.’

Tone-on-tone effect

Van Praet wanted to create a tone-on-tone effect by using the pastel brown colour of the brown rookworst for both the stamps and the sheet edge. The rookworst on the stamp was photographed in the classic position that we know as the basic shape of a rookworst. With the image on the sheet edge, Van Praet allowed himself much more freedom, he explains. ‘There, the rookworst returns as you use it at home, already cut into slices with one of those special knives. A bowl of pea soup is positioned next to it, with a spoon that has sunk deep into the bowl. There is some brown bread lying on the board waiting to be dunked in the pea soup. I have placed a blue checked tablecloth underneath it, which I think goes well with the pastel brown. The photo has a nostalgic character, but is also contemporary given that rookworst is still very popular. That was also clear during the photoshoot – it smelled amazing. It’s all photographed as is – no tricks were used to make it look nicer. That’s also one of the great things about working with Scrambled Media. All of the dishes and food they photograph are eaten after the shoot. They are sometimes donated to a food bank, for example.’

Wim Crouwel: Mr Gridnik

Wim Crouwel (1928-2019) died while the design for these stamps was still being developed. The co-founder of Total Design was also one of the Netherlands’ most famous stamp designers. ‘He’s one of my heroes,’ says Van Praet. ‘Also for me as a stamp lover: as a collector, I’m not interested in certain subject matter and countries. I’m interested in the stamp designers who I admire. Of course, I own all of Crouwel’s stamps. In the design of Typically Dutch I also pay tribute to Crouwel as a graphic designer, who was nicknamed Mr. Gridnik due to his geometric and structuralist approach. There is a very strong grid behind these stamps.’

About the designer

Edwin van Praet (1971) studied graphic and typographic design at the Academy of Art and Design St. Joost in Breda. After graduating, he worked as a graphic designer at Tel Design in The Hague for seven years. In 2003, he joined Total Identity/Total Design, first as a Senior Designer and now as Creative Director. At this famous design agency in Amsterdam, he is responsible for developing client projects in terms of strategy, identity and brand experience. Van Praet has won many awards for his work in both national and international design competitions.

Total Design is not only a name – it also describes how the agency works. Total Design is an active name, which produces result-oriented, surprising and iconic solutions for every project. Total Design was founded in 1963 as a unique creative collective and works with both young talents and experienced individuals from various disciplines. Strategists work together with developers, branding experts and storytellers in an open playing field to collectively fulfil customers’ goals.

SALE/VALIDITY The stamps are available while stocks last at the post office counter in Bruna shops and at www.postnl.nl/bijzondere-postzegels [in Dutch]. The stamps can also be ordered by phone from the Collect Club customer service on telephone number +31 (0)88 868 99 00. The validity period is indefinite.

VALUE The denomination on these stamps is ‘Nederland 1’, for standard letters weighing up to 20 grams sent to an address within the Netherlands.


  • Stamp size: 40 x 30mm
  • Sheet size: 122 x 170mm
  • Paper: normal with phosphor print
  • Gum: gummed
  • Printing technique: offset
  • Printing colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black
  • Edition: 78,000 sheets
  • Appearance: sheet of 6 stamps in 6 similar designs
  • Design: Edwin van Praet, Total Design, Amsterdam
  • Photography: Scrambled Media, Amsterdam
  • Printing company: Joh. Enschedé Security Print, Haarlem
  • Item number: 400162


  • Issue: Typically Dutch – rookworst
  • Issue date: 2 January 2020
  • Appearance: sheet of 6 stamps in 6 similar designs
  • Item number: 400162
  • Design: Edwin van Praet, Total Design, Amsterdam
  • Photography: Scrambled Media, Amsterdam

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