22 October 2020

We are already satisfied nowadays when a letter will be delivered the next day. The obligation for PostNL to deliver at least 95% of the mail the next working day (within the Netherlands, except for the islands) did the company in 2018 with “the heels over the ditch”.

How different it used to be, even without all modern means of transport. The attached postcard (from the Queen’s Commissioner in the province South Holland) was posted in The Hague on October 2, 1896 and arrived the same day in Ruhrort (now part of Duisburg), Germany.

René Hillesum

René Hillesum

Collector of postal history of Finland and postmarks of Imperial Saint Petersburg.

View all posts by René Hillesum →

2 thoughts on “Nice and fast

  1. Enlarged the relevant part of the image (using AI, obviously the computer still needs a lot of training):

    It seems to me the year is 1898, not 1896. The original cancellation says “2 OCT 1898”. However, even though the arrival cancellation seems to read “2 10 ?6” (? = probably part of a 9, so “96”), I don’t think the card went back in time 2 years. Maybe in Ruhrort they made a mistake on that day with the canceler?

    Still, there is something I wonder about: how did that card arrive so fast at that time? Since the first serious airmail routes were established 20+ years later it must have been transported by train. What might have been the route the card traveled?

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