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Horses on stamps
thematic catalog for collectors
since 2003
Netherlands. Beautiful Netherlands. Ameland
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April 23, 2019 PostNL (Netherlands) in the series "Beautiful Netherlands" has released a stamp dedicated to the island Ameland.

The series Beautiful Netherlands has highlighted local history, cultural wealth and scenic beauty since 2005. For example, stamps were issued in recent years about traditional costumes, historic country houses, fishing villages, stream and river valleys and towns with town gates. With Beautiful Netherlands PostNL shows how much the company is rooted in Dutch society. Earlier this year PostNL had already issued three postage stamp sheets in these series about successively Texel (2 January), Vlieland (25 February) and Terschelling (25 March). After Beautiful Netherlands 2019: Ameland, two other postage stamp sheets will be issued on 20 May 2019 about the Dutch Wadden Islands (about Schiermonnikoog and a collector's sheet with stamps of all five islands).

Like the other Dutch Wadden Islands, Ameland is separated from the mainland by the Wadden Sea. This sea is the world's largest interconnected system of sand plains and mudflats which dry during low tide. The nature conservation area has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since June 2009. When viewed from the west, Ameland is the fourth of the five inhabited Dutch Wadden Islands from the series Beautiful Netherlands 2019.

Beautiful Netherlands 2019 - AmelandThe postage stamp sheet Beautiful Netherlands 2019: Amelandwas designed by the design agency Birza Design from Deventer. In the summer months of 2018 Carla and Ingmar Birza made a working visit to the five inhabited Dutch Wadden Islands to find inspiration and make photos for the series Beautiful Netherlands 2019.

Ameland was made on the basis of the well-known design and perforation of the series Beautiful Netherlands. On the stamp with a light blue background there is a huge black 1 on the left. This value is connected with a blank island map of Ameland with a blue contour line. All around there are photos with typical Ameland images: the lighthouse Bornrif at Hollum, the bell tower of Nes, a Frisian horse with blown-about manes, the propeller monument between Hollum and Ballum and a characteristic Ameland commander's house from 1675 in Hollum.

On the sheet edge there is a large island map of Ameland which extends under the stamps. The map includes a panorama photo of the dunes, the beach and the sea at the entrance to the North Sea beach near Nes. Around the island map there are nine circles with blue contour lines, including photos of striking Ameland places and objects. The flag of the island is pictured at the bottom right. All photos are explained through brief captions. In and around the large island map there are three small icons (a horseman and two cyclists) as a symbol of the tourist activities for which Ameland is known.


If you look closely, then on the sheet you can find two more equestrian "objects" - the silhouette of a rider and a horse carriage in coastal waters.

The rider on the field of small sheet appeared quite naturally - nowadays tourism is the main "specialization" of the island, and Ameland offers guests of the island pleasant horseback riding along the picturesque paths on the island’s territory and along the coastal dunes and beaches.

But the second image deserves a separate story.

On Ameland is the base of the latter in Europe, and, perhaps, in the world of a lifeboat on a horse-drawn trail. The fact is that on the coast of the island from the North Sea there is not a single place, not a single harbor, suitable for mooring ships, so all the boats are laid up from the Watt Sea or are generally pulled ashore, this also applies to lifeguards.

Therefore, beginning in 1829, in the event of a shipwreck or other disaster at sea, a team of 8-10 horses was harnessed to a rescue boat, which dragged it across the dunes to the coast and dragged it into the sea.
When the boat was already afloat, the horses were spun straight into the water, and they returned back to land. The rescue boat sailed to those in distress, while the horses waited on the shore. Upon the return of the boat from the rescue operation, the horses were again harnessed and they dragged the boat back into the island to the base of the rescuers.

In 1988, this rather exotic way for rescuers to enter the sea ceased to apply. However, the inhabitants of the island remember the glorious tradition and several times a year on Ameland arrange a demonstration launch of a rescue boat. During the demonstration of the horse-driven lifeboat on Ameland ten tough horses pull the lifeboat across the beach and through the breaking of the sea with massive force.

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