Friday, April 22, 2016

Faroe Islands 2016
Postverk Foroya 40 Years

ISSUE DATE: 1 April 2016
STAMP/MINISHEET SIZE: 34.7 x 46.33 / 86 x 84 mm

On April 1st 1976 the Danish postal services in the Faroe Islands were formally taken over by the Faroese government. The new institution was named Postverk Føroya and the Danish posthorn insignia was replaced with a Ram’s horn.

When mailboxes turned blue.
The human eye is a remarkable instrument. Apart from its obvious role of perceiving its surroundings, thus granting us a fairly safe conduct in everyday pursuits, it also has a form of reporting function to the dedicated brain processes. Without directly observing changes in our environment we are able to immediately register them.

We are in all likelihood equipped with an ancient instinctive defence mechanism: “Be aware, all is not as it used to be!” It was experience of this kind I once had on my way to the local grocery store in 1976. Amidst all the vivid and colourful impressions meeting the eye something did not fit. At that moment I could not put my finger on what it was and it only dawned on me when reaching for the doorknob: The elegant red mailbox from the Danish postal service which used to hang right next to the front door had disappeared. In its place there was a box of exactly the same design - but of light blue colour, decorated with a stylized white Ram’s horn and the inscription Postverk Føroya. 

In the next few days I saw mailboxes everywhere - but my brain soon grew accustomed to the sight of blue mailboxes and a new word was introduced into the vocabulary: mailbox-blue. The following years I saw more changes in the street scene. The distinctive yellow-coloured Renault 4 postal vehicles disappeared, being replaced with blue-painted vans, both large and small. Even one of Post Denmark’s most recognizable icons, a mailman wearing a cap and bright red coat, ended up in the pastures of nostalgia. Instead we got mailmen in more fashionable dresses, blue and black jackets with reflectors on the sleeve.

Yes, quite a few things changed in 1976, the reason for which could be traced some years back. After the parliament elections in 1974 the Social Democratic Party, “Javnaðarflokkurin”, formed a government with the conservative People’s Party, “Fólkaflokkurin”, and the Republic, “Tjóðveldisflokkurin”. A part of the government program was taking over certain affairs of state, among them the postal services which came under Faroese Home Rule. Negotiations started in 1975, and on April 1st 1976 the Danish postal services in the Faroe Islands were formally taken over by the Faroese government. The new institution was named Postverk Føroya and the Danish posthorn insignia was replaced with a Ram’s horn.

Upon the takeover, two new departments created alongside the traditional postal delivery functions – a postal giro department, as well as the Faroese Philatelic Department which soon would become known to philatelists and stamp collectors all over the world.

Already on January 30th 1975 Post Denmark issued the first Faroese stamps in cooperation with the Faroese Philatelic Department. And on April 1st 1976, the day of the takeover, the first genuinely Faroese stamps were issued by the Philatelic Department. The motives were the Faroese flag, a Faroese rowboat in a boathouse and an old Faroese overland mail carrier. Since then the miniature perforated images from the Faroese microcosm have been issued regularly - and these two anniversary stamps have issue numbers FO 828 and 829.

Philatelic activity and stamp production in the Faroes has had substantial impact on society, partly through direct export revenues, partly by spreading information and knowledge about our tiny island nation and its culture around the world.

There have been considerable changes made since the seventies. The development has been rapid and brought about many innovations. In 2006, the former Postverk Føroya was restructured and became an independent public limited company an in 2009 it got a new name and a new logo. The company’s name is now Posta in short - and many of the traditional functions have been reorganized and adapted to the development of society. But Posta will continue to issue stamps as always, thanks to you, the collector of Faroese stamps as well to our Faroese customers who put Faroese stamps on their mail - and we are indeed grateful. Congratulations Posta with the past 40 years - your history has been most interesting and colourful. Ahead lies the future and many more anniversaries.

author: Anker Eli Petersen

Stamp images and description thanks to Posta

Faroe Post - Posta