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Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Franklinstr Duesseldorf
Mural by Brockenfingaz (Haifa), Kj263 (Ddorf) & Max Fiedler (Ddorf). Kuratiert von Haseläuft.

Have you ever heard of sister cities, also known as twin towns? It’s a concept in which “two cities or towns in geographically and politically distinct areas are paired, with the goal of fostering human contact and cultural links”. Collaborations between the cities can take many shapes (for instance, exchange programs or commercial ties), but the goal is simply to unite the towns on a meaningful level.

Right after the Second World War for example, a lot of cities in the UK and Germany came together in this way, helping promote peace and reconciliation. Sounds like a good idea, right? We firmly believe that projects focused on cross-cultural bonds and dialogue make the world a better place, by helping people open their minds to different realities and points of view. This is what Postcrossing is all about as well, so in a way, connecting cities is a lot like connecting people… just on a different scale! 😊

This year, Düsseldorf is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its connections with three sister cities: Haifa (IL), Chemnitz (DE) and Reading (GB). Despite their differences, these three cities have been finding ways of collaborating and expanding their horizons together for the past 30 years. For instance, they’ve organised internships and student exchanges, sports events, donations to each other in times of need and even brought artists together to build this huge mural in Düsseldorf!

To celebrate this milestone, the city of Düsseldorf is partnering with Postcrossing to create an international postcard exhibition that will allow the world to join in on the celebrations. Nothing says “connections across borders” like postcards, so we believe this is the perfect medium to expand their jubilee to the entire world.

And this is where YOU come in! Düsseldorf kindly invites all postcrossers to take part on the postcard exhibition by sending in postcards with well-wishes and thoughts on sister cities. To participate, choose a postcard from your area and send it to:

Sister Cities of Düsseldorf
City of Düsseldorf / Stadt Düsseldorf
Sonja Weyers
Marktplatz 1
40213 Düsseldorf
GERMANY

We encourage everyone to congratulate Düsseldorf, Haifa, Chemnitz and Reading on their triple jubilee and also to write about sister cities on your postcards! Is your city or town twinned with another one? What do you think of the concept? And do you have any good ideas for cooperations between sister cities?

And as a bonus, the nice people from Düsseldorf’s town hall have reserved 100 specially designed postcards to send out to 100 randomly chosen participants of the exhibition! For a chance to win one, just include your email address on the postcard you send. Don’t worry — your email addresses will be covered for the duration of the exhibition.

All postcards will be displayed on Düsseldorf’s town hall from June 30th onwards, so you have until then to send in yours. And if you’re around, mark your calendar and send us photos! We’d love to see your beautiful postcards in all their shiny glory! 😍

PS – If you were the mayor of your town and could twin it with another one, which one would that be? And what would you suggest for your first cooperation? Let us know in the comments!

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April Fool!!!

April 2nd update: Sorry guys, just kidding! We’re not really changing from postcards to letters… we love postcards! But I’ve always wanted to do an April Fools’ prank and this year was the year I finally convinced Paulo to go along with it! 😜

Over the years, we’ve heard from many postcrossers on how they wished they could write a bit more on their postcards. Some people are able to use very thin pens and make their handwriting extra small… but often this is not enough for the more talkative members with plenty of stories to share. Communication should be encouraged as it is at the heart of Postcrossing, so in order to give these wordy members an outlet for their creativity, Postcrossing is henceforth changing its format from postcards to letters!.

Aren’t letters great? Plenty of space for the local news, the weather report, a lengthy update on affairs of the heart, or this month’s writing prompt on your favourite breakfast!

It feels good to expand beyond the constraints of the normal 10×15cm rectangle and just write to our heart’s content. Any message that fits on a postcard will also fit inside a letter anyway, so don’t let the extra space intimidate you — you can write as much or as little as you’d like, or even include a drawing to help you fill out the space.

Let’s put all that delightful writing paper to work — it’s time to write, write, write!

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April Writing Prompt: Your typical breakfast The writing prompts are an ongoing experiment that invites postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too.

Of all the meals in a day, breakfast has always been my favourite. When I was a kid, it was mostly because of the chocolate milk and bread with marmelada (quince cheese) combo… but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the versatility of breakfast and experimented with other variations of this meal. So I’m very happy about this month’s writing prompt suggestion by ColorfulCourtney on the forum:

In April, write about your typical breakfast.

These days, I’m all about coffee and eggs. Omelets, scrambled, fried, poached… anything goes! If we’re feeling especially hungry, I’ll do a big pan of shakshouka and pair it with orange juice from the local farmer’s market. Paulo is a fan of fluffy croissants, but those are reserved for special days! 🙂

What about you? What’s your normal breakfast, and what would you consider a treat? Write about it on your postcards this month and feel free to illustrate it with a little drawing, if you feel so inclined. 🍳

Have a delicious month!

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On a recent Instagram browsing session research expedition, I accidentally stumbled on Amy (aka amyvnwijk)'s colourful account, and was immediately captivated. The stamps, the washi tape, the airmail stickers… Her creations are awe-inspiring, every postcard a miniature piece of art!

I was curious to find out more about her mailings, and luckily, Amy agreed to answer a few questions about it, so we had a mini-interview! Here she is to tell us more about her gorgeous postcards.

Can you tell us a little bit about your decoration process? What inspires you?

I get most of my inspiration from the season we are in or the place where I’m at. I love traditional Dutch images or illustrations, flowers and nature, so I like to incorporate that in my mail as well. Along with lots of bright and happy colors of course! A few examples:

Photo Dutch Mail Photo Holiday   Summer Mail

Dutch and holiday/summer themed mail

Photo Christmas Mail Photo Color Themed Mail

Christmas and color-themed mail

Where do you start?

I start with choosing the stamps. If it’s a certain season or holiday I like to use stamps and tapes complementary to that. If I go for a colored theme I match the colors of the stamps together with a same colored washi tape. I always begin by making a border around the card with the washi tape. Sometimes I use small tape but if the tape is a little wider I cut of the excess with a scissor. Then I stick on the stamps and the priority label. Finally I use rubber stamps. While the ink of the rubber stamp is drying I go to the next card and when everything is decorated I start writing.

Which materials do you use to decorate your postcards?

I mainly use washi tape and rubber stamps to decorate my postcards. My favorites are tapes with floral prints because they are always very cheerful. I also like using rubber stamps — for official Postcrossing cards, I use a Postcard ID-stamp. For writing I use colored gel pens or fine liners. As an extra stamp I like to use an old Dutch “gulden” stamp. They are no longer allowed as postage but I think they are beautiful and a nice decoration to the card.

Amy's Decorated Cards

Some other useful materials are a pair of (small) craft scissors, a ruler and a retractable knife. I try to stay away from glue or really sticky deco tape because it’s easy to stain the card and hard to correct when you make a little mistake. Paper tapes, like washi tape, are a lot easier to remove when you decide to go for something else or need to make an adjustment.

What are the member’s reactions when they receive your postcards? Do they appreciate the extra effort?

I love choosing and decorating cards the best from the whole Postcrossing experience! I enjoy sending happy and colorful mail and when I read on the profile that the receiver likes it as well, I get excited straight away. Sometimes it’s a bit of a gamble if the receiver would appreciate it, but I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on my sent cards so far. A few weeks ago a woman wrote in her hurray message that she would frame my card — that really made my day.

And finally, can you show us the place where the magic happens?

My desk is also my work and laptop table so when the addresses are requested the laptop goes to the side so I have enough room for my craft supplies. I keep everything in basic storage boxes in a cabinet so when the crafting and writing can start I bring everything I need over to my desk.

Amy's desk

Thank you Amy, that was lovely — I’m really inspired to beautify my postcards now!

Do you decorate your postcards too? If so, share your own tips below!

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Our friend Iris (aka scrutiny) from Hong Kong has an amazing radar for postal-themed links and projects. A while ago, she showed us these local stamps and they are so cool that we wanted to share them with you too!

Hong Kong augmented reality stamps

The stamps themselves feature historical buildings from Hong Kong, which are being revitalised as part of an ongoing campaign to “enhance public understanding and appreciation of the built heritage in Hong Kong”. But what makes them special is that when hovered with a smartphone using the HKPostStamps app, the stamps gain a whole other dimension!

Iris filmed this video to show everyone:

While not being the first use of augmented reality in philately, it’s certainly a very interesting one. Each building’s rendering includes interactive hotspots, which bring up more information when you touch them on the smartphone screen such as opening hours, website links, and photos. I think that’s pretty neat — how often do you get to hold an historical building in your hands? 😊

Thank you Iris, for taking the time to show us! And if anyone knows of other interesting philatelic issues, share them in the comments — we’re always curious about stamp innovations.

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