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Postcrossers that received postcards from Europe last year may have noticed a colorful stamp motif gracing some of their postcards. Linda Bos and Runa Egilsdottir, a design duo known as the Designers’ Collective, created the “peace knot” stamp for POST Luxembourg’s winning entry to the EUROPA Stamp Competition in 2023.

A mashup of EUROPA stamps block sheets, all featuring the 2023 design inspired on the celtic knot
Stamp issues, first-day covers, and maxi-cards issued by European postal companies in 2023.

Last winter, Linda and Runa took time to share with Clarisse (aka CStar9) the origins of this design and their deep connection to stamps and mail.

But first, a bit more about the stamp. Each year since 1956, the EUROPA stamp program has encouraged continent-wide collaboration on stamp issues around a common theme. If you’re new to EUROPA stamps and want to learn more, check out last month’s post about them! In 2023, the EUROPA theme was “Peace – the highest value of humanity”, declared to express European solidarity with Ukraine.

The EUROPA design competition draws dozens of entries by national postal systems in Europe every year. Linda and Runa’s peace knot design won the competition for POST Luxembourg in 2023. Their design was subsequently adopted as a EUROPA stamp issue by more than 50 postal companies in Europe.

The 2023 EUROPA stamp, featuring a stylized celtic knot holding hands
The winning design
Can you tell us more about your approach to the peace knot as a graphic concept in this stamp?

We wanted the peace stamp to represent every single person in the greater region of Europe, regardless of their origin and belief.

After researching existing peace symbols, we realised they had either religious origins (like the dove and olive branch), or we sensed they were no longer suited for our time (like the common peace symbol, which started its life as a symbol of the British anti-nuclear movement), or they had evolved to having a different meaning in certain cultures (like the ‘two fingers up’).

We concluded it was time to create a new peace symbol for Europe!

When delving into the very diverse world of symbols from all over Europe for inspiration, we found the Celtic love knot to be very fitting to base our design on. The meaning behind this knot is love and connection; there are four hearts ‘hidden’ inside.

To strengthen the message of unity and cohesion, we created two sets of hands with interlaced fingers instead of the classic handshake, which in our opinion would have given it too much of a political and corporate vibe.

An earlier sketch of the design
An early sketch of the peace knot design.

We then decided to apply a colour palette derived from flag colours — and a new peace symbol was born!

We like to add that we were delighted to work on this project together with Emile Espen from Post Philately Luxembourg, who commissioned us on this project and who gave the good-to-go for this symbol.

Linda and Runa receive an award
Linda and Runa: the Designers’ Collective (accepting a German Design Award in 2018)
What is the origin story of your collaboration?

Both of us studied design. We had been working in the field separately until our paths crossed over a decade ago. There was an immediate click, both personally and professionally, so we decided to help each other out on projects. We soon realised that our skills were very complementary. We work much more effectively and raise our work to the next level, when working as a duo.

Was this your first effort to design a stamp, either individually or as a collective?

Linda designed her first set of Europa stamps in 2012, followed by the 2014 Luxembourg Christmas stamps and a special block for the 2017 Multilaterale Hertogpost Philatelic Exhibition.

The latter appeared in both the Netherlands and Luxembourg. There was a unique block containing stamps from both countries.

Other stamps designed by them
Linda Bos’s stamp issues for POST Luxembourg

We then designed some stamps commissioned by clients as a duo. The peace knot stamp was the first one commissioned by POST Luxembourg for us to design together. The success of this design proves to us that we should continue working together for sure!

What are your personal relationships to postal mail?

We love to send and receive postal mail. Of course nowadays, a large part of what once needed to be sent by postal mail has been replaced by email. But this makes it even more special to receive ‘real’ mail.

Each year we put a lot of thought into our Happy New Year card we send to our clients. We don’t believe we will ever opt for a digital version, which can never replace the excitement of opening a nice envelope and touching a card printed on special paper.

What’s next for you as a collaborative duo?

Creative world domination!

You can learn more about Linda and Runa’s work on their website, or on their Instagram and Facebook pages. You can also watch a brief interview about the peace stamp or check out Linda’s 2019 midwives stamp.


By now, most of you will be familiar with the EUROPA stamps initiative that we talk about every May… but this year, we have a special treat for you!

Banners for EUROPA stamps competition, featuring an illustrated octopus

Our diligent interviewer Clarisse (aka CStar9) talked with Agnieszka Trząskowska, Chairwoman of the PostEurop Stamps & Philately Working Group, who answered some questions about the EUROPA stamp program! Here they are to give us more insight into its history and ambitious future.

How would you say EUROPA stamps are connected to the individuality of each European country, and connected also holistically to the character of Europe as a whole? 

The key to understanding the global phenomenon of EUROPA stamps is the European Union motto “Unity in diversity” (dating back to the Middle Ages), celebrating the mixture of different cultures and their integration within the present idea of a so-called common Europe. The idea derives from the thousands-year-old European civilisation, particularly Greek & Roman (the name of EUROPA comes from Latin), and the common ideas, values, history, nature, and cultural traditions that have been developed over subsequent generations.

EUROPA stamps logo

Europeans are proud of their cultural richness. There are 24 EU official languages (143 European languages in total). There is cultural diversity at national, regional and local levels—including hundreds of microcultures from Greenland in the west to Kazakhstan in the east. This tangible and intangible heritage such as nature landmarks, scientific discoveries, ecology, social topics, folklore legends, literature, and arts, is an inexhaustible source of visual inspirations and creative interpretations of the common EUROPA stamp themes.

Behind each of the 56 EUROPA stamps issued every year stands a unique story. EUROPA stamp reveals these unique heritage treasures, boosting mutual understanding and diversity acceptance, building pluralism among Europeans, as well giving us inspiration, motivation for self-development, and a pathway to engage in crucial topics of society.

In addition, non-Europeans may feel like modern-day explorers discovering new worlds of the European heritage with these stamps every year—including allowing nearly half of present Americans to travel to their ancestors’ past. Finally, we believe that EUROPA stamps attract collectors around the world thanks to their universality.

Can you speak to what you see as EUROPA stamps’ role in raising awareness of important issues in Europe?

Besides building national identity, stamps are also part of social dialogue that engages the public in important contemporary issues. Good examples include EUROPA stamp issues themes such as “Nature reserves and parks” (1999), “Water – Natural Treasure” (2001), “Integration through the eyes of Young People” (2006), “Ecology in Europe – Think Green” (2016), and “Endangered National Wildlife” (2021).

What’s on the horizon for the EUROPA stamp world? Anything you’re particularly excited about? Within the Postcrossing community, there are many collectors of EUROPA stamps. Anything you’d like to say to them?

First of all, we would like to thank all collectors and admirers of EUROPA stamps for their commitment and shared passion for each year’s issues. We believe that combinations of EUROPA stamps and postcards may evoke positive emotions and build friendship as part of intercultural dialogue.

As for the present activities, the 2024 EUROPA stamp competition for the theme “Underwater Fauna & Flora” is now open, through 9 September 2024. You are all invited to join the 2024 EUROPA stamp competition!

A mashup of different overlapping postage stamps, all on the theme of underwater fauna and flora

This year, awards for the most beautiful 2024 EUROPA Stamps will be given to three top ranked stamps and the award ceremony will be held at the PostEurop General Assembly in Belgrade, Serbia, in October 2024.

The themes for the next few years have already been chosen by postal operators. In 2025, we’ll have stamps on the topic of “Archaeological discoveries”. As 2026 marks the 70th anniversary of the EUROPA stamp, the PostEurop Stamps & Philately Working Group will hold a competition for a common stamp design motif, the theme of which will be “70th anniversary of EUROPA stamp. United in…”. For 2027, the EUROPA stamps will focus on “Street Art”.

You heard Agnieszka — it’s time to vote on the most beautiful EUROPA stamp of the year!

2024's theme of “Underwater Fauna & Flora” brings us a gorgeous selection of stamps predominantly in blue and green tones, that seem like tiny porthole views out of a submarine cruising the rivers, lakes and seas in Europe. There are fishes, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, nudibranchs and marine mammals, but also algae and seagrass meadows! Do have a look through this year’s stamps, vote, and let us know in the comments below which ones are your favorites! 😍


Every year around this time, we write about the EUROPA stamps and the competition to pick the most beautiful one for that year. This year though, the traditional competition isn’t taking place because all stamps share a common design! This is not new, and has happened multiple times in the history of EUROPA stamps, including in the very first issue back in 1956.

Below is 2023's design as seen on the Finnish stamp. The theme of the year is “Peace — the highest value of humanity”:

Finland's EUROPA stamp for 2023, featuring a stylized knot of multicolored hands, grasping each other.

Every country is using the same design this year, arranged in slightly different ways to match the shape or aesthetics of other stamps in the country. In order to arrive at this design, a contest was run by PostEurop in which the different postal services submitted their interpretations on the topic, and then one was chosen to represent it. The winning entry was created by Linda Bos and Runa Egilsdottir of “A Designer’s Collective”, for POST Luxembourg. About the design, they wrote:

“The world needs a new Peace symbol, uniting all nations. Cultural differences perchance a barrier for a state of Peace. If only mankind could respect each other’s differences by understanding their significance and responding to them with consideration, the world would be a better place. This design shows a visual metaphor for a peacefully integrated, cooperative society in which people embrace each other’s culture. It was inspired by the Celtic Love Knot symbol, with interlocking hearts. The colour palette illustrates all the nations in the world. By adding hands with intertwined fingers, it conveys the message of mutual respect.”

Many other postal services also decided to design a second stamp to pair with this one, and you can see some of those on this forum topic.

While on one hand we’re a little sad that we don’t get to see the usual diversity of designs and interpretations, on the other hand, it’s also heartwarming to see a joint issue. This is how EUROPA stamps started: with a shared design as a symbol of cooperation between European countries. The topic also hails back to the beginning of these stamps, as the designs for the second and third years of the EUROPA series featured peace symbols.

So… what do you think? Do you like the design that was chosen, or would you have preferred if every country had its own unique entry? Aaaaaand, on a different but somewhat related topic, which song do you think will win Eurovision tonight this weekend? 🤔


Voting is now open on the competition that chooses the most beautiful EUROPA stamp of the year!

The theme this year is “Stories & Myths”, which is just a brilliant topic. Every country has its own mythical creatures, legends or sagas connected to their own history which are part of that country’s DNA. Sometimes they are based on historical events or geographical oddities, and sometimes they are just fantastical adventures that evolve with each retelling, often infused with magical tones to explain the inexplicable.

A mix of EUROPA stamps from the 2022 edition, featuring illustrated tales from different European countries

I love this theme and the stamps coming out of it — give me all the dragons and witchcraft, haunted castles and tales of shipwrecks, nymphs and brave heroes that save the people! There are some gorgeous designs in this year’s selection, inviting us to discover each country’s folklore and oral traditions. You can see the full gallery on this page.

What do you think of the stories and myths that were chosen to be featured on this year’s stamps? Which one will get your vote? And if you’re not from Europe, which legends from your own country do you think would be worthy to be featured on a stamp? Let’s share our country’s best stories in the comments below!


Voting has just started to choose the most beautiful EUROPA stamp of the year!

This year, the stamps focus on endangered national wildlife from each country, which is a really important topic to bring awareness to. Deforestation and other human activities threaten animals, fungus and plants, and according to the IUCN Red List, over 20% of species in Europe at the moment are at risk of extinction. That’s a staggering and saddening percentage. 😔 So in 2021, each country picked an endangered species to highlight, and depicted it in its own style. Here’s a small sample:

A mix of EUROPA stamps from 20201's selection, featuring endangered animal species

There’s fauna of all sizes and shapes, illustrated mostly in traditional philatelic style. This makes it hard to pick the best one, as we suspect people will inevitably vote for the cutest animals, instead of other, less photogenic ones…

What do postcrossers think? Which stamp gets your vote for best EUROPA stamp of 2021 in this year’s competition? And what do you think of your own country’s entry? We’re always super curious to hear your philatelic opinions, so go cast your vote and let us know which one you picked on the comments below!