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Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "finland"

Last year, the Little Mail Carriers went on a splendid adventure... that we forgot to tell you about! 🙈  We firmly believe in "better late than never" (and we know how much you all miss them!), so here they are to tell the tale of their trip to a little known archipelago in the Baltic sea...

Hi everyone! We're in Åland,  a group of islands mid-way between Finland and Sweden. It's definitely a special place, with very few postcrossers — and no wonder, as the population only amounts to 29,000 residents. They're a Swedish-speaking autonomous region of Finland though, and even have their own postage stamps since 1984, mostly featuring local nature, culture, history, society and autonomy-related themes.

Aland postcards

We had already been in Sweden and Norway, but never in Finland, which is still the country with the highest number of postcrossers per capita in the world... so a visit was well overdue!

Finland is known for many things, from their sauna culture to the Moomins, but it's also the country where, in October of 2015, a group of enthusiast postcrossers gathered in the Postal Museum in Tampere to create the first national association of postcrossers: the Finnish Postcrossing Friends (reg). Among many other activities, they've taken up the task of organising meetups in their country, so that postcrossers can get together to write postcards and explore new places — including the Åland Islands.

So it was an early Thursday morning on June 9th last year, when a group of 22 Finnish postcrossers met in Turku harbour. The cruise from Turku to Mariehamn (the capital of Åland) takes about five hours.... perfect timing for a meetup, right? So the very first "Postcrossing at sea"–meetup was arranged in a cozy conference room of the M/S Amorella.

Meeting on the ship aland1

The hours flew quickly as we wrote tons of postcards and shared Postcrossing experiences while admiring the sunny sea landscape. The association also had a challenging Postcrossing-related quiz... with prizes for everyone! The cruise ship arrived to Mariehamn in the early afternoon. After settling in at the hotel, the rest of the day was spent shopping for postcards, exploring the island and enjoying the local delicacies. June 9th is Åland's Autonomy Day, which is why there were 🇦🇽  flags everywhere we looked!

Streets of Åland alandflags IMG 6628 (1) delicacies

The next day, we got a wonderful chance to visit Åland Post postal terminal in the island. The visit was hosted by Anita Häggblom, the director of Åland Post Stamps. While enjoying coffee and doughnuts, she told us about the interesting history of stamps of Åland, and how topics are chosen to be issued. She also revealed some wonderful details about 2017 stamps.

Flags everywhere! IMG 6694

We got the chance to ask Anita some questions, and she also introduced us to their facilities, so that we could see where all the postal magic happens and how it happens. It was truly interesting to see the machines for first day covers, maximum cards and special cancellations. We thanked Anita and Åland Post by leaving a couple of hundred signed meetup postcards there, so that they could get nicely cancelled and sent forward around to the world to other postcrossers. In the afternoon we took the cruise back to mainland on another boat, this time the M/S Viking Grace.

alandgroup

The visit was a huge success... so they're planning to do it again this year! So if you've always wanted to explore these special islands, mark your calendars: June 7th to 9th is when the Finnish Postcrossing Friends will arrange a new visit to Åland. This time, the trip will include an extra day to fit a bus trip to Eckerö Mail and Custom’s House, Kastelholm Castle and Stallhagen brewery.

Aaaaaaaand, as if that wasn't enough, Åland Post Stamps is planning to issue a special cancellation for the new meetup, together with a custom stamp. Stamp, cancellation and meetup card were designed by local artist Ammi Krogius.

alandmeetup2017 mockup

Pretty cool, right? So... who's looking forward to June? 😊

A big thank you to Marko (aka insp3ktor) and Hanna (aka hazzitus) from the Finnish Postcrossing Association for organising this meetup, and to also to Martta (aka MarttaD) and Minna (piparminttu) for sharing their lovely photos. Great work, everyone!

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Happy New Year, everyone!

We've met Katriina (aka cicus) a few times now, in different Postcrossing meetings around Europe. She likes languages and traveling... and sometimes even takes ideas for upcoming trips from the postcards she receives! Here are her replies to our interview questions:

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

I saw a little article in a magazine, and got interested. I started shortly after that when my sister recommended Postcrossing to me, and explained how it works. I've just always liked receiving snail mail. I used to have a few penpals, but all had disappeared, or I had, and this was and still is a perfect substitute!

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

Currently I enjoy a burlesque class once a week. I like learning languages but am not participating in any classes at the moment. I used to take Russian lessons, and now I use Postcrossing as a way to practice.

I travel quite a bit, too. Last year I've been to Estonia, UK, France, Slovakia, Russia and Denmark.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
Cicus Spotlight interview

I keep my unsent postcards in a purple box in the bookshelf. I haven't counted them, but I'm assuming there could be a few hundred. The box is also the limit: I don't want more clutter around so I can't keep buying more postcards than what fits in the box.

Cicus Spotlight interview

My received postcards are in an Ikea box which also stays in the bookshelf. I also have a file *somewhere* and I found a small shoebox full of postcards in the walk-in closet. So clearly my collection is not very carefully organized.... But it's full of memories and nice surprises.

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.
Cicus Spotlight interview

This is my first received postcard in Postcrossing. I couldn't take my eyes off it — what a nice looking, atmospheric place. About a year later I had a chance to travel to Porto, so I did, and it was just as amazing as it had seemed on the picture. When I started Postcrossing I didn't really expect such big impact like travelling to see a place on a postcard:)

Cicus Spotlight interview

Another special received card (among many, of course!). I think it's hilarious that pets participate, and there had just been discussion about a very, um, "self-respecting" cat called Gordon on the forum. Then I received a card from him — a self-portrait of course!

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

What isn't? :) But maybe the moment when I draw a new address and get to read the profile. Especially when they have some unique wishes that I'm able to fulfil.

Have you met any other members in real life?

Maaaaany, even hosted some in my home and been hosted. I have attended meetups in Finland, UK and Germany. Later this month, me and mr. cicus will visit another postcrosser in Denmark.

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Anu (aka ichabodhides) comes from Finland, but moved to the UK some years ago for love... which she discovered on a martial arts' class! :)

Here is her spotlight interview:

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

I had been aware of Postcrossing for a while before I actually decided to sign up. I think I first read about it in a magazine, quite possibly the magazine the Finnish postal services distribute to every household every so often. I was finishing my university studies at the time and was quite stressed about my master’s thesis so I thought it would be nice to find something other than just bills in my mailbox. I used to write a lot of letters and I still do that occasionally (but am a pretty rubbish pen pal these days), but postcards are a lot quicker to write. I’ve always enjoyed sending and receiving postcards and family and friends used to send me postcards from their holidays even before I had heard of Postcrossing and I still have a lot of these postcards saved.

I got hooked pretty much immediately – it was great to hear from new people all around the world and look at the pretty pictures on postcards I received.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

My main interest outside of Postcrossing is Aikido, a Japanese martial art. I’ve been practicing since 2005 and am currently a 2nd Dan black belt. Aikido has been a pretty life-changing experience for me – it’s the reason I live in England now and I met my husband there. I joined a university Aikido club when I was an Erasmus exchange student in England in 2005-2006. I met Matt (now my husband) there and fell in love. I had to go back to Finland to finish my studies but moved back to England in early 2008 once I had graduated. Matt and I are currently living with his family and their 6 cats, 2 Labrador puppies and a rabbit. We got married in 2011 and our wedding was accidentally (??) a little Aikido-themed. Most of my friends are from Aikido as well so it plays a pretty major role in my life. I still practice at the university as they allow ex-students to continue practicing but we might have to find somewhere else next year unfortunately.

Apart from Aikido I also enjoy crocheting, cooking and baking, reading and watching tv shows & movies on my laptop.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!

We don’t have a “proper” mailbox at home, just a slot in the front door.

mymailbox

I go to a few post offices in my area when I need to buy stamps or send something slightly bigger than a regular postcard or an envelope. The one here, inside a shop, is one I visit quite often as I live quite close and the queues aren’t usually too bad.

postoffice

This is the mail box I normally use to send my cards as it’s the closest to where I live.

mailbox
Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

I couldn’t possibly pick just one postcard as I’ve received so many great ones. However, the first one I ever received, CH-8925 from Switzerland, has a special place in my heart – I still remember how excited I was to receive it! Zasa and I have swapped a few postcards since and occasionally still bump into each other online, which makes it all even nicer.

CH 8925

A few other postcards I particularly like:

postcards1

From left: FI-1033072 from Sirks, FR-46083 from thaddee_calisson, GB-44737 from toucans.

postcards2

From left: AU-25762 from Claire, NP-346 from spellbindguy, FI-544673 from veverka.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

I enjoy sending just as much as receiving and like to try to match the recipients’ wishes whenever I can. I also like to use nice stamps whenever I can although this isn’t very easy at times because British post offices don’t always have particularly good selections of nice stamps available.

Have you met any other members in real life?

Yes. Pipey from the UK, Astrid1978 from the Netherlands, duffeli from Finland and a few other Finnish Postcrossers I met in a mini meet-up in Helsinki some years ago, and quite a lot of Postcrossers in international meet-ups in London a few years ago as well.

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Anna-Maria (aka Nzqu) is a young mother from Finland. She studied organic gardening & horticulture, and works at a biodynamic farm - so ecology is a theme that is near to her heart!

Here is what she had to say:

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

I saw a short article about Postcrossing in a magazine many years ago. I didn't join then, but I thought about it occasionally during a couple of years. Then my son was born, and I didn't have that much time for my penpals anymore. I missed getting mail, though, so after seeing Postcrossing mentioned somewhere again, I decided to join. It was so great to write and receive mail, to read about the lives of different people and to see places I'll never be able to visit myself.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

I'm a handicraft addict. I knit, crochet and make macrame, among many other crafts. I have penfriends all over the world - now I have more time to write letters again! I'm an active member of the local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group, and try to take part to some activities of Finland's Nature Conservation Association. I have always been a bookworm, and I have several full bookcases at home. After meeting other postcrossers, I have also got into Bookcrossing and Geocaching.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
Nzqu's son mailing some postcards

My son mailing some postcards. I use that mailbox quite often, even though it's not the nearest one. It's because there is a small service point of Finland's Post, so I can buy stamps also.

Nzqu's world map

And this is the world map I have over my desk. I have placed some of the beautiful cards I've received around it.

What is your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

Hearing the slam of my letterbox! :) I also enjoy selecting cards to the recipients, especially if I can find a card that's on their favorites.

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.
GB-143034

This is the first postcard I received via Postcrossing, that makes it special. I also like those ancient stone circles, they are so fascinating!

Have you met any other members in real life?

Yes I have, and meeting them makes this hobby even more fun! We have meetings quite regularly here in my hometown Järvenpää. There are only few of us, but we have a great time writing postcards at the local yarn store/café about once a month. I also like to travel to other towns and cities, if possible, to meet fellow Postcrossers.

The biggest meeting so far was the International Meet-up in Helsinki last August (2013), and there I met Katja from Germany. We kept in touch, and last January I traveled to Germany and took part to a meeting in Aachen. That was so great! I warmly recommend the Postcrossing meetings to everyone, it's great to get to know different people - and to talk about postcards! :)

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

I try my best to be 'green'. I have studied organic gardening, and like to support organic agriculture whenever it's possible. I am a bit of an idealistic, but I do want to believe that there are other better, possible ways to live. Buying tons of postcards doesn't really help, but I think there are more harmful hobbies in this world. :)

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Come meet annet10 (aka Anne) from Finland. She loves postcards so much that she has a fantastic postcard and stationery shop in Jyväskylä - you can see some photos here, it's like postcard-wonderland! :)

Here is what she had to say:

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

I heard about Postcrossing from another member and friend of mine Marjatta9. One day, she came over to show me the lovely cards that she had received through Postcrossing and I got curious about this unique hobby.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

Handcrafts have always been a passion of mine - including making handmade postcards. I own the Harjun Paperi postcardstore since 1996. Originally this store was opened 1954 and since that it has been at the same location. For a postcard-lover, it was a dream come true to become the owner of this store! You can check it out at www.harjunpaperi.fi.

Anne's handmade postcards
Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
Anne's postbox

I send my postcards mainly from Jyväskylä´s main postoffice and I ask the cancelation stamp to be pressed on the card by hand - not by machine.

This picture shows the typical Finnish yellow mailbox. We also have blue mailbox for 1st class mail, but the yellow one is equally effective.


Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

I like colorful cards that tell story about where member is from and part of their culture and country. Beautiful stamps always make me happy, they complete the card. Here are some lovely examples.

Anne's favourite postcards
Have you inspired anyone else to join Postcrossing or start collections of their own?

People who come to my store often get to see the newspaper interview about Postcrossing given by dollart. I have made also leaflets to spread the word about Postcrossing and I love to chat and show my received cards to my customers. Postcrossing meetups in Jyväskylä are often held at the store. Also my co-worker AiriK started doing Postcrossing as her grandson collects stamps and has received lots of lovely cards and stamps.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

All phases are nice. But it is always nice to receive new address and finding the perfect card for receiver. And of course nice cards in my mailbox always make my day!

Have you met any other members in real life?

At Harjun Paperi, I often meet Postcrossing members looking cards to other members and I have taken part of many Postcrossing meetups as well organising some of them.

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