Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "finland"

Hej! Hei!

Good news, everyone! We’re happy to announce that the Åland Islands will be launching a Postcrossing-themed stamp next year! I know your eyes are already drifting to the photo below, so go ahead and have a look:

Postcrossing-themed stamp from the Åland Islands and stamp sheet

There are so many cool things about this stamp! First of all, images don’t do justice to its shiny metallic surface, whose colors shift from pink to purple. But there’s also the fact that this is a not a normal stamp… it’s heart-shaped! You can carefully detach the inner perforations and transform the stamp into a heart — how cool is that?!

This special stamp was designed by Åland Post’s own Cecilia Mattsson, and will be issued in June 7th, 2019. To celebrate the occasion, the Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association is timing their annual trip to Åland to coincide with the stamp launch. Keep an eye on their website for more information soon, but you can already expect many interesting activities as per their usual adventures.

We know it’s still a long time for this stamp to be issued, but we’re super excited about it and looking forward to seeing it on many postcards next year! 💜

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Sometimes people ask why don’t we organize meetups in their area, or why don’t we spread the word so that Postcrossing can have more members in country X… and we would really love to coordinate all the things in all the places… but until they invent 100-hour days (or perhaps a way to multiply ourselves!), I’m afraid our tiny team can only do so much. 😅

So we’re always glad when members reach out to ask what can they do to help. Sometimes they do so by becoming Postcrossing supporters, and other times, by doing things for the community in their own towns or countries. The most organized group of members doing this is from Finland 🇫🇮, where they got together to create an association of “Postcrossing friends”.

Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association
Photo by Marko Kulmala

So what does the Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association do? Mainly, they organize big events in Finland that bring the community together, so that everyone can meet to talk, exchange postcards and be friends. For instance, every year, they go to the Åland Islands, where they participate in meetup activities including visiting the local sorting center or meeting well-known illustrators.

Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association - Anne Ahola
Photo by Anne Ahola

As an association, they also participate in other events, like stamp exhibitions or postcard fairs, handing out fliers about Postcrossing to spread the word. Last year, they even had their very own little booth on the Finlandia 2017 exhibition…

Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association

… and put together a postcard fair for all postcard lovers to enjoy!

Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association

They also talk about all-things postcards and stamps on their website, and sometimes even get articles published in magazines or newspapers that help spread the word about Postcrossing in their country.

All of these activities are brilliant, but we would not be able to put them in place ourselves, as they require a local knowledge of the country’s culture, as well as people on the ground to take care of contacts and logistics, for which the association is a perfect match. Since the early days of their group, they have also been in close contact with the Postcrossing team, keeping us posted on their activities and exchanging ideas and feedback, which has been very helpful.

Check their website for more information about their activities and about the association itself.

PS – Have you done something that has helped Postcrossing grow in your country? If so, share it in the comments, so that you can inspire others into action! 😊

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Kehvola

We first saw Kehvola's cards on a pop-up postcard fair organised by the Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association in Tampere, and I confess I was instantly smitten! It’s no secret I have a sweet spot for illustration, but their playful style and daring colour palette was what got me hooked.

At the time, I sent the postcard on the right to a booklover friend, and stocked on others… though I’ve been very reluctant to part with them!

At the time, we talked a bit with the owners, Veera and Timo, who were staffing their booth at the fair, and Timo agreed to answer a few questions for the blog. So ladies and gentlemen, here he is to tell us more about Kehvola!

How did Kehvola get started? Could you tell us a bit of the story behind it?

Veera (my wife) had previously worked as a store manager in the Finnish National Gallery’s museum shops. There she noticed that there are no nice Helsinki cards available. She started the company and asked the nearest and the cheapest illustrator (me!) to draw a set of Helsinki postcards. This was just four years ago.

We’re fascinated by how coherent your collection is — despite being illustrated by different people. How did this group of illustrators get together? And how do you choose the themes for your pieces?

We are illustration fans and we’ve been very lucky with our artists. So far everybody we’ve asked to join us had said yes. I think our illustrators all have something in common yet they all have their own distinct style. Our illustrators have all illustrated children’s books and are capable of creating narrative pictures with strong sense of atmosphere.

Illustrators are free to offer their own ideas but most of them prefer clear orders from us. I myself think what I would like to draw (this could be an old bike or a rubber boot, a big bookshelves, elvis, tiger or an apple pie) and then consider with Veera would somebody be interested in such a card. If we like the idea enough we print it anyway.

Kehvola good times
If you could define Kehvola’s style in 3 words, what would they be?

Narrative, colorful, warm.

Are you letter or postcard writers too?

Always when travelling. I love bookshops and museum shops and browsing through their postcard selection. Writing a postcards in a cosy pub or cafe after a long day of walking is an essential part of my traveling.

Could you show us your studio, or the place where the magic happens?

Here’s a picture of Kehvola’s "headquarters”, where I also do the drawing:

kehvolastudio

Thank you Timo, that was lovely! Besides their shop, you can also find Kehvola on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

Oh! And now for the best part: Timo kindly offered a set of postcards to give away to one lucky postcrosser! For a chance to win it, check out Kehvola’s shop, and leave a comment below, telling us which design or designs were your favourites. We’ll randomly pick a winner by this time next week, and announce it on this post. Good luck! :)

And the winner of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator is… LesCheris, from France! Congratulations, and thanks everyone for playing along! :)

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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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