Swiss stamps on the theme of national creativity
This year’s Pro-Patria stamps feature four historic lake steamers from all regions of Switzerland. These technological marvels, some of which are over 100 years old, are still steaming on the lakes for which they were built. It was just 50 years ago that the Federal Council chose the "Swiss psalm" to be Switzerland’s national anthem. To mark this anniversary, Swiss Post is issuing a miniature sheet of four stamps. The first verse is printed on each stamp in one of the four national languages. However, this can only be seen under ultraviolet light. These, and all the other new stamps in the second issue for this year, are available immediately and are valid without restriction as of 5 May.
Rich Content Section
Although Switzerland is a landlocked country, it has a respectable shipping tradition. The steamers "Blüemlisalp", "La Suisse", "Piemonte" and "Gallia" were built between 1904 and 1913, in an era in which boat travel had an aura of luxury and was enjoying growing popularity among the aspiring bourgeoisie. The steamers, which can carry up to 900 passengers, have been continually refurbished.
Still operating scheduled services
These beautifully maintained vessels are very popular among day trippers. The four steamers on the stamps still operate scheduled services on the Lake Thun, Lake Geneva, Lago Maggiore and Lake Lucerne, and are also available for special events. The stamps show the steamers against a background of the mountains of their respective region. They have been superbly presented by Winterthur-based designer Sandra di Salvo.
A national anthem with a varied history
The "Swiss psalm" was composed as early as 1841. However, numerous attempts to make this popular song the Swiss national anthem initially failed. Not until 1961 did the Federal Council decide that the "psalm" should provisionally become the national anthem. It was twenty years before it definitely replaced "Rufst du, mein Vaterland" ("When you call, my homeland") as the national anthem.
Radiance under ultra-violet light
To mark the anthem's 50th anniversary, we are issuing a miniature sheet of four CHF 0.25 stamps depicting the first verse of the "Swiss psalm" in all four national languages. However, the text is only visible under UV light. The Uster-based artist Emanuel Hengartner created a design whose background is formed by colour photographs of the original Swiss cantons. Daylight striking the stamp brings out the impressive landscapes and thus underscores the lyrics of the anthem.
Forests and handicrafts
Also part of the second stamp issue of 2011, the Europa special stamp is dedicated to the subject of "Forests". Rounding off this issue, we complete our series of definitives entitled "Traditional Swiss handicrafts" with the motifs of "Forging metal" and "Pottery".
Stamp motifs in issue 2/2011:
- Lake steamers (Pro Patria) – special stamps with surcharge at CHF 0.85 (+ 0.40) and CHF 1.00 (+ 0.50)
- 50 years of the Swiss national anthem – miniature sheet of four CHF 0.25 stamps
- Forests – European special stamp at CHF 1.00
- Traditional Swiss handicrafts – definitive stamps at CHF 4.00 and CHF 5.00
- Venice Biennale – special stamp at CHF 1.00
The stamps in issue 2/2011 are valid without restriction as of 5 May 2011 and are available now at www.swisspost.ch/philashop and from philatelic salespoints and post offices.