The postage stamp fund creates added value for cultural and social projects

Anyone purchasing a special stamp with a surcharge does a good deed: a certain proportion goes into the postage stamp fund for cultural and social commitment. This allows Swiss Post to support a wide range of projects. For example, the Swiss Music Archives (SMA) association can preserve pop cultural heritage and make it accessible to the public.

A poster from 1955 announces Louis Armstrong at the Zurich Congress Center with tickets available from four francs. “Beat, Beat, Beat!” promises a flyer for the Frauenfeld carnival ball with the Morenos dance orchestra. Whether it’s Jimi Hendrix, Rumpelstilz or Nirvana: how the Swiss performances of universally loved bands or rock stars were announced can now be retraced online at www.swissmusicarchives.ch. The digital poster edition from the collection of the Bernese pop chronicler, Samuel Mumenthaler, is just one project of the Swiss Music Archives (SMA) association, founded in 2015.

Preserving pop cultural heritage

"Jazz, beat, rock, punk, hip hop or electronic music have provided the soundtrack to vast cultural and social changes,” says SMA association chairman and historian, Erich Keller. “We have all been influenced by it in the long term. That is why pop cultural heritage must be preserved.” Yet there is still no public collection, no museum and no archive for this in Switzerland. “You can find costumes and military uniforms galore in our museums. But no costume from a Zurich Street Parade!” he notes somewhat critically. Swiss Post contributes to the SMA's work collecting, researching and publishing on this theme through the postage stamp fund.

A broad cultural and social involvement

By issuing special stamps with a surcharge, Swiss Post provides cultural or social organizations with direct support – and stimulates public dialogue. Recently, a stamp with a surcharge was issued in favour of the victims of coercion and involuntary relocation. A proportion of the sales of special stamps subject to a surcharge is paid into the postage stamp fund. This benefits a wide range of institutions and projects: in addition to the SMA, other projects include language exchanges for young people, the Robinson children's circus or Limita, the special unit for the prevention of sexual exploitation of mentally handicapped young people.

A small contribution with a big impact

Supposedly small amounts go a long way. Thanks to the one-off financial aid payment of 50,000 francs, the SMA can, for example, undertake projects such as the “history of objects” launched in 2019: a freely available digital publication on the history of popular music in Switzerland. The SMA is working in cooperation with the Swiss Social Archive, using its infrastructure, IT and know-how. “The objects are privately owned – and accessible to no one,” says Erich Keller. But not for much longer: he is looking forward to being able to reveal the secrets of embroidered denim jackets, e-guitars and LPs.