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Stamps 2020 - current stamps

Postage stamps January 2020

 

 

 

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January 2, 2020 "150. Birthday Ernst Barlach "


The sculptor, draftsman and writer Ernst Barlach is one of the most important modern German artists. His work, which is anchored in both realism and expressionism, polarized during his lifetime. Today it is maintained and maintained by the Ernst Barlach Foundation. Just in time for the 150th birthday, a special 270 cents stamp with the face of the bronze sculpture “Der Schwebende”, which hangs in Güstrow Cathedral in honor of the war dead and the victims of National Socialism, will appear on January 2, 2020. Barlach is said to have designed the facial features of the figure based on the model of his artist colleague Käthe Kollwitz.


Ernst Barlach was born on January 2, 1870, the son of a doctor. Due to the material security of his parents' home, his musical talent could be encouraged from an early age. Barlach first studied at the School of Applied Arts in Hamburg before he switched to the Dresden Art Academy as a master student of the sculptor Robert Diez. The decision in favor of this form of visual art is said to have been based on his mother's judgment, as he later reported: "You have no color sense!", She is said to have said. “That's how I became a sculptor.” His very own style met benevolence. Barlach exhibited, received a scholarship abroad in Italy, took on teaching assignments in the meantime and devoted himself to his literary ambitions in the remaining time. These were always more than just a sideline and, with around a dozen jobs, formed an important part of his life's work.


Barlach's life experienced a serious turning point as a result of the First World War. His experiences as a Landsturmmann shaped him both artistically and personally. His most important works include memorial sculptures in honor of the fallen. The expressionist style and the clearly pacifist attitude brought Ernst Barlach into the focus of the National Socialists even before the seizure of power. Although he was not politically active, he experienced increasing hostility. In the “Third Reich” his work was classified as “Degenerate Art”, and the memorial depicted on the postage stamp of January 2, 2020 was even melted down in 1941. Fortunately, friends had had a replica made that survived the war, well hidden. Barlach, who had been ostracized by targeted character assassination campaigns, was banned from exhibiting. He had to witness the confiscation of countless of his works. He died of a heart attack on October 24, 1938.

 

 

 

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January 2, 2020 "250. Birthday Ludwig van Beethoven "


He is considered one of the greatest geniuses in music history: Ludwig van Beethoven. On January 2, 2020, Deutsche Post will honor him with a special 80 cents stamp on his 250th birthday. Beethoven, born in December 1770, showed great musical talent at a young age. He came from a family of musicians, and his father, singer of the electoral court orchestra, taught the boy from an early age. He is said to have often dealt with him roughly, which has not improved over the years under increasing influence of alcohol. Ludwig van Beethoven soon developed into a “child prodigy” and appeared in public for the first time when he was only seven years old. At twelve he was the deputy court organist, who was also very impressed by Beethoven's musicality. He also arranged for the boy to study in Vienna, where he was supposed to do an apprenticeship with Mozart. But his mother's illness soon called Beethoven back to Bonn, especially since his father finally lost his feet. After the death of his mother, the boy took on the role of head of the family. Despite these difficult circumstances, he managed to earn a reputation. When Joseph Haydn made a guest appearance in Bonn in 1792, he had Beethoven auditioned and invited him to come to Vienna as his master student.


At the second attempt, the career in the Danube metropolis succeeded. Beethoven studied with Haydn and looked for three other teachers. Wealthy music lovers became aware of the exceptional talent, and Prince Karl Lichnowsky finally slipped into the role of Beethoven's personal patron. The prince arranged contacts with other personalities of Viennese cultural life and supported him with an impressive annual pension. Beethoven shone in the salons as a piano virtuoso. His improvisations made him a local celebrity. But his compositions also began to cause a sensation beyond Vienna. Soon, however, a shadow fell over the successful artist. As early as 1798 the first impairment of his hearing became apparent, which progressed strongly within a few years. The worry and the impairment in social interaction soon turned the deeply closed Beethoven into a gloomy and often bitter person. Numerous cures and medical experiments brought no relief, only frustration, pain and despair. From 1813 he was only able to talk with difficulty using ear traps. The break with his patron and another unhappy love plunged the artist, who was now also suffering from financial hardship, into a deep crisis. Nevertheless, with the “Missa solemnis” and the 9th Symphony, he managed to achieve grandiose late works.


The last few years have been marked by a serious illness, the cause of which is unknown. Beethoven possibly suffered from the consequences of lead poisoning. In any case, he suffered from a long-standing liver disease. On March 26, 1827, the composer died at the age of 57, weakened by pneumonia, of cirrhosis of the liver.

 

 

 

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January 2, 2020 "Treasures from German museums: Vincent van Gogh - Mohnfeld"


The popular series “Treasures from German Museums” will be continued right at the beginning of the year. The motif comes from Vincent van Gogh. It is the painting “Poppy Field”. The postage stamp from January 2, 2020 with a value of 155 cents is suitable for sending large letters.


Vincent van Gogh's style is unique. This may not least be due to the fact that the painter was self-taught. One of the particularly striking features of his pictures is the so-called impasto painting technique, i.e. the very thick application of the paint, in which the processing is reflected. Every brushstroke is visible. This gives the picture its own dynamic. The artist emphasized the details of the picture with his pronounced structure of the surface. Dotted lines, curls or small circles underlined the natural geometry of the object. Van Gogh also only followed his instinct when it came to the color scheme. He combined complementary colors, changed natural tones in favor of the effect and over time developed a very personal color theory with emotional assignments. In 1888 he wrote of his famous night café: “I tried to use red and green to express the terrible human passions. The room is blood red and dull yellow, a green billiard table in the middle, four lemon yellow lamps with orange and green circles of rays. Everywhere there is struggle and antithesis ”.


The work from 1889 depicted on the stamp played a very special role in German art history. From 1911, the so-called “Bremen Art Controversy” flared up at the “poppy field”. At that time, the scientific director of the Bremen Kunsthalle, Gustav Pauli, bought this picture for the exorbitant price of 30,000 Reichsmarks at the time. Pauli saw the French impressionists and the artists they influenced as the most important trend in modern art development. Van Gogh as a post-impressionist played a prominent role for him. A group of German artists felt disadvantaged by their preference for foreign painting and sparked a fundamental dispute over the "color madness" of the foreigners they frowned upon. The dispute caused quite a stir, but ultimately could not stop the triumph of modernity.


The painting “Poppy Field” comes from the last phase of the artist's life. After various professional failures, van Gogh had devoted himself entirely to art for the last ten years of his life - mostly his younger brother Theo provided for his living. Between intensive creative phases, he repeatedly suffered personal crises. The episode in which Van Gogh cut off part of his left ear is legendary. After a long stay in a mental hospital, he fell into a formal creative frenzy before he committed suicide in July 1890. The beautiful postage stamp from January 2, 2020 invites you to take a closer look at this fascinating personality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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January 2, 2020 "Germany's most beautiful panoramas: Bonn / Siebengebirge"


Right at the beginning of the year, on January 2, 2020, the long-awaited continuation of the stamp series “Germany's most beautiful panoramas” will appear. The two values ​​of 60 cents produced in the combined print present a breathtaking view from the northern Siebengebirge over the Rhine to Bonn on the left bank.


The former federal capital with around 300,000 inhabitants is one of the oldest German cities. The first settlement in this place was a Roman military camp. Until the fall of the Western Empire, “Bonna” was an important border post that was also visited by numerous traders. The favorable location was also recognized by the subsequent Franks, so that settlement activity continued in the Germanic era. The city flourished early in the Middle Ages. Since then it has been one of the most important metropolises in the Rhineland. Despite severe destruction in World War II, Bonn is a city with many historical buildings. The place of study is an insider tip among students. Although federal politics has passed after Berlin, Bonn is still a very international city with a rich cultural life.


The Rhine panorama of the two stamps ends on the right of Drachenburg Castle. This building in the style of historicism has no historical roots. Rather, it is about the luxury residence of the banker Stephan von Sarter, built between 1882 and 1884, who had made great fortunes on the stock exchange. However, he did not live there. The castle ruins above the castle, on the other hand, looked back on centuries of history before they fell into disrepair in modern times. The Drachenfelsen she is guarding lies on the northernmost foothills of the Siebengebirge. This low mountain range extends on the right bank of the Rhine to the Montabaurer Westerwald. Today a popular excursion destination, the rocks of the Siebengebirge once held treasure. The Romans already operated quarries there. The volcanic trachyte was also built into the foundations of Cologne Cathedral and shipped on the river as a sought-after building material in later centuries. The dismantling did not end until the Prussian era, as the castle ruins threatened to slide down. From then on, the region developed into an early recreational area. The Prussian government had forbidden the clearing of the forests and stopped the mining of non-ferrous metal ores. As a result, nature was able to recover. In 1922 it was officially registered as a nature reserve.


Today numerous hiking trails run over the wooded heights of the Siebengebirge. Above all, the Rheinsteig gives hikers a wonderful panorama here on the eastern bank, one of the most beautiful in Germany, as the title of the stamp states.

 

 

 

 

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January 2, 2020 "Freedom of the press"


On January 2, 2020, Deutsche Post is dedicating a stamp to one of the fundamental rights of our constitution. The special stamp for 95 cents, for sending a compact letter, bears the title: "Freedom of the press".


Freedom of the press is one of the foundations of our democracy. Article 5 of the Basic Law stipulates: “Everyone has the right to freely express and disseminate his or her opinion in words, writing and images and to obtain information from generally accessible sources without hindrance. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting through radio and film are guaranteed. There is no censorship. ”This granted freedom therefore applies to both active and passive users. The final sentence makes it clear against which dangers the law wants to protect the press. In German history there has almost never been a free press. In almost every form of government in our country to date, newspapers and publishers have been subject to the control of the state. Critical reporting could and was suppressed. Often this practice resulted in a form of self-censorship. Since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, the great good of freedom of the press has been considered to be absolutely worthy of protection - a historic achievement. Unfortunately, it is not undisputed. Representatives of very different interest groups are constantly trying to restrict the freedom of the press.


Governments and state institutions continue to be at the forefront of threats. While there is at least one strong judiciary in the Federal Republic of Germany that regularly judges in terms of freedom of the press, we are observing increasing state restrictions internationally. Unpopular journalists are accused and sentenced as "terrorists" or "putschists". The fact that in one of the oldest democracies in the world, the United States, the media is described by its head of state as "enemies of the people" or "scraps" shows the fragility of democratic structures. Without a democratic consensus, however, freedom of the press cannot survive either. This is becoming more and more evident in this country too. Because the far greater danger to freedom of the press arises from the population itself. The public perception of the public perception, reinforced by populist actors and digital mirror cabinets, increasingly leads to the disdain of journalistic work. "Lies press" shout particularly loudly especially those who read no newspaper at all. A sensational report trumpeted without any evidence, without a source, without any classification of the content and without any verification of the facts on the Internet, on the other hand, is accepted as truth and defended with all sharpness. The problem is that these media users defy any fact-based reasoning. Their only concern is to feel right. But if the citizens behave like petty despots and reject dissenting opinions on principle, not only freedom of expression and freedom of the press are in danger, but freedom itself.

 

 

 

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January 2, 2020 "Flowers: Daylily"


The first stamp of the New Year shows a flower. The popular postage stamp series will be continued on January 2, 2020 with an orange-red daylily. The value grade is 30 cents.


Daylilies actually come from East Asia, where they have been cultivated as medicinal and useful plants since time immemorial. The perennial and herbaceous lilies can be used to produce fibers for making ropes or fabric, as well as home remedies for constipation, pneumonia and even tuberculosis. In Europe these advantages of the daylilies do not play a role. Instead, they are popular ornamental plants for the garden in this country. It is believed that they started their triumphal march from England. At the height of its power, the British Empire, as is well known, controlled the oceans, and treasures from all over the world were traded in the English ports. The landscape gardeners and growers benefited particularly from this and experimented with all kinds of exotic plants.


Daylilies are undemanding in their needs, easy to care for and adaptable. Ordinary garden soil is sufficient, the location must not be too dry. The plants tolerate partial shade well, but they develop significantly more flowers in the sun - and most gardeners want the flowers when they opt for daylilies. Although the name suggests that the beautiful blooms of these flowers only bloom for one day, due to their large number they can still add wonderful color accents for several months. Because every single daylily forms many buds, and the plants also tend to form clumps. Rhizomes grow from the bulbous roots, from which new shoots will soon sprout. Some gardeners therefore regularly cut off parts of the rootstock to prevent uncontrolled spreading. It is recommended to reserve around one square meter of space for the plant. The ideal planting times are spring or autumn. With a gift of compost as a start-up aid and sufficient moisture in the soil, nothing stands in the way of your own daylily colony.


Thanks to their popularity, there are now around 20 natural species in addition to a barely manageable number of cultivated hybrids. Estimates are between 50,000 and 80,000 pieces. The daylily was named “Perennial of the Year” in 2018.

 

Postage stamps February 2020

 

 

 

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February 6, 2020 "Sustainable Development"


The concept of sustainability has experienced a renaissance and a change in meaning in recent years.Once it stood primarily for a lasting effect of action, the word today contains a gloomy component: that of the preservation of our species. In view of the numerous negative future scenarios, there is a big question mark behind the continued existence of mankind. If the profound question of existence was once religious and could only be influenced to a limited extent by human activity, the new knowledge of science has expressed an existential imperative. Man must act or will perish. The question is: how does he have to act? The answer: sustainable.


The current special postage stamp of February 6, 2020 now puts this difficult topic at the center of the brand's motif. The design of the responsible graphic artist, Professor Florian Pfeffer, can only be described as successful. It is limited to a combination of symbols and buzzwords and thus reflects almost exactly the level of current political strategies for coping with the impending catastrophe. Instead of resolutely tackling the problem at the root, solution approaches are diluted with the particular interests of the various clientele groups until the supposed solution ultimately creates more problems than persisting in a lack of action. This is a cynical way of playing into the hands of those who don't want to change anything anyway. Because in order to change the consequences of your own actions, you have to change your actions.


Among other things, the stamp is intended to commemorate the United Nations' 17-point plan with the beautiful title “Sustainable Development Goals”. Specifically, these are: peace, food security and sustainable agriculture, health care, good education, gender equality, clean water and hygiene, affordable renewable energies, fair working conditions with constant growth, industrial innovations, reducing inequality, sustainable cities, responsible consumption, climate and landscape - and marine protection, peace and justice and multilateral cooperation to achieve these goals. But if you just look at the balance sheets of the richest countries, you will unfortunately find that even where resources are in abundance, many of the desired improvements are impossible due to the existing framework conditions. Health systems that are subject to the principles of private profit-making are always infiltrated by financial interests. The gap between rich and poor is widening because there is a lack of political will to change this. If industry associations can influence environmental laws, the step from symbolism to political failure is only a small one.


The suspicion arises that human survival depends on finding a way to decouple the economy from the primacy of growth. This step will be prevented at all costs by those who are profiting from the current depletion of natural and human resources - unless each individual decides for himself or herself that he or she wants to live sustainably.

 

 

 

 

 

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February 6, 2020 "Grimm's Fairy Tales: The Wolf and the Seven Goats"


On February 6, 2020, the new special stamps will appear in favor of welfare. Once again, those responsible decided on a motif from the Grimm brothers' fairy tale collection. The story told on the three stamps is that of the wolf and the seven little goats.


This old fable cannot be assigned to a region of origin. Although the brothers gave the Main region as the place of origin, there were already very similar stories elsewhere. It was always about small children who were left alone by their mother for a while - a fate that often flourished for the youngest in society when they were not yet able to help out in the fields. Nobody would have talked about neglect at the time. Life was hard and the children had to learn early to take care of themselves. Especially since the mother's instruction is clear: not to let anyone in while she is gone.


In this fairy tale, the wolf shines less with his intelligence - he is not a fox either - than with persistence. Every weakness in his cruel plan must be cleared up individually, first his too deep voice, which distinguishes him from the mother goat, and then his black paw. The fact that the little kids don't suspect anything may be due on the one hand to the little developed distrust of the little ones, on the other hand, of course, to the tension in the story. The young listeners should cheer and empathize. Because apart from all psychological interpretations, the core message of the fairy tale is simple and clearly understandable: Children, listen to your parents!


In the end, Master Isegrimm still reaches his goal, but he only catches six of the seven little goats, which he then swallows down quickly. The seventh, however, is hidden in a grandfather clock. When the mother finally returns home, the surviving child is able to describe the terrible incident and thus gives Mother Geiss the opportunity to free her offspring, fortunately still alive, from the wolf's belly. Instead of the kid that has not yet been digested from the robber's body, the rescuer puts rocking stones in the wolf's stomach, which at the end of the fairy tale let the guy fall into a well and drown. The moral of the story: you should always chew your food thoroughly or it will come out again.


For all motif collectors, reference is made here to further adaptations of this fairy tale theme. As early as September 23, 1963, the Bundespost dedicated four welfare stamps to the story of the wolf and the seven little goats.

Postage stamps March 2020

 

 

 

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March 2, 2020 "Green Belt Germany"


It is a symbolism that is second to none. The "Green Belt Germany", which emerged from the death strip of the GDR border, is now a strip of life that stretches through Germany for almost 1,400 kilometers. Swiss Post is honoring this unique project with a special stamp on March 2, 2020.


Over and over again people talk about the Green Belt as about an alleged success story of the reunification, but this is not true. Nature found a retreat at the border because this strip of land was largely forbidden to humans. In this respect, one has to be pleased that there are still a number of rare biotopes, even though the border fortifications have been dismantled. In fact, the Green Belt has had numerous loopholes over the past 30 years. Municipalities designate new development areas in the country, and farms level the natural areas for economic use. Unfortunately, the situation is reversed in the opposite direction. Where we humans begin to expand, new dead zones are created for nature.


The idea of ​​creating a Germany-wide protected area on the soil of the old border stems from the period immediately after the fall of the Wall. Both the state of Thuringia and the Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND) endeavored to designate new nature reserves. The federal government also showed interest and approved support in recording and documenting the various biotopes. The result was amazing. An estimated 5200 species have their home on this natural strip, around 1200 of them are threatened with extinction. Some species have even been spotted that were thought to be extinct. Because the Green Belt stretches from the low mountain range to the sea, it is home to an incredible number of different biotopes. The BUND counted 109 different landforms.


The original plan of the environmentalists to declare the entire former border strip a national natural monument unfortunately failed due to the particular interests of the federal states, especially Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. In Thuringia alone, the Green Belt has been designated as a "National Natural Monument". The BUND continues to try, with the help of donors, to buy up the largest possible area privately in order to be able to better protect it in the future. The "Green Belt Germany" has been part of the "Green Belt Europe" since 2003 - one could actually speak of the nucleus, since the initiative for it came from Germany, which also financed the first conference for this ambitious project. The beautiful idea of ​​creating a strip of protected habitats from the North Sea to Turkey, however, always reaches its limits at the European level where economic interests are registered. Nature would certainly generate an enormous profit if one agreed on a corresponding currency. The settlement would only have to be done in life instead of in foreign exchange.

 

 

 

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March 2, 2020 "Sesame Street"


On March 2, 2020, Swiss Post is honoring the children's television program Sesame Street with a brightly colored 80 cents stamp. Bert, Elmo, the Cookie Monster, Samson, Tiffy and Ernie can be seen in the motif, i.e. four characters that have been taken over from American productions and two dolls made in Germany. The stamp's release date suggests that this issue may have been intended for the 50th anniversary of the show, which first aired on November 10, 1969. But even four months after the milestone birthday, the postage stamp is still fun. Only a few children's programs have a cross-generational effect. Of course, the modern German episodes of Sesame Street differ significantly from the originals originally translated from the American. Nevertheless, to a certain extent they breathe the same spirit, and thanks to the continuity of the classic characters such as Ernie and Bert, Elmo, Oscar or the Cookie Monster, they clearly belong in the world of the Sesame Street family. When the show was conceived, it was considered something revolutionary new. The world had never seen television for preschool children with entertainment value and educational demands. With the dolls made by Muppet father Jim Henson, the TV format immediately captured the hearts of young viewers. Just two years after it was first broadcast in the USA, German television also showed interest. There were several program tests in which viewers were presented with the unsynchronized original episodes. The reception was positive, and on January 8, 1973, the German children were allowed to see the first dubbed Sesame Street episode. Only the children in Bavaria peeked into the tube because those responsible for Bayerischer Rundfunk had criticized the fact that Sesame Street did not correctly reflect the social situation in Germany. That was true, of course. Larger-than-life yellow birds, blue and green fur monsters and counting vampires can rarely be found in intimate company in this country. What the Bavarian television bosses had missed: in America either. Apart from that, children do not want to find the known world depicted as they know it, neither in their books nor in their television programs.


From 1978 the NDR supplemented the Sesame Street series with its own contributions. In the Hamburg-Wandsbek studio, the first episodes with German actors were created in a kind of shared kitchen setting. Back then, the Sesame Street duo consisted of Liselotte Pulver and Henning Venske. Shortly afterwards the first "German" dolls were made: Tiffy and Samson. These were specially developed in the USA for the German-language framework story.


It is currently much quieter around Sesame Street in Germany. However, with “A carrot for two” there is a very successful offshoot that can be seen again and again on the children's channel KIKA. But even after half a century, Sesame Street remains alive in the public eye, because it has succeeded in anchoring a number of winged words and dialogues in the German language. Whether "Do you want to buy an O?" Or "Keeekseeee!" - everyone immediately knows what is meant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 2, 2020 "Celestial events: Kelvin-Helmholtz and Lenticularis clouds"


Probably everyone has already looked into the clouds and been fascinated by their wealth of shapes. Looking up at the sky with siblings or friends and telling each other what wondrous beings you think you are seeing is one of the common childhood memories. Anyone who indulges in this activity in adulthood is one of the lucky people who has retained their imagination - and the ability to dream for a moment - or has become a meteorologist and knows how to physically explain the shape of the clouds. The third group of those who look into the clouds are the artists and photographers who want to capture the beautiful and sometimes bizarre structures in the firmament. Two particularly successful results of such attempts can be seen on the new “Heavenly Events” stamp issue from March 2, 2020.


Despite their aesthetic beauty, both stamps are clearly scientifically inspired. They do not show any pretty shapes, but very concrete physical events. The first special stamp shows a type of cloud that arises from a so-called Kelvin-Helmholtz instability. This phenomenon describes the turbulence of different liquids or gases. Differences in speed are fundamental. The faster substance creates a suction that causes the slower substance to create a wave, which in turn increases the suction until the wave breaks. We know it from the sea, where the wind sets the water in motion in exactly this way. The same result can be seen on the postage stamp, except that the waves were created at the boundary between different layers of air. The fact that you can also see the waves is due to the lucky coincidence that the lower, more humid layer of air is sucked up so far that it exceeds its dew point and its moisture becomes visible in the form of a cloud.


The second stamp shows a lenticularis, also popularly known as a “UFO cloud” - a “lens-shaped” cloud translated into German. This special cloud shape usually arises where layers of air are directed upwards through mountains or other elevations. The clouds seem to stand firmly in the sky, although winds actually blow through them. Glider pilots appreciate these clouds as a guide to useful updrafts. But there are also lenticular clouds that move. They are the result of two different layers of air that rub against each other in opposite directions. Such cloud lenses are sometimes interpreted by particularly imaginative contemporaries as flying saucers. But as the saying goes: The proof of extraterrestrial intelligence is that it has not yet contacted us. Be that as it may, we can look forward to the next stamp issue on the subject of “Celestial Events”, provided that the two postage stamps from March 2, 2020 are continued.

 

Postage stamps April 2020

 

 

 

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April 2, 2020 "100. Birthday Richard von Weizsäcker "


On April 2, 2020, Deutsche Post will honor former Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker, who died in 2015, with his own postage stamp on his 100th birthday. After Theodor Heuss, von Weizsäcker was the only Federal President to have completed two full terms of office.


Born on April 15, 1920 in Stuttgart, the diplomat's son spent a few years in other European countries before the war. From 1945 Richard von Weizsäcker studied law, then worked in business and made a career in the CDU. From 1969 until his election to the Federal President's office on May 23, 1984, he was a member of the Bundestag, at times deputy parliamentary group chairman, governing mayor of Berlin and CDU state chairman. As Federal President, he resigned all party offices and, as the German head of state, acquired the reputation of an attentive listener and a moral authority. Since reunification fell during his term in office, von Weizsäcker also acted as the first Federal President of reunified Germany and was very committed to the unification process. “To unite means to learn to share,” was one of his widely acclaimed comments. Even after his second term in office, Richard von Weizsäcker remained an important figure in public life and continued his social and community engagement in a variety of ways. He died on January 31, 2015 at the age of 94 in Berlin.


This April 2, 2020 stamp issue is particularly interesting for philatelists in that the Federal Presidents are their own collective topic. Although there has been no postage stamp series with the portrait of current federal presidents for a long time, some of the incumbents were honored as personalities after their death. Richard von Weizsäcker was actually represented on a special postage once during his lifetime, but only in the form of his signature. Together with the autographs of his predecessors Heuss, Lübke, Heinemann and Carstens, this adorned a postage stamp dated May 5, 1989 for the 40th anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany.

 

 

 

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April 2, 2020 "U-Bahn stations: Marienplatz Munich"


A golden Mother of God rises high above Munich's Marienplatz, on the top of a column. The so-called Marian column was once considered the geographical center of the city.Distance information always related to their location at the entrance of today's pedestrian zone. But while tourists above all look up to the Virgin Mary, life now pulsates in the depths below Marienplatz. Immediately below the square, extensive rows of shops attract visitors, on two other levels the Munich people stream to the S-Bahn, and one floor below is the Munich U-Bahn, which connects the metropolis with its 96 stops. The underground station under Marienplatz is the motif of the new stamp series "Underground stations", which has its first day on April 2, 2020.


The stamp image shows an orange-yellow tiled tunnel, the shape and color of which exudes the retro charm of 50-year-old science fiction films. The tunnel itself is relatively new. Between 2003 and 2006, a total of two such pedestrian tubes were built to cope with the increased number of passengers. The World Cup was the perfect occasion for this. When designing the design, those responsible were guided by the style of the Marienplatz stop. This station, which opened in 1971, was designed by the architect Alexander von Branca. Von Branca, whose best-known work is probably the Neue Pinakothek, refused to adapt to the zeitgeist, but instead followed his personal ideas, even in the face of massive criticism. As a modern architect, according to von Branca, he feels obliged to take a stance on the present. He did not always meet with approval. Its church buildings in particular polarized. The Marienplatz underground station also clearly stands out from the crowd. Flowing forms and the effective use of colored panels give the underground structure its own lightness. As a stamp motif, it is a godsend, because the picture works even in the smallest of spaces and arouses curiosity. You couldn't ask for more.


The announcement of a whole series of underground stations on postage could prove to be a clever move by Deutsche Post. The motif moves technology fans as well as local patriots. The value level of 95 cents for a compact letter is also conducive to the mass distribution of the motif in everyday life. Which underground stations will receive brand honors in the future remains a secret of the Post for the time being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April 2, 2020 "Optical Illusions"


It was to be hoped that Deutsche Post would continue its new series from last autumn. And in fact, on April 2, 2020, two new stamps on the subject of “Optical Illusions” will be released. This issue again has great potential to score points even if you don't like postage stamps. The confusion between appearance and reality is a classic that inspires people of all ages. The two selected stamp motifs on the values ​​of 110 and 170 cents are real eye-catchers and are not often shown standard items in the genre itself.


The first special stamp is about our perception of color tones. If you actually think you can recognize two identical tints - especially when they are printed together on a piece of paper only a few centimeters in size, the picture teaches us better. Our perception is manipulated to such an extent through the immediate environment that we can no longer recognize the obvious. On the other hand, if you cover the center of the stamp with your finger, it is perfectly clear that the shades of gray are identical. The great thing about it is that solving the puzzle doesn't affect our assessment. If you take your finger away again, the tones still look different - against better knowledge.


The second motif is aimed at mathematical tinkerers and logicians. The sum of the surfaces of individual parts - so the common assumption - is always the same, no matter how we arrange the parts. But the triangles shown prove the opposite. If you compare the individual parts of the two structures, they all seem to correspond to one another. So how can it be that the lower triangle has a hole? The answer is to be found in the word "seem". The two dark and light blue triangles are not the same. They differ by slightly different angles. However, this difference is not visible to our eyes. Once again, the environment is to blame for this. The fact that all other individual parts are identical suggests that the triangles are also exactly the same.
It will be interesting to see which optical illusions will be featured on the next stamps in this series.

 

 

 

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April 2, 2020 "Flowers: Zinnia"


Just in time for spring, Deutsche Post is continuing its longstanding series of postage stamps with a particularly colorful flower. The stamp of April 2, 2020 with the 50 cents face value shows a zinnia, specifically a Zinnia elegans. This representative of the genus of the same name belongs to the sunflower family and has its home in Mexico. The first specimens came to Europe at the end of the 18th century, where they became a popular ornamental plant due to the simple propagation by seeds. In the New World there are more than 20 different species, which differ significantly in their bloom. But all zinnias have one thing in common: They are not winter-proof.


For the home gardener, the zinnia year therefore begins with sowing on the windowsill in February or March. The seeds do not grow quickly in the warm air of the apartment, and the small plants usually develop well. The cold-sensitive flowers may only be planted after the ice saints. A sunny and sheltered place should be reserved for them in the garden. Then these herbaceous plants can be up to a meter high. If you constantly cut out the faded parts, the zinnia will continue to sprout new flowers until autumn. These delight not only the gardener, but also the local insects. Bees, bumblebees, butterflies and the extremely useful lacewings find their food in the spreading flowers of the zinnias. And if these insects feel good in the garden, it is well known that the harvest of humans is bigger. "Pests" are always a sign of a nature out of whack, and no one is better able to restore the balance than nature itself.


The name of the zinnia goes back to the German anatomist and botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn, who, however, did not call it that himself. This was done by his prominent successor Carl von Linné. Zinn originally described the flower as a rudbeckia. Linnaeus discovered the mistake and corrected it while at the same time appreciating the esteemed colleague. The illustrated Zinnia elegans is a hybrid that was specially bred as an ornamental plant. While the flowers are quite edible in their original forms, you should refrain from doing so with new varieties. Zinnia elegans, for example, contains substances to which humans can have an allergic reaction. In this respect, it is better to leave it at that to enjoy the pretty flower with your eyes.

 

Postage stamps May 2020

 

 

 

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May 7, 2020 "300. Birthday Baron von Münchhausen "


On May 7, 2020, Deutsche Post is dedicating a special stamp to the notorious “Baron of Lies” Münchhausen for his 300th birthday. This congratulation is unlikely to have pleased the noble gentleman, because the historical person, Hieronymus Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Münchhausen, had already reacted with horror to the momentum that his little stories developed during his lifetime.


Actually, the offspring of the venerable Lower Saxon family von Münchhausen wanted to make a career in the military. As the page of Duke Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, the only 17-year-old Hieronymus went to Russia in 1737, where his Duke resided on the Tsar's throne, Anna Leopoldowna, as the husband of his successor. Munchhausen hoped for high military honors through his proximity to the throne. But the plans were thwarted by a palace revolt in St. Petersburg. Anna Leopoldowna was sent into exile, Duke Anton-Ulrich and his children were imprisoned for the rest of their lives. The Baron von Münchhausen was lucky in misfortune. Although he did not fall victim to the political cleansing, his brilliant career was nonetheless ruined. After spending ten years more or less on the sidelines in the Russian Baltic States, he said goodbye to the Russian army and returned to Germany in 1750, where from then on he led a secluded but sociable life on his estate.


Already in Riga the baron had evidently developed a certain talent for telling fantastic stories. At home he brought this art to perfection and entertained his guests time and again with his anecdotes. He had no literary ambitions. Nevertheless, the great stories by Münchhausen soon got into circulation, and so it was only a matter of time before someone took the trouble to put them on paper. A first version was published in 1785 by an acquaintance of the baron, the scholar Rudolf Erich Raspe. He had fled abroad because of a theft and urgently needed money. That flowed in abundance now, because the Münchhausen book was a great success. Translated by Gottfried August Bürger, the stories caused great enthusiasm in Germany as well. But the baron suddenly known as the “baron of lies” was not at all enthusiastic. He felt hurt in his honor. However, he had already ruined his reputation on his own when he married his underage godchild when he was old, divorced him shortly afterwards and lost all of his fortune in the embarrassing process. It is said that Baron von Münchhausen spent his last years in extreme bitterness. But people still enjoy his stories to this day.

 

 

 

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May 7, 2020 "Historic Mail Routes"


On May 7, 2020, Swiss Post will surprise you with another block edition. These “postage stamps in Sunday dress” were once a coveted rarity, but now they appear with great regularity. In a sense, they are a thank you to the loyal collectors who regularly have Deutsche Post's new products delivered to their homes. Because you usually look in vain for the blocks at the post office counter. The current block entitled “Historic Post Routes” looks back to the early days of regular mail traffic in Europe.


In 1490, the Roman-German King and later Emperor Maximilian commissioned an Italian named Janetto von Tassis with the creation of a courier line from Maximilian's seat of government Innsbruck to the Netherlands. By marrying Mary of Burgundy, the Habsburg had secured part of the legacy of Charles the Bold. Now he needed a functioning communications system between his heartland and the rich province in the west. The von Tassis family had already worked successfully in the courier business in Italy. Janetto brought his brother Franz and two of his nephews on board and created a highly professional postal service for the time. The new trans-European postal line became the cornerstone of their postal empire.


The principle was simple but effective and had already been used in this form in ancient Persia and the Roman Empire. The route was divided into stages based on the performance of a horse. At each stage, the courier could change horses or hand over his mailbag to a rested courier. The emperor wanted another route to Speyer? The wish was implemented. For generations, the von Tassis family remained in charge of the organization and expansion of the imperial-Habsburg postal service. Worms, Milan, Cologne, Koblenz and Antwerp followed, and soon the equestrian relays linked all of Europe. The runtimes were considerable. Five days were calculated for a letter from Brussels to Innsbruck, six in winter.


Although the messenger post, which later existed under the name Thurn-und-Taxis-Post until modern times, originally served exclusively the ruler and his administration, it was the forerunner of our current postal system. All later state posts were measured against it, and the man who pushed the von Thurn und Taxis family out of the business with more than gentle pressure, the Prussian postal genius Heinrich von Stephan, always felt admiration for the achievements of this family. The post horn is nice to see on the stamp of May 7, 2020. Today it is known quite naturally as a postal symbol, it once served the practical purpose of announcing the arrival of the courier from a great distance so that the replacement could be prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

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May 7, 2020 "New Olympic Sports"


It is already clear that spring 2020 will go down in history with the corona pandemic. Of course, no one can say with what outcome. It goes without saying that sport has also been hit by a state of emergency in the face of countless deaths and an economy that has been shaken to its foundations. However, this could not be foreseen at the beginning of the year, and so Deutsche Post is shining on May 7, 2020 with a lovingly prepared special stamp issue for the 2020 Olympic Games, although these have only just been officially postponed to 2021. In the past, these stamps might have been withdrawn, and perhaps will be withdrawn. But it would be a shame, because the three stamps with the title “New Olympic Postage Stamps” are dedicated to a timeless topic, namely the question of what constitutes an Olympic sport and to what extent the canon of Olympic disciplines can be expanded without restriction.


As is well known, the three sports presented existed even before they were classified as an Olympic discipline. Nevertheless, the inclusion in the premier class of international sport can be seen as a special honor. For example, sport climbing, represented by the 80 + 40 cents stamp, has long been considered an exotic sport for daredevil young people who regularly risk their heads and necks to push the boundaries of what is humanly possible. Impressive pictures from magazines and film documentaries clearly document this. But in order to hold this sport as an Olympic competition, one thing above all is required: clear rules. The IOC solved this problem by allowing a combination for the 2020 Games. The athletes have to compete with each other in three sub-disciplines, speed climbing, bouldering, i.e. climbing without aids on extreme rock formations at low heights, and difficulty climbing. It remains to be seen whether this form will prove itself in practice. The second new Olympic sport is even more firmly established in the youth subculture: skateboarding. This sport, which has been practiced for 60 years, was also broken down into certain sub-disciplines for the 2020 Olympics in order to be able to evaluate the performance. In view of the millions and millions of recreational skaters, however, you don't have to worry about the commercialization that this causes. The third sport of this stamp issue, shown on the top value, is also interesting: karate. This Asian martial art, which translates as “empty hand”, originally comes from China, but was cultivated to absolute mastery in medieval Japan. This self-defense technique, which was only taught in secret until 100 years ago, has now become an almost everyday sport in the western world, and one can easily get a taste of it at the adult education center. In fact, it is one of the oldest methods of self-discipline and character formation. It may only be reduced to its sporty character with restrictions. Karate is no longer planned for the Olympic Games in 2024. In this respect one can understand this historical guest performance of the martial arts as a bow to the host Japan.

Postage stamps June 2020

 

 

 

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June 4, 2020 "500 years Annaberger KÄT"


It should have been a glittering celebration for the milestone anniversary. The Annaberger KÄT was planned for the period from June 12th to 21st, but now the largest folk festival in the Ore Mountains, like all other events, had to be canceled. The corona virus writes its own story. But at least one postage stamp from Deutsche Post dated June 4, 2020 commemorates “500 years of Annaberger KÄT”.


The festival goes back to a religious event. Under the strict Catholic Duke George the Bearded, the Annaberg cemetery was consecrated in 1519 in a solemn act with soil from the “Campo Santo” in Rome. In an apostolic decree, Pope Leo X declared the church and the adjoining hospital church of St. Trinity a “holy field”. On the occasion of this honor, the god-fearing duke ordered a pilgrimage for Trinity Sunday. In 1520 a big festival was celebrated for the first time on the site of the church. Although the Reformation swept Catholicism out of the country barely 20 years later, the happy get-together was retained for the Annaberg people, initially in the form of a Protestant feast of the dead, later as a pure folk festival.After all, the name of the Christian holiday is said to be hidden in the word KÄT, which is now a brand. Accordingly, the “Dreifaltigkeitsfest”, which was translated from the Latin “Trinitatis” into German, soon changed colloquially to “Dreifaldichkat” or “Kat”, which finally resulted in “Kät” through the local Saxon dialect. A less widespread explanation suggests a derivation from Saint Catherine, who adorns the city coat of arms of the incorporated city of Buchholz and after whom the nearby Katharinenberg is named.


The festival traditionally takes place two weeks after Pentecost. Since the space at the Hospital Church was at some point no longer sufficient, it was moved to Schützenplatz at the end of the 19th century, which was accordingly renamed "Kät-Platz". Even then, there was no longer any trace of religious majesty. Rather, the fairground offered all imaginable amusements and diversions, from the flea circus and the puppet theater to show ring fights and chain carousels to local and national Saxon culinary specialties. Of course, this also includes the beer, which flows freely on the KÄT.


A particularly splendid range of showmen and attractions had been planned for the 500th anniversary, including a Ferris wheel, roller coaster and fireworks display. Even Pope Francis was supposed to send a message of greeting, the solemn reading of which was planned for June 14 as part of an ecumenical festival service. Instead, the people of Annaberg and the visitors who were unable to attend have to celebrate their KÄT at home this year. The KÄT will be back, maybe next year.

 

 

 

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June 4, 2020 "200. Birthday Katharina Kasper "


On June 4, 2020, Deutsche Post congratulates a modern saint on his 200th birthday with a stamp. Katharina Kasper was the founder of the order of the “Poor Maidservants of Jesus Christ”.


Born on May 26, 1820, Katharina Kasper experienced hardship and poverty as a farmer's daughter from an early age. Dernbach, located in the Westerwald, was once considered an important center of local mining, but the silver and iron mines had been idle since the second half of the 18th century. The population kept themselves afloat with agriculture and sideline activities. Even little Katharina helped out in the yard and with the forest work. After the death of her father in 1842, she hired herself as a day laborer. But instead of bowing under the burden of everyday life, Katharina Kasper found enough strength in her deep faith to devote herself to caring for the orphans and the poor and sick of the village in addition to her work. She must have made a big impression, because other young women soon followed her example and founded an association for home care and childcare with her in 1845. In 1848 the young women even got their own house built by the people of Dernbach.


Katharina Kasper's wish to put the charitable community under the blessing of the church was fulfilled in 1851 when the Limburg bishop gave the church approval to the “Cooperative of Poor Maidservants of Jesus Christ”. Before him, the women took their religious vows that same year. The maidservants soon took over the care of the sick in the neighboring towns and founded a “knitting and sewing school” in 1852, in which children were trained in domestic handicrafts. The community was very popular, and soon there were dozens of branches in the region. Elementary schools and secondary schools for girls followed, and in 1858 the first female teachers' seminar was established in Dernbach. After only 20 years, the cooperative had over 400 members and even had its first branches abroad. In 1870 Katharina Kasper's community was finally officially recognized by the Vatican and the founder was appointed Superior General. She headed the order until her death in 1898. Katharina Kasper found her final resting place in the church of the “Maria Hilf” monastery in Dernbach. Her beatification took place in 1978 by Pope Pius VI. The canonization was canonized by Pope Francis on October 14, 2018 in St. Peter's Square in Rome. The postage stamp from June 4, 2020 is suitable for sending a large letter.