Posten Norge makes historic stamp launch on Svalbard
Never before have stamps been unveiled as far north in the world. Posten Norge used the snow-covered setting of Longyearbyen on the remote Arctic island of Svalbard for its first stamp launch of 2023.
The new stamps depict the Svalbard reindeer and Forlandet National Park. The reindeer were almost extinct in the 1920s, but now there are 20,000-25,000 animals thanks to hunting limitations. The National Park has its 50th anniversary this year after more than half of Svalbard was protected in 1973.
Tone Wille, CEO of the Norwegian postal group, explained: "Posten Norge has a long history on Svalbard, and we have the world’s northernmost post office here in Longyearbyen. We are delighted that we now also can launch stamps with motifs from Svalbard, where this unique archipelago is depicted on our new stamps."
Remote postal service
The very first postal service to be established on Svalbard was run by whalers. They used bottle mail in Kobbefjorden in the 17th century. The whalers left mail in bottles on what is today still called “Postholmen”. The post was then picked up by their colleagues who were going out or returning from fishing who then delivered the mail to the right recipients.
Then, in 1896, the first normal postal service was started at the archipelago. Today, postcards and stamps are among the most sold products on Svalbard.