This Norwegian stamp is ‘the most beautiful in the world’

A Norwegian postage stamp depicting a snowy owl has been named the world’s most beautiful design of 2018.

This Norwegian stamp is 'the most beautiful in the world'
The prize-winning Norwegian stamp. Photo: Posten Norge / Viggo Ree / arrangement Enzo Finger

Designed by artist Viggo Ree, the 21-krone stamp was awarded the honour in Madrid last week.

A jury consisting of around 40 internationally qualified philatelists evaluated stamps from all over the world in different classes.

The Norwegian snowy owl stamp came out on top in the prestigious Nexofil competition, organized by the stamp magazine El Eco in Spain.

“It was surprising to receive the message (about the award). This is the first time Norway has won the first prize in this category,” Ree told newspaper VG.

Although Norway has enjoyed international recognition for its stamps in the past, this is the first time the country has topped a world list.

“It is very nice that our stamps achieve good results internationally and clear proof of the high quality of Norwegian stamps,” Posten Norge CEO Tone Wille said in a press statement.

300 people from post and philately organizations worldwide were present at the Madrid awards.

The snowy owl depicted on the stamp comes from a watercolour painted by Ree several years ago. The stamp was released in April last year as part of a three-part series depicting birds.

“The picture was commissioned by a man who wanted to give it to his wife as an anniversary present. It is now hanging on the in a home in Son. But I have reproduction rights to the picture until 70 years after my death,” Ree told VG.

The artist’s work has appeared on 23 different Norwegian stamps to date.

READ ALSO: Norway passport gets global stamp of approval


All but six of Norway’s remaining post offices to close

25 of the 31 remaining post offices in Norway are to be shuttered for good.

All but six of Norway’s remaining post offices to close
Photo: Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

The country’s postal service Posten Norge announced the closures as part its ongoing process to replace post offices with counters in shops.

That means 25 post offices are to be closed by the end of 2022, NRK writes.

Five post offices in Oslo and one on Arctic archipelago Svalbard will remain, meaning there will be no post offices at all throughout most of the country.

“There is still a large enough volume in Oslo to justify that there are post offices there. There is a lot of post there connected to business customers, public administration and large institutions,” Posten Norge’s head of press communications Keneth Pettersen told NRK.

The closures will affect 170 employees and take place over the next two-and-a-half years.

A decline in the volume of physical post as well as the closure of DNB bank services at post offices were cited as primary reasons for the new round of post office closures.

“When the Post loses in September the ability to offer bank services from DNB and the decrease in letter volume grows, that will result in reduced activity and revenues for post offices. We have to adapt to that,” Pettersen said.

DNB announced last year that it intended to scrap post office banking and has instead reached agreements with Norgesgruppen supermarket chain to provide cash banking services in stores.

The closing post offices will themselves be replaced by counters in shops. An advantage of this for customers is more flexible opening hours in comparison with traditional post offices.

Posten Norge is also set to put in place around 1,000 ‘parcel boxes’ (pakkebokser) across the country, enabling parcels to be collected around the clock using an app.

“Society is becoming more digital and we must react to that. A solution such as this will make post services more accessible,” Pettersen told NRK.

READ ALSO: This Norwegian stamp is 'the most beautiful in the world'