Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Switzerland

The Swiss Confederation started in 1291 with three small cantons and became an independent country in 1648. It is a landlocked country situated in western-Central Europe. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation; it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association and it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market.

The first stamps were issued in the cantons of Zurich (1843), Geneva (1843) and Basel (1845). Of these stamps the Basel Dove was the first stamp in the world to be printed in three colours. After ratification of the constitution the first nation-wide stamps were issued in 1850. Instead of choosing one or more of the country's official languages for the country name on the stamps (French, German, Italian, Romanche), the stamps have the name 'Helvetia', the Latin translation of Switzerland.

During the Briefmarken-Messe in Essen in May 2017 I left stamped envelopes at almost every foreign postal administration hoping they would send them back when they arrived home. The stamp I chose for Switzerland is the 2016 definitive stamp in the international tariff showing the train station of Bellinzola. The postmark is from the philatelic service in Lausanne.

The philatelic website of the Swiss Post (in English): postshop.ch/Stamps.

Date sent: 12 May 2017
Date postmark: 16 May 2017
Date received: 18 May 2017
Number of days: 6
Envelope in collection: 77




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