Bridge Stamps from the Dutch Antilles

The Nederlandse Antillen, previously known as the Netherlands West Indies or Dutch Antilles/West Indies, is part of the Lesser Antilles and consists of two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea: Curaçao and Bonaire, just off the Venezuelan coast, and Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten, located southeast of the Virgin Islands. The islands form an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Both the leeward (Alonso de Ojeda, 1499) and windward (Christopher Columbus, 1493) island groups were discovered and initially settled by Spain. In the 17th century, the islands were conquered by the Dutch West India Company and were used as bases for the slave trade. Slavery was not abolished until 1863.

In 1954, the status of the islands was up-graded from a colonial territory to a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a separate country within the kingdom. The island of Aruba was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986, when it was granted status aparte, becoming yet another part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a separate country within the kingdom.

Between June 2000 and April 2005, each island of the Netherlands Antilles had a referendum on its future status.

Both the leeward (Alonso de Ojeda, 1499) and windward (Christopher Columbus, 1493) island groups were discovered and initially settled by Spain. In the 17th century, the islands were conquered by the Dutch West India Company and were used as bases for the slave trade. Slavery was not abolished until 1863.

In 1954, the status of the islands was up-graded from a colonial territory to a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a separate country within the kingdom. The island of Aruba was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986, when it was granted status aparte, becoming yet another part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a separate country within the kingdom.

Between June 2000 and April 2005, each island of the Netherlands Antilles had a referendum on its future status.

Early mail service in the islands consisted of carriage by casual ship, and a number of letters are recorded from this period. A British post office operated during the occupation of 1807 to 1815. In 1825, the Dutch government established a post office at Willemstad; from then until 1834 a packet operated between there and Hellevoetsluis. From 1842 to 1854, mail was carried by British packets, and after 1854 by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, until 1885.

The first postage stamps were issued 23 May 1873; they depicted William III in profile, and were inscribed "CURAÇAO", as were all issues for the next 77 years. The six original values (2½c to 50c) were joined by a 2.50-gulden value in 1879, a 12½c in 1886, and four more values in 1889. All of these were issued without gum (due to the heat and humidity) until 1890.

The first postage stamps were issued 23 May 1873; they depicted William III in profile, and were inscribed "CURAÇAO", as were all issues for the next 77 years. The six original values (2½c to 50c) were joined by a 2.50-gulden value in 1879, a 12½c in 1886, and four more values in 1889. All of these were issued without gum (due to the heat and humidity) until 1890.

Among other topics, and perhaps most noteably the royal members of the royal household, employed as the cover for these much favored and collectible stamps was the game of bridge. The citizens of The Netherlands were and continue to be the most enthusiastic of players and the percentage of all citizens of the country play one form of bridge or another. It is therefore only laudable that the country celebrate by manufacturing commemorative stamps, a few of which are shown below.

 

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Stamps and Bridge