On 3 October 1950 two stamps were issued in remembrance of the founding of this university in 1575. It was not the first time PTT Post issued stamps dedicated to a university and they would not be the last ones either.
In 1936 the University of Utrecht existed 300 years and two beautiful triangle shaped stamps were issued. In this article you will find some background information on the issue of 1950.
Johan van der Does
The 10 cent stamp pictures Johan van der Does. Van der Does (1545-1604) was a Dutch humanist. He was leader of the uprising during the siege of the city of Leiden in 1574. Later Van der Does became the first curator of the University of Leiden.
The first publications of classical writers were made under his supervision. He also wrote the important work "Bataviae Hollandiaeque Annales" (Dutch history) in 1601. In this work he cleared many prejudices about the middle ages.
Jan van Hout
On the 20 cent stamp the Dutch poet Jan van der Hout (1542-1609) was portrayed. In 1562 Van Hout became clerk of the university secretariat. During the years 1564-1569 and from 1573 till his death he was also secretary of the city of Leiden.
Van Hout was a strong defender of the humanist's ideals. He pleaded for the use of the Dutch language on the university. In his poetry he was the first to use the classical iamb.
Many of his writings got lost but some important works remained: "Der Stadt Leyden Dienst-Bouc" (History book of Leiden) (1602) with many hymns as "Opt ontset van Leyden" (On the siege of the city of Leiden) and "Leydens verlossinge van de Burggraven" (The liberation from the Viscounts).
Van Hout wrote many poems too as "Vruntschap gemaect in schijn bedect" (Friendship which stealthily shows) in 1575 and "Onrymich vreuchdenliedt der Stadt Leyden" (Unconditionally hymn for the city of Leyden) which he wrote on occasion of the visit of Prince Maurits to Leiden in 1594.
In 1596 he wrote the play "Loterij-spel" (Lottery-play) for the dramatic's club "De Witte Acoleyen".
The stamp issue
On proposal of Prince William of Orange the government decided to establish a university in the city of Leiden on 3 January 1575. Only five days later the university opened its doors officially.
The secretary of the lustrum-committee 1950 P.G. Meyer Viol asked the Senate of the university to request the responsible Minister for the issue of a series of Summer stamps dedicated to the universtity. Meyer Viol asked for a Summer stamp because these stamps are issued with a surcharge. From this additional charge the university should benefit.
However the plans for the Summer issue were ready when this question reached PTT. Furthermore there were problems regarding the proceeds of the surcharge. In the spring of 1950 Neher, General-manager of PTT, decided that two stamps were to be issued on 3 October 1950, but without surcharge. The planned issue of a stamp dedicated to airmail was therefore postponed.
Only six months of preparation time was left and therefore the work on this issue was started immediately. On 5 April 1950 the university was informed about the date of issue.
H. de Waal, professor in the arts at the University of Leiden, was asked for advice. He proposed to use portraits of the two administrators from the early period of the university: Jan van Hout and Jan van der Does (in Latin: Janus Dousa).
A painting at the University from 1612 was used for the stamp dedicated to Jan van der Does. An engraving made by W. Swanenburg in 1698 guided the stamp engraver.
W.F. Gouwe, aesthetical advisor of PTT, choose R.J. Draijer and in May Draijer started his work on the stamps.
At the end of June Draijer was ready with his first designs. These drawings were done at a scale of ten times stamp size. Many changes in these designs had to be made, especially in the inscriptions and details of the faces. In August the test plates were ready, but Draijer was not satisfied and carried out some changes. Finally at the end of August the printing plates were ready.
Many forgeries were made in later years of the First Day Covers issued by the N.V.P.H. in 1950. The envelopes and postmarks used for these remakes are false, but the stamps are genuine. The paper used for these forgeries can be identified by its much whiter colour.
Information on the stamps
Date of issue: 3 October 1950.
Last day of validity: 31 December 1951.
Size: 24 x 31 mm.
Sheet: 10 x 20 stamps.
Perforation: Comb 11,75 : 13.
Plate numbers: 1, 2, 3 (10c) and 1 (20c).
Quantity issued: 19.037.172 (10c), 1.948.603 (20c).
More information Postage Stamps
Stamps of The Netherlands
Postage Stamps 1999