Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Swedish treats: Forstadagsbrev Part 1

Last week I bought a desk. A beautiful wooden desk with seven drawers to hide all my stuff in. As a result, I spent the weekend finally unpacking the last box from my move to North Fitzroy... which happened four months ago!

Anyhow, as I was unpacking said box, I found these wonderful first day covers that my parents brought back from their trip to Sweden earlier this year. As they gave them to me just as I was moving, I put them in this box and promptly forgot all about their very existence. So, boy was I delighted when I found them the other day. This first one is my favourite, for three very good reasons:

             1) Map Postmark
             2) Viking ship stamps
             3) Map and flag illustration on envelope.

There is not much more you can ask for, in a first day cover, really. And this particular cover taught me the Swedish for first day cover:

I like the ring of it.

Now, I have always been partial to Vikings, but I am especially more so since watching the entire series 1 - 5 of True Blood over the course of the past two months... Those of you who have seen it will hear what I am saying, but basically, Eric Northman makes me want to move to Sweden. Anyhow, all desire for undead Viking Vampires aside, you have to admit the woodcut design viking ships featured on the stamp are pretty special.

And speaking of ships, this next cover features the Vasa, sunk in 1628 and now housed in a museum in Stockholm.
File:The Vasa from the Bow.jpg
The ship in the museum
The Vasa is a war ship from the time in the 17th century when the Swedes were a force to be reckoned with, and had acquired power over much of the Baltic area. In 1961 the shipwreck was salvaged, and the stamps feature some of the different sculptures that would have adorned the ship.

I visited the museum in Stockholm that houses the Vasa in 2006, and I have to say that it was one of the highlights of my stay in the city. Not only is the Vasa fascinating because it represents a time in history when Sweden was an imperial power and because the ship is almost a microcosm of society, but the thought of the archaeology of an underwater salvage is enough to float my boat (sorry! I couldn't help it!).  The pamphlet that comes with the FDC (issued in 1969) states "the restoration of the ship continues - a puzzle with more than 10,000 pieces." And that right there, my friends, is why I love archaeology!

Since I have actually been to see the ship featured on the stamp, I am doubly pleased that Mum and Dad picked this one out as a souvenir to bring back for me. It is pretty great, you have to agree.

There is one last FDC that I am going to share with you now from my little Swedish collection, just because I think it is beautiful:

The stamps on this last cover illustrate scenes from the Arctic Circle, in northern Sweden, where on the summer solstice the sun is above the horizon for 24 hours.

The one showing the Northern Lights is my favourite of the group... and it has taught me yet more Swedish: 
The Northern Lights - totally up there on my list of things/places that I simply must see before I die.

Thanks for tuning into I heart post for another week... and watch this space for still more Swedish delights in Part II of this post, which I will be uploading on Sunday. Until then, keep it real, nerds and hipsters. Over and Out. H.


  1. I love these stamps and I too want to see the Northern Lights one day. A friend of mine made a special trip to Iceland to see them, but missed out unfortunately. I hope you're luckier than him.

    1. Hi Sandra! Glad you love the stamps too! Wouldn't it be quite disastrous to make that trek to see the Northern Lights and then be disappointed - I guess you would just have to make another trip and try again!

  2. Yay vikings!! Is it wrong I initially read 'Norskin foreskins?' Sorry, totally detracting from your classy blog, I just had to put it out there. My favourite ones are the first stamps with the stylised boats in teal and charcoal, gorgeous. I'd wear a dress or a skirt with that print on it.
    Love Joh x

    1. Hey Joh! You are a classy chick, not even putting the concept of "Norskin foreskins" out there will change my mind about that! And I always love your comments on my blog, classy or otherwise!!
      PS - I totally agree that ship print would make an excellent fabric design! xx

  3. Come to Canada and spend some time in the country away from city lights and the Northern Lights will dance & sing for you! Of course the further north you go the better the light show but here in Calgary and Edmonton we get spectacular vistas. This past year has been exceptionally good for them.

  4. I be just come across a full book of unused stamps like the above dated 3rd September 1969


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