The recent problems at the Oroville Dam in Northern California, which caused more than 180,000 people to be evacuated from their homes, have highlighted the danger of living in the downstream vicinity of a major river dam. Though damming projects can be extremely controversial, architecturally they are often attractive. As a topic there are many dam stamps, some of which are included below.

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How many of us, at least once in our lives, have been advised to take one or more types of vitamin to help improve our health? And how many millions of people worldwide believe in the efficacy of taking vitamin supplements? I for one knew very little about the origins of the incredible array of these items to be found on the shelves of stores everywhere.

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In the late 1970s a fascinating series of articles written by Mr. K. Kouwenberg about the history of Stamp Collecting, appeared in the Dutch magazine Philatelie. This series has been the source of inspiration for PostBeeld owner Rob Smit to rewrite the history of stamp collecting in instalments. The last instalment and this refer to the growth of stamp collecting in The Netherlands.

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We’ve previously published stories regarding unusual stamps and the strange subjects and materials used in the printing process, and this article shows how inventive stamp designers can be.

The Faroe Islands is a self-governing archipelago, part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It comprises 18 rocky, volcanic islands between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean, connected by road tunnels, ferries, causeways and bridges. Hikers and bird-watchers are drawn to the islands’ marvellous flora and fauna.

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1Oscar de la Renta (seen above), who died in October 2014 aged 82, was one of the world’s leading fashion designers for more than 50 years. And his work has been commemorated by the United States Postal Service with a stamp series, to be released next month. Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, de la Renta was apprenticed with Spanish Basque fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga, before moving to Paris to work at the fashion house Lanvin.

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kopjeRoyal Mail issued this set of stamps that give a timeline across thousands of years of history, from a glimpse of Stone Age ritual of 11,000 years ago, to the Iron Age of some 300 BC. The stamps show famous iconic sites as well as some of the most exceptional artefacts, and overlays illustrations to show how people lived and worked at these sites and used the objects.

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CancellationsThe steady decline of mail sent in the Netherlands has lead PostNL to a new “innovation”: the withdrawal of rubber stamps at postal service desks as of 1 January 2017. This does not affect regular mail, but only registered mail and parcels, which are almost always paid for at the desks or through a franking machine.

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1In this series, we have already seen that the stamp collecting virus had spread quickly in 1862 in Europe. But had the virus reached the Netherlands? The answer is yes, but not until the end of that year. The first philatelic article appeared in the Netherlands in October 1862 in ‘Het Nederlandsch Jaarboekje der Posterijen’ (the Netherlands Postal Yearbook). The Schiedam postmaster S. Gille Heringa had translated articles from the Magasin Pittoresque (see episode 7) written by Natalis Rondot, and entitled them: ‘Postage Stamps by Natalis Rondot, freely translated’. The series continued in the yearbooks from 1863 and 1864.

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kopjeThe unique Snaefell Mountain Railway, built during 1895, is located on the eastern coast of the Isle of Man, running from the village of Laxey to the summit of Snaefell, the only mountain on the Island. The line still operates with the majority of its original Victorian rolling stock in daily seasonal use.

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Stamp from JapanThe Aso National Park, on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, was designated a national park in December, 1934. After extension in the year 1986, it was renamed Aso-Kuju National Park. The stamps above were issued in 1939, featuring park landscapes.

The Aso-san is the largest active volcano group in Japan and is among the largest in the world. It is situated within the Aso-Kuju National Park. Mount Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan and is among the largest in the world.

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