Lotta Svärd – 100 years of social responsibility
The voluntary Finnish women's national defense organization Lotta Svärd was established 100 years ago. Two stamps will be issued in honor of the centenary. Lotta Svärd is best known from the war years of 1939–1945,
when the volunteer women, or "Lottas", as they were known, participated in the national defense in a variety of support roles. At its peak, the organization had about 240,000 Lotta and Junior Lotta members, the youngest of whom were 8 years old. Lotta Svärd also played an important part in post-war reconstruction.
Today, the Lotta Svärd Foundation focuses on rehabilitating and assisting aging Lotta volunteers. In the 2000s, the Foundation has spent over 50 million euros on the aid and rehabilitation of the members. In the future, the Foundation will support the training of women for crisis situations, provide care and assistance to women and children in crisis, and cherish the historical heritage of the organization.
The Lotta Svärd Foundation celebrates the anniversary by organizing events in Finland (Covid restrictions allowing), expanding its online exhibition, presenting previously unpublished visual material and opening new exhibitions at the Lotta Museum.
Over the years, the Lotta Svärd Foundation has awarded recognitions to Finnish women who have participated in Lotta activities or helped others in the Lotta spirit. Aira Samulin was named the Lotta of the Year 2021 by the organization.
The Lotta Svärd 100 Years stamp sheet, designed by Klaus Welp, contains 10 stamps and two different domestic no-value indicator stamp designs. The stamps' images related to medical care and food supply were selected from the Lotta Museum's extensive collection of 25,000 photographs.
"The humanitarian work of the Lotta Svärd organization and the medical care provided by its members during the war years deserves to be immortalized in stamps. The important role of women in conflicts and crises is often overlooked," says Welp.
Endangered animal species need protection – also in Finland
In cooperation with WWF, Posti has published the Endangered Animals stamp series, the third and final part of which will go on sale in April. The new stamps will feature the kingfisher bird, the Apollo butterfly and the Siberian flying squirrel.
The kingfisher is distinguished from other birds found in Finland by its sparkling multi-colored plumage. The kingfisher likes to stay near flowing water. It does not necessarily migrate, but tries to survive the Finnish winter in places where the water will not freeze. In Finland, the species is threatened by harsh winters and human activities near its breeding and feeding grounds. The habitats of the kingfisher can be protected by restoring and protecting streams and rivers.
The Apollo is one of the largest butterflies in Finland. It can be observed from the beginning of July to mid-August. The species, which lives in sunny dry fields, is threatened by the loss of suitable habitats. We can help the Apollo survive in the future by maintaining sunny open fields.
The Siberian flying squirrel is a large-eyed, gray, nocturnal animal that can glide from tree to tree across distances of dozens of meters using its glide membrane between the front and rear legs. The flying squirrel is threatened by forestry, in particular clearcutting. We can help the survival of the flying squirrel with responsible forest management and protection of forested areas.
The previous stamps of the Endangered Animals series have seen the arctic fox, salmon and snowy owl in 2018, and the Saimaa ringed seal, the pygmy damselfly and the lesser white-fronted goose in 2016.
The stamp series was designed by art director Petteri Mattila, who considered the theme particularly important. "I obtained reference images of the animals and their habitats and studied the species at the Natural History Museum. My goal was to create clear and aesthetically pleasing stamps."
"It's great that our joint efforts with Posti have helped make several wonderful species familiar to people with this series," says Joonas Fritze, Director of Communications at WWF.
The Europa: Endangered Animals III stamp sheet has 15 domestic no-value indicator stamps. The stamps are published in the EUROPA series of European postal administrations.
The postcard conveys messages and feelings
Postcards have conveyed the messages and feelings of Finns for 150 years. Susanna Rumpu and Ari Lakaniemi have summarized the history of the postcard in a stamp booklet that represents six postcards from different eras.
The first postcards had no pictures, but with the development of photography and printing technology, an avalanche of picture postcards appeared on the market. As recently as the 1960s and 1970s, the postcard was an "instant message" which people used to agree on a date of visit, place of meeting etc. It was easier and quicker to send a postcard rather than a letter.
Today, the popularity of the postcard has decreased, but high numbers are still sent during peak seasons. "For example, the number of Valentine's Day cards increased by 8 percent from the previous year. Traditional cards are good conveyors of feelings alongside social media. People also make cards themselves and keep cards as mementos,” says Tuija Åkerman from Posti Consumer Services.
The stamps in the stamp booklet show Finland's first postcard, sent by the author Zachris Topelius to his cousin in Vaasa in 1871, extolling the virtues of this new form of communication.
Postcards have also been used to take a stand. The stamp booklet includes a postcard reflecting strong national feelings, depicting the Finnish flag and a farmer.
The subject of the third stamp is a field postcard depicting a soldier writing home. During the Winter and Continuation Wars, field post was an important means of communication between the "home front" and the soldiers fighting on the front lines.
The fourth stamp depicts a fairytale-themed postcard drawn by the beloved and prolific illustrator Rudolf Koivu, in which an elf hands flowers to a princess.
Landscapes and tourism have always been popular themes in postcards. From this genre, the stamp booklet presents a nostalgic Porvoo-themed card.
A more modern theme in the stamp series is represented by a postcard created from the sender's own photograph, which can be sent directly from the computer or smartphone. The recipient will receive a real postcard in their mailbox.
The Postcard 150 Years stamp booklet contains six different domestic no-value indicator stamp designs.
A stamp for celebration time
In April, Posti will also issue the Day of Celebration stamp that is suitable for many kinds of congratulations. The stamp can be used as a substitute to raising a glass of champagne in celebration of graduation, for example, if Covid restrictions prevent a personal visit.
The stamp will also celebrate Klaus Welp's long career as a stamp designer, as it is the 100th stamp designed by Welp. The stamps designed by Welp, who is known as a versatile graphic designer and photographer, have featured a wide variety of subjects.
"My own favorites include the Tove Jansson centenary stamps which I felt very strongly about during the creative process. Various environmental themes have also been close to my heart," Welp explains.
Klaus Welp has also designed the Wilderness Bridge stamp, which was voted the most beautiful stamp in Finland and took second place in the European-wide EUROPA stamps competition in 2018.
According to Welp, a stamp is a tiny work of art that also carries a message. "Finnish stamps have played a part in creating a positive, tolerant and international image of our country. Fortunately, today's stamps don't have to be as serious as sometimes in the past."
Source: Posti Group