2021 stamp year brings space travel, anniversaries and festival

Åland postage stamp program 2021

Åland Post has the pleasure of presenting the 2021 stamp program that includes 14 stamp issues from the hands of both new and established stamp artists. The stamps will be released on six occasions from February to October.“The 2021 stamp year is a year of celebration with historical flashbacks. We celebrate the centenary of Åland’s Autonomy and commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Great Northern War. Of course, we also embrace the great festival of the year, The Tall Ships Races, and several issues feature popular animal motifs such as cats, birds and frogs. We also issue a space-themed stamp, giving you a chance to acquaint yourself with a rather unknown Åland descendant”, business area manager of Stamps and Postal services, Eivor Granberg, reveals.

2 February 2021

The stamp year starts with the issue of a new series of self-adhesive franking labels evoking feelings of spring. Swedish designer Anna Handell makes her debut as stamp artist for Åland Post with four illustrations of commonly seen songbirds; common chaffinch, willow warbler, European robin and Eurasian blackcap.

2 February also sees the start of a new 3-year stamp series featuring Veteran tractors. Shot by Åland photographer David Lundberg, the first two gems date back to the early 1900s. The American Cletrac crawler tractor is believed to be the first tractor in Åland, preserved today at the Åland Forestry and Agricultural Museum in Ringsböle, Jomala. Brothers Karl and Johan Söderlund of Ödkarby, Saltvik, are said to have acquired it in 1919. Portrayed on the second stamp is a Fordson iron wheel tractor, model F from 1924. This tractor has been on the same farm in Näfsby, Hammarland, since it was purchased in the 1920s. Today, the old classic is maintained by Ralf Fagerholm, third generation farmer on the family farm.

25 March 2021

A nautical chart from 1747 adorns the Åland contribution to the 2021 Sepac stamp series on the joint theme historical maps. Sepac is a cooperation consisting of twelve small European postal administrations that issue stamps on a joint theme every year. The nautical chart shows Rödhamn, a group of islets located off Mariehamn. Rödhamn has served as a safe haven for centuries and is now a popular guest harbour.

The other stamp appearing on this day of issue takes you into space. The Suomi NPP weather satellite is named after Åland descendant Verner E. Suomi (1915–1995). Widely recognized as “the father of satellite meteorology”, he contributed to laying the foundations for today’s weather satellites, essential for providing weather forecasts. His mother Anna Matilda Sundqvist from Pettböle, Finström, and father Johan E. Suominen from Kustavi, Finland, emigrated from Åland to the USA in 1902. Peter Bergström has illustrated the stamp.

7 May 2021

We commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Great Northern War, during which a majority of the Åland population fled to Sweden. Following the peace treaty in 1721, the islanders returned to find Åland ravaged by fire. In his stamp illustration, concept designer and illustrator Carl-Johan Listherby depicts the different stages from the flight by boat until the return.

This day in May also sees the issue of Åland Post’s Europa stamp on the theme endangered wildlife. The Åland stamp shows the moor frog, one of two frog species in Åland. The naturalistic motif was created in watercolour by popular animal and nature artist Bo Lundwall.

The four postal stationery cards featuring spring verdure by illustrator Anna Handell appear on the same day. For the motifs, she drew inspiration from vegetative vigour as well as the Åland Spring Fair that highlights locally produced delicacies of the spring season.

9 June 2021

9 June marks the start of the celebration of the centenary of Åland autonomy that will culminate on the 100th anniversary day in 2022. Åland stamps are a significant symbol of the autonomy, and Åland Post dedicates two stamp issues to the autonomy in 2021 and 2022 respectively. One of Åland’s most appreciated artists, Jonas Wilén, has created the stamp that starts the anniversary year Åland 100 years, illustrating the road to autonomy. On the same day, the 2021 stamp booklet featuring Premiers of Åland appears. In classic portrait style, photographer Therese Andersson has photographed the four most recent Åland Premiers, from Viveka Eriksson and her successors Camilla Gunell and Katrin Sjögren to present head of government Veronica Thörnroos.

23 July 2021

On 23 July, Åland Post participates in the great international sailing ship event The Tall Ships Races, hosted by Mariehamn between 22 and 25 July. Appearing on the day of issue are a stamp as well as a miniature sheet, both of which are signed Juha Pykäläinen, a well-known stamp artist. His oil paintings focus on the participants in the race, people of all ages from far and wide, and on the waterfront with the magnificent sailing ships.

20 October 2021

The last stamps to be issued in 2021 appear on 20 October. Two playful Christmas stamps created by illustrator Rebecca Elfast, the second debutante artist of the year, spread Christmas joy and caroling. She has also illustrated the 2021 self-adhesive Christmas seals that are used for decoration. The Year of the Tiger is the upcoming theme in the series featuring the Zodiac animals of Chinese astrology. Designed by stamp artist Martin Mörck, the Tiger cat miniature sheet depicts striped domestic cats on a traditional Åland porch. The porch with paned windows of the Västergård homestead in southern Mariehamn acted as model for the illustration.

Here are all the stamps of 2021