Local Heart, Global Soul

March 9, 2010

Offering my deepest condolences…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When someone passes away in the Netherlands it is customary to post out a special card to the deceased’s friends and relatives by their family, announcing the persons passing, plus the time, date and location of  viewing ceremonies and any other essential information needed for attending the funeral.

What might be less obvious to an outsider is that there is a special stamp that is only used for the sending of this post, and that the envelope is also specifically and uniquely marked.

This is an indication to the post office that this post needs to get priority so that people can have enough time to make arrangements to attend a funeral.

Whilst a few newspapers carry Obituaries, and most carry In Memoriam notices, it is not usual here for people to find out about a death via a newspaper, instead, this envelope in the post is the usual method.

So.. this is a photo of the stamp used to designate an announcement of someones passing. Note that on this envelope there is a very thin line around the inside, this is also only found on obituary envelope announcements, and the colour will vary, grey, black, dark blue being the most common, and the thickness of the line can range from being very thin as on this envelope, to a substantial  5mm solid border all the way around the envelope.

Yes, I have just received  this in the post, the  extended family member was past 90 years of age and in such a state of physical and mental health that death was more of a release than a snatching away of life.

Himself and I will be paying our respects this week and offering our support and deepest condolences…

5 Comments »

  1. What unique custom! I suppose, receiving one of these in the mail does not make for a very good day – especially if you have no idea what the contents will read. I am sorry you received one recently. My condolences. 😦

    Comment by milkayphoto — March 9, 2010 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  2. Sometimes for somebody as elderly as this,in this state of mind and body, they have earned their rest.
    This world is no longer the pleasure that it was when then they were fit and young so their natural time is fittingly at at an end.
    For immediate family it’s the fine line of knowing that hanging on just for the sake of hanging on is not “Life” as the person would have wished it, but the the final letting go is nevertheless a painful heartfelt wrench.
    My Husband and I want to offer support for the immediate family in this final letting go, to share memories and reminisce about the good times.
    Amazingly although this family member was 90 years of age, there will be at least 4 siblings attending (both older and younger), with another two in New Zealand following the proceedings from afar. This Dutch line is made from strong stock that lives long(and mostly in good health)So I have much to celebrate and look forward to.
    As my husband put it so simply and so so effectively: “It was Time”.
    I can only agree and wish for the closest family the very Dutch phrase that is oft used in these circumstances “Sterkte” … it means “Strength”.

    Comment by Kiwidutch — March 9, 2010 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  3. Isn’t that a wonderful idea? So clever. I wonder if your post office has ever missed those special stamps, delaying delivery?

    Comment by sharon — March 14, 2010 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

    • No, I think that the Post Office doesn’t miss them, staff would be especially trained from Day One to watch for them. And as far as I know the printers who make the card inside, arrange for address labels to be made for these envelopes, so no handwriting messes either.

      Comment by kiwidutch — March 15, 2010 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

  4. […] explained in another post, way back  in March 2010  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/i-offer-my-deepest-condolences/ that the Dutch have special stamps that are affixed to envelopes when a card notifying a death is […]

    Pingback by Not Just the Arrival of the Post… « Local Heart, Global Soul — May 17, 2011 @ 1:10 am | Reply


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