Mobile post offices

To meet the people in the country and in small villages, the Dutch PTT came in 1939 with the idea to equip a mobile post office, and in this way supply their needs. This was not a new idea, as in 1934 the French were earlier. Soon other countries followed, amongst others Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland and Sweden.
The first mobile post office was a Chevrolet, that was first used during the TT in Assen in July 1939. Unfortunately his mobile office broke down, and burned in the 2nd World War in Kassel (Germany).

The mobile post office of 1939

After the war the PTT has equipped a new mobile post office, designed by DAF. On April 15th 1952 the construction had been completed, and again the vehicle was first used at the TT in Assen on June 28th 1952.

The mobile post office of 1952

The success was overwhelming. Not only the public made ample use of the PTT service, also the racing motorcyclists took advantage of the possibility of an easy phone call to their home country. Because of the too expensive exploitation, the vehicle had a weight of 13 tons, the car was used for the last time from November 11th to 13th for selling child welfare stamps in Amsterdam. On October 2nd 1970 the vehicle was sold to circus Boltini and converted to an orange coloured box office.

The ex-mobile post office in use as box office of circus Boltini

Anyway, there have only been 2 of these mobile post offices in the Netherlands. The one of 1939, which the Germans had taken possession of, and the second of 1950, that was used more as a promotion vehicle, before it was changed into a box office for the circus Boltini.
Because the PTT started in 1969 to close post offices and branch offices with a limited business, especially in the rural villages, the search for new possibilities was started. For this purpose a test with a mobile post office was again set up.
Before the privatisation the PTT was a state-owned company. At that moment there were about 2600 postal establishments. But the company started more and more to pay attention to costs. As a consequence, many postal branch offices were closed and replaced by travelling post offices. The first travelling post office was put into service in Deurne on December 1st 1978, but discontinued again in 1994.

The travelling post office

Over the course of time there have been 56 travelling post offices. They had stands in several villages. The last one was in Panninga. In the mean time, all travelling post offices have been discontinued.
All offices received a depreciation stamp with number 1, which was used with black ink. Some offices also had a stamp number 2, although this was very seldom. Below are some examples of stamps:

Stamp of the travelling post office Stamp of the mobile post office
Postcard of the first mobile post office

At the start the travelling post offices were put into service at congresses or events at places where there wasn't a post office. Later in small villages and hamlets, where they had a stand for 1 to 2 hours before travelling to the next village.

In the meantime most travelling post offices are closed down. Many villages and hamlets must do without any postal facility at acceptable distance.


J.A. Uitenboogaart


If you are interested in the subject of Dutch travelling post offices, I can recommend the book "Post historische studies nr. 18", issued by the Nederlandse Vereniging van Poststukken- en Poststempelverzamelaars (Dutch club of postal items and stamps).

With gratitude to mr. J.H. Uitenbogaart for the provision of this article (in Dutch). A few items from my own collection have been added to this article.


Eric Mulder
(translation Paul Essens)


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