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).
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
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.
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.
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
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:
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
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
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.
(translation Paul Essens)
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