Instructional postmarks


Although registered letters were sent much earlier, it was not until the incorporation of our country into the French Empire, with the introduction of the Instruction Générale on 1 April 1 1811, that registration was formally arranged. For this the double postage had to be paid. From 1846 the registration fee was fixed at 10 cents. The registration fee had to be paid by the sender and was noted on reverse of the letter. By sending a letter registered, the sender received a fixed compensation, irrespective of the value of the content, if the letter was lost. From the 19th century, an instructional handstamp was used for registered mail.

Form (Petite feuille d'avis) with handstamps 120 / ZWOLLE and CHARGÉ (registered), 26 April 1812 for the settlement of postage with Post Office Heerenveen (only the upper part of the form is shown).


Registered letter from Zwolle to His Majesty King Willem I of the Netherlands in The Hague, 27 january 1837. Circular datestamp ZWOLLE / 27/1 / *, Ø 23 mm and script handstamp AANGETEEKEND, both in red. Letters from and to the King could be sent postage free.


Framed handstamp AANGEETEKEND on a registered letter from Zwolle to Groningen, 10 June 1862 with circular datestamp ZWOLLE / 10/6 / 12-5 / 62, Ø 25 mm in red. Letter rate to be paid by the addressee: 10 cents, indicated on front. Registration fee from 1846: 10 cents, paid by the sender, indicated on reverse.


Receipt forsending a registered letter from Zwolle tot The Hague, 1876 with office handstamp ZWOLLE .



The NA POSTTIJD (too late) handstamp was applied on letters that were presented at the Post Office after departure of the last freight of mail and could only be sent the next day. These were provided with a datestamp the same day. By means of the NA POSTTIJD handstamp the addressee could see why the letter was delivered a day later than usual.


Letter from Zwolle to Steinhorst, Lauenburg with handstamp ZWOLLE. On reverse the handstamp NA POSTTYD: the letter was offered too late to go with the next shipment. Prepaid postage to Border Post Office Almelo:: 3 stuivers, quoted on reverse. Postage from Lingen, 30 to 40 German miles: 6 Sgr + Land Porto 1 Sgr = 7 Silbergroschen = 15½ Riksbankskilling, indicated on obverse. Route: Zwolle - Almelo - Lingen - Bremen - Hamburg - Lauenburg.


Letter from the castle 't Nijenhuis (between Zwolle and Heino) to Utrecht, 27 April 1829. Circular datestamp ZWOLLE / 27 / APR / *, Ø 28 mm and NA POSTTYD in red. Postage paid by the addressee: 20 cents. Content: a wedding announcement of the well-born woman Van Ittersum and W.F. Bentinck, with wax seals with both family armories.

Wrapper for sending postage-free pieces from Zwolle to Nienburg, Hanover, Germany with circular datestamp ZWOLLE / 13/9 / *, Ø 23 mm. In red also script handstamp NA POSTTIJD, to indicate that the cover was posted too late to go with the last shipment. The Armenwezen of Zwolle enjoyed freedom of postage, for which bottom left "Van Burgemeester and Wethouders der Stad Zwolle, Holland" was indicated. Freedom of postage across the border is rare. Postage-free documents of civil servants could be sent in a wrapper so that it could be checked whether the content was indeed exclusively about official matters.



Letters that were sent to the wrong office of destination, had a too high taxation, paid in advance but incorrectly addressed or addressed to a person unknown to the postal service were provided with a déboursé handstamp. For examples from the French period see Postmarks. After the French left our country at the end of 1813, the déboursé handstamps remained in use for many years. In 1846 it was replaced by a handstamp AFGESCHREVEN.


Letter from Deventer to the De Havixhorst mansion near Staphorst, 12 September 1822. Postage for a distance between 6 and 12 hours, up to 16 wigtjes: 3 stuivers. The letter was sent to Post Office Zwolle but the mail for Staphorst had until 1830 to go via Post Office Meppel. Thus Zwolle applied the DEB.120 / ZWOLLE déboursé handstamp on reverse. The post road from Zwolle to Meppel ran via Hasselt and Zwartsluis. In mid-1830 the newly constructed street road via Rouveen and Staphorst came into use. Staphorst became a Distribution Office that same year.


Letter from Utrecht to Oldemarkt, 24 March 1825. On front the handstamp UTRECHT. Postage for a distance between 20 and 35 hours: 5 stuivers. Taxation was 4 stuivers. After correction, Post Office Zwolle applied the déboursé handstamp DÉB.120 / ZWOLLE on reverse.


Between 1830 and 1835 the déboursé handstamp is applied in red.

Letter from The Hague to Ommen, 15 September 1835. Refused for postage: on front is indicated: "not wanted" and "return to The Hague." The postage of 100 cents was crossed out and Post Office Zwolle applied the déboursé handstamp DÉB.120 / ZWOLLE in red in connection with this debit.


Last update 27.09.2023 8:53 PM->

Copyright © 2019 - G.L. van Welie FRPSL
Secretary of the Nederlandse Academie voor Filatelie
Representative of the Royal Philatelic Society London for the Netherlands

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