07 January 2021
19 February 2021
19 February 2021
19 February 2021
08 March 2021
Andrea Árting (1 stamp)
26 April 2021
The Faroes on Historical Maps Series II (1 stamp; miniature sheet)
26 April 2021
Europa 2021: Endangered National Wildlife – The Atlantic Puffin (2 stamps; self-adhesive booklet; maximum cards)
26 April 2021
Cattle (3 stamps)
12 August 2021
C. Z. Slania Birth Centenary (1 stamp; miniature sheet)
27 September 2021
Salt – Sound Art & Live Theater (2 stamps; miniature sheet)
27 September 2021
Royal Visit in the Faroe Islands in 1921 (2 stamps)
27 September 2021
Christmas Stamps – Bishop’s Robes (2 stamps; self-adhesive booklet; maximum cards)
Posta is the postal service of the Faroe Islands and was founded on 1 April 1976 under the Home Rule of the Faroe Islands. On 16 December 2005, it became a public joint stock company under the name P/F Postverk Føroya (retroactive from 1 January 2005).
About 290 clerks work for Posta. There are 34 post offices, and 90 postal carriers supporting the country’s 17,000 households and 48,000 inhabitants.
The Faroese name Postverk Føroya uses the genitive form of the country’s name Føroyar (Faroes), thus Føroya without the final r. The name means literally “Postal works of the Faroes”, while the word for post or mail is postur. In 2010, Postverk Føroya changed its name to Posta.
Many synonyms are officially allowed for the Faroese post:
- Postverkið (“The Postwork”)
- Føroya Postverk (“Faroes’ Postwork”)
- Postur (“Post”)
- FøroyaPostur (“FaroePost”)
- PosturFøroya (“PostFaroe”)
- Posturin (“The Post”)
- PostFaroe or even FaroePost
Before regular boat service was established between the islands, a special transport system was required to enable people from the different islands to exchange messages. This system was called Skjúts. It involved a Skjútsskaffari, or agent, being appointed in every village with the duty of organizing a crew to transport people, letters or parcels from one village to another.
The Skjúts system was actually introduced in around the mid-1860s, with the first Skjúts Act coming into force in 1865. Skjúts charges were laid down by the Løgting, the Faroese Representative Council, for 5 years at a time. There were three types of Skjúts:
- and Private.
The charges for Skjúts varied, with official being the cheapest and Private the most expensive. There was no charge for Skjúts prior to 1865. All healthy males of between 15 and 50 years of age were liable for Skjúts, i.e. they could not refuse without incurring a fine. It was never an easy task to transport mail from one island to another across perilous waters where there were often powerful currents.
Peter S. Johannesen, who was one of the first post carriers, tells of a letter delivery from the days of Skjúts. The letter, which had to go from Tórshavn to Hvalba on Suðuroy, was marked K.T. (i.e., Kongelig Tjeneste – On His Majesty’s Service) and bore the endorsement Uopholdelig Befordring (For Immediate Delivery): i.e. it had to be dispatched as soon as the weather permitted.
The letter was first given to the Skjúts agent in Tórshavn, who immediately got hold of a man liable for Skjúts. The man walked from Tórshavn to Kirkjubøur, where he handed the letter over to the Skjúts agent in the village. The agent got a boat with eight men to carry the letter to Sandoy – to where the village of Skopun lies today. One of the men in the boat then had to walk to the village of Sandur with the letter and hand it over to the village’s Skjúts agent, after which he returned to the boat, which was still waiting for him. The Skjúts agent in Sandur then got a man to walk to Dalur with the letter, after which it was carried by boat from Dalur to Hvalba on Suðuroy. Here the letter was handed over to the priest. Owing to strong currents and bad weather the Skjúts crew were unable to row back to Dalur that evening. The weather worsened during the night and the men had to stay on the island for two weeks.
The Skjúts system existed right up until around World War I, but was not used as much by then, as the Post Office’s rates were relatively low and so represented a reasonable alternative.
The first Faroese post office was opened in Tórshavn on 1 March 1870. The local sýslumaður at the time on the southern part of Streymoy, H.C. Müller, was in charge of the management of the post office for the first several years. On 1 March 1884, the post office on Tvøroyri was opened. The third post office on the Faroes was opened in Klaksvík on 1 May 1888. Both on Tvøroyri and in Tórshavn, the management of the post was conducted by the local sýslumaður.
In the 19th century, there were only these three post offices. After the turn of the century, the pace picked up. In 1903, seven post offices were opened. During the following twenty-five years, post offices were opened in essentially all of the settlements on the Faroes. Most of them were opened in 1918, when fifteen new post offices were added. Starting in the late 1960s and continuing up to the present, a number of post offices have been closed. Postal service for the inhabitants of these settlements is now conducted by service agents. This change is part of the efficiency policy which the Faroese post office has been pursuing for the last few years.
Danish stamps were in use from 1870, usually without any overprint or surcharge, until the first Faroese stamps were issued in 1975.
After the First World War, the Faroese Post Office was forced to use so-called provisional stamps. On 8 December 1918, the Post Office in Tórshavn received a message from Copenhagen about the following increase of postal rates:
- inland letters on the Faroes up to 250 grain (15 g) from 5 øre to 7 øre
- postcards to Denmark up to 250 grain (15 g) from 4 øre to 7 øre
The increase in postal rates came into force on 1 January 1919.
Due to unreliable shipping connections, the supply of new 7-øre postage stamps failed to reach the Post Office in Tórshavn before 1 January 1919. When it became apparent that the increase in the postal rates would bring about a heavy demand for stamps amounting to 7 øre, and that the Faroese Post Offices´ stock of supplementary stamps, 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-øre, would not be sufficient to meet demand, special provisions had to be made. Thus the Post Office in Tórshavn received authorization to bisect the ordinary 4-øre stamps and use the individual halves as 2-øre stamps.
When the stock of 4-øre stamps began to run low, the Post Office was given authorization to overprint the required number of 5-øre stamps and use them as 2-øre stamps. For this purpose a hand stamp was made out of a wooden block bearing the letters “2 ØRE”. Part of a chair leg was used as handle, and therefore the stamp was called the “chair leg stamp”.
A similar situation arose in 1940–41. Following the German occupation of Denmark, the Faroes were under British administration from 12 April 1940 until the end of the Second World War in 1945. A shortage of Danish stamps was again resolved by the Post Office in Tórshavn overprinting the required number of stamps with a 20-øre surcharge.
In 1974–75, the Danish postal system began issuing Faroese postage stamps with the caption FØROYAR. The postal system used these stamps in the Faroes for franking mail and sold them to philatelists. The first Faroese postage stamps came on the market on 30 January 1975. From the first day they were available, the interest in Faroese postage stamps has been very extensive abroad. A number of times, postage stamps have been the second-largest source of export revenues for the Faroes.
Until 1 April 1976, the Faroese postal system was under the direction of Post Danmark (Post and Telegraph System). At that time the Faroese postal system was organised so that it had a post office (Tórshavn Post Office) managed by a postmaster. Then came the postal clerks with the so-called postal agents as managers. The postal clerks were located in the following settlements: Klaksvík, Tvøroyri, Vágur, Vestmanna and Saltangará. All the other post offices were divided into two groups. The larger ones were called “letter collection sites”, and the smaller were called “postal exchange sites”.
Together with Tórshavn, these five post offices are still the main post offices.
After the election for the Løgting in November 1974, the government decided that the postal service in the Faroes should be taken over by the Faroese Home Rule. In 1975, the Danish government and the Faroese government began negotiations on the take-over issue. The results of these negotiations led to the Faroese government taking over the postal service in the Faroes as of 1 April 1976. This new institution received the name Postverk Føroya (Post of the Faroes). A ram’s horn was chosen as the institution’s logo.
As a natural consequence of the take-over, two new departments were established within the Faroese postal system:
- The Postage Stamp Department
- The Post Office Giro
Work was being done on restructuring the Faroese postal system, with the intent being for Postverk Føroya, which was a public institution, to be reorganised into a type of joint-stock enterprise. The postal system however continued to be a public company.
Having used Danish stamps since 1870, the Faroes finally began their own issues on 30 January 1975 when the Danish postal system began issues with the caption FØROYAR. Since 1 April 1976, the Postage Stamp Department of Postverk Føroya has assumed full responsibility for all Faroese postage stamps including production and issue.
The Faroe or Faeroe Islands (Faroese: Føroyar; Danish: Færøerne) are a North Atlantic archipelago located 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway and Iceland. Like Greenland, it is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. The islands have a total area of about 1,400 square kilometres (540 square miles) with a population of 52,703 as of September 2020.
The terrain is rugged; the climate is subpolar oceanic climate — windy, wet, cloudy, and cool. Temperatures average above freezing throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream. As a result of the moderation and the northerly latitude, summers normally hover around 12°C (54°F). Average temperatures are 5°C (41°F) in winter. The northerly latitude location also results in perpetual civil twilight during summer nights and very short winter days.
Between 1035 and 1814, the Faroe Islands were part of the Kingdom of Norway, which was in a personal union with Denmark from 1450. In 1814, the Treaty of Kiel transferred Norway to the King of Sweden, on the winning side of the Napoleonic Wars, whereas Denmark retained the Faroe Islands, along with Greenland and Iceland.
While part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe Islands have been self-governing since 1948, controlling most areas apart from military defense, policing, justice, currency, and foreign affairs. Because the Faroe Islands are not part of the same customs area as Denmark, the country has an independent trade policy, and can establish trade agreements with other states. The Faroes have an extensive bilateral free trade agreement with Iceland, known as the Hoyvík Agreement. In the Nordic Council, they are represented as part of the Danish delegation. In certain sports, the Faroe Islands field their own national teams.
Despite only having one laureate, the Faroe Islands currently have the most Nobel laureates per capita worldwide.
The flag of the Faroe Islands is an offset cross, representing Christianity. It is similar in design to other Nordic flags – a tradition set by the Dannebrog of Denmark, of which the Faroe Islands are an autonomous territory. The flag is called Merkið, which means “the banner” or “the mark”. It resembles the flags of neighboring Norway and Iceland.
The design of the flag incorporates a red Nordic cross, which is offset to the left. The red cross is fimbriated azure and is set on a white field. The flag design closely resembles that of the Norwegian flag, with the fimbriated cross.
White symbolizes the creators of the flag, the foam of the sea and the pure, radiant sky of the Faroe Islands, while the old Faroese blue and red colors are reminiscent of other Scandinavian and Nordic flags; representing the Faroe Islands’ bonds with other Nordic countries.
The modern Faroese flag was devised in 1919 by Jens Oliver Lisberg and others while they were studying in Copenhagen. The first time Merkið was raised in the Faroe Islands was on 22 June that year in Fámjin on the occasion of a wedding. On 25 April, 1940, the British occupation government approved the flag for use by Faroese vessels, during the tenure of Carl Aage Hilbert as Danish prefect. Britain did not want the same flag as German-occupied Denmark to be used. April 25 is still celebrated as Flaggdagur and it is a national holiday. With the Home Rule Act of 23 March, 1948, the flag was recognized by the Danish Government as the national flag of the Faroes. The original flag is displayed in the church of Fámjin in Suðuroy.
The coat of arms of the Faroe Islands first appears on one of the medieval chairs in Kirkjubøur from around the 15th century. It depicts a silver ram (Faroese: Veðrur) passant with golden hooves and horns on an azure shield. Later uses show a ram in a seal used by the Løgrættumenn, members of the Old Faroese law Court, the Løgting.
When the Løgting was abolished in 1816, the coat of arms went out of use, not appearing even after the Løgting was reestablished in 1852 and the Faroe Islands were effectively outside direct Danish rule during the British occupation in World War II. In 1948, the coat of arms came into use again after the Home Rule Act came into force, not by the Løgting (Parliament) but by the Landsstýri (Government). The old title Løgmaður had been reestablished, but this time as the leader of the government, and the coat of arms followed him.
On 1 April 2004, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that from then on that it would use a new version of the coat of arms. This new interpretation was based on the original found depicted on the chairs from Kirkjubøur. The colors were inspired from the Faroese flag Merkið, and golden yellow was added. The new coat of arms depicts a ram on a blue shield ready to defend. It can be used by Cabinet Ministries and by official Faroese representatives, though some still use the old symbol.