I always look forward to Faroe Islands stamps having avidly collected this Danish territory’s output and postal history since the mid- to late 1980s. Twenty twenty-two looks to be another interesting year leading off with a set of transport franking labels and participation in marking Queen Margrethe II’s 50th anniversary of Danish rule.
JANUARY 2022 Stamp Programme
4 ATM franking labels
Date of issue: 03.01.2022
Size: 55,0mm x 22,5mm
Artist: Janus Guttesen
Printing method: Flexo printing
Printer: Limo Labels, Denmark.
From the press release:
Franking labels 2022: Public transport
The era of the ferries
After the abolition of the royal monopoly in 1856 – and the transition from a medieval peasant society to a modern fishing nation had begun, the need for better transport options arose in the Faroe Islands. There was call for a combined cargo and passenger ship was that could sail the coasts of the Faroe Islands.
After ten years of tug-of-war with the Parliament to provide a public coastal freight and passenger service, the management of the Faroe Islands’ largest company, A / S J. Mortensens Eftf. lost patience. They simply had a steamship built in Sweden and had it delivered to the Faroes in December 1895. The ship was named Smiril – and in January 1896 it started sailing regular routes between Tvøroyri, serving the communities in Suðuroy, and Tórshavn, serving the larger communities in the rest of the country.
When A / S J. Mortensens Eftf. had shown that investing in coastal sailing in the Faroe Islands was profitable, other private players immediately joined the fray – and soon small cargo and passenger ships were sailing between the islands.
The country’s coastal ships
In 1917, the Faroese County Municipality took over the operation of Smiril and founded the public coastal shipping company ‘Strandfaraskip Landsins’, popularly called Strandferðslan. For many years, Strandferðslan’s official actvitities only covered the operation of Smiril – but gradually this public shipping company took over the unprofitable routes, while private players continued operating the profitable ones.
In the sixties and seventies, Strandferðslan took over all the ferry routes in the Faroe Islands. The aging fleet was constantly being replaced and renewed – and the youngest sprout on the trunk was the small catamaran ferry ‘Erla Kongsdóttir’, which is the motif on one of the franking labels. Erla Kongsdóttir served as a replacement ship being deployed when one of the active small ships needed to be inspected and repaired.
The era of the tunnels
The first automobile came to the Faroe Islands in the early twenties – and could not drive very far off Tórshavn’s small streets. There were simply no significant country roads. Soon others followed, especially buses and small trucks – and primitive road networks were gradually being developed. Private bus routes were established in connection with the ships’ ports of call, carrying passengers and light cargo to the neighbouring towns and villages.
In the fifties and sixties, many of these local roads were connected – and in the early seventies, a more systematic overhaul of the overall road network began, significantly improving the overall standard.
The big breakthrough came when the two largest islands, Streymoy and Eysturoy, were connected by a bridge. A long tunnel was built through the mountain over the bridge in Norðskáli on the west side of Eysturoy, ending in the valley on the far side of Skálafjørður – thus significantly reducing the distance to Skálafjørður, Eysturoy’s eastern towns and villages and the northernmost islands.
A few years later, a tunnel was opened between Kaldbaksbotnur and Kollafjørður, which further reduced the distance – and made the old and rather unsafe mountain road from Tórshavn superfluous.
The next major breakthrough came with the construction of the extensive underwater tunnels, first between Streymoy and Vágar and later between Leirvík on Eysturoy and Klaksvík on Borðoy. These large and complex underwater constructions may seem a little overwhelming, but the investments have actually made four expensive ferry routes superfluous.
In 2020, the third and longest underwater tunnel was added, connecting Skálafjørður directly with the capital area. The function of this tunnel is to further shorten the travel distance between Tórshavn, Skálafjørður and the northern islands. At the time of writing, drilling is still in progress under the seabed between Streymoy and Sandoy. Once that project is over, drilling of the final tunnel under the seabed from Sandoy to Suðuroy will begin. When completed, it will be possible to drive from Sumba, the southernmost village in the Faroe Islands, to the northernmost Viðareiði – without ever having to board a ferry on the way.
The era of the buses
In 1980, the public bus company ‘Bygdaleiðir’ was founded and actual bus routes established. Bygdaleiðir was later taken over by Strandferðslan. This has made it considerably easier to travel overland by bus, especially on the long routes between Tórshavn and Vágar Airport, or between Klaksvík and Tórshavn. Bygdaleiðir is represented by the blue bus depicted on the franking label.
The red bus, on the other hand, is one of the city buses in Tórshavn. These buses are operated by the municipal company ‘Bussleiðin’, which was established in 1979. In the seventies, the capital grew – and it became necessary to establish public bus transport in the city, foresightful move which was made at the right time. Since the day these iconic red buses started rolling out for the first time, Tórshavn has more than doubled in size.
In 1980, Strandferðslan also expanded its business with a helicopter route. You could now get to the central destinations significantly faster – but, more importantly, the small and often inaccessible outlying islands have a much more stable connection with the main population areas than when there were only scheduled ferries to rely on.
In 1994, the helicopter services was taken over by the Faroese airline Atlantic Airways, which maintains regular scheduled flights to the islands, and takes care of emergency ambulance transport when the need arises.
Anker Eli Petersen
Queen Margrethe II 50th Anniversary of Danish Rule
Date of issue: 14.01.2022
Value: 50,00 DKK
Number: FO 971
Mini-sheet Size: 100mm x 70 mm. Stamp Size: 31mm x 52mm
Artist/engraver: Martin Mörck
Printing method: Offset lithography and intaglio
Printer: La Poste, France
Postal use: Registered letter.
From the press release:
The year 2022 will be one of the great anniversaries of the Danish Royal House. On January 14, 2022, Queen Margrethe II will be celebrating her 50th anniversary as a reigning Danish monarch.Many preparations were made for the celebration of the Queen’s 80th birthday on April 16, 2020. All these events were, however, cancelled as Covid-19 hit the world like a thunderstorm. No wonder, therefore, that this remarkable anniversary is now being met with great enthusiasm.In connection with this anniversary, Posta, the Faroese Postal Service, is issuing a miniature-sheet depicting Queen Margrethe II in front of the Faroese Cathedral ruins – colloquially referred to as the Wall – in the village of Kirkjubøur. The Queen is wearing the Faroese national costume, surrounded by verdant landscape and the blue sea. In this way, the mini-sheet also attests to her love for the Faroe Islands, its history, culture and nature.The Queen studied archaeology in England in 1960-61, and archaeological research has shown that the Wall was completed around the time when Margrethe I started her reign as the Queen of Denmark in 1375. Just a few years later, in 1380, the Faroe Islands, together with Norway, became a part of the Danish/Norwegian kingdom. When the celebrations commence early next year the Faroe Islands have been part of the Danish Kingdom for 642 years, fifty of which have seen Queen Margrethe II as a sovereign.The only king who has occupied the throne longer than Magrethe II is Christian IV. He was crowned as king of Denmark already in childhood and ruled for sixty years – from 1588 to 1648. Should Queen Margrethe II be able to celebrate sixty years as regent in 2032, she will set a record as the longest-reigning monarch in one of the oldest kingdoms in the world.Queen Margrethe already holds another astounding record. Since the first official royal visit to the Faroes in 1874, no regent has visited the Faroe Islands more frequently than Margrethe II. To commemorate the first royal visit more than a century ago, a memorial – a so-called King’s Monument – was erected on a conspicuous hill in Tórshavn.No memorial has been erected for Queen Margrethe II in the Faroes and no memorial is indeed needed. This became clearly perceptible when the Queen visited the Islands in 2021. In one Faroese town, care was taken to ensure that the Queen would stand in exactly the same place as when she visited the Faroe Islands as Crown Princess with her parents more than 60 years ago.For many older people, this became a very special occasion reviving memories of times long past. These stories vividly show that the Queen does not need anyone to erect her a memorial in these shores. Having visited the Islands so many times, she herself has erected a proper Queen’s Memorial in the minds of most Faroese. The Queen’s husband, the now deceased Prince Henrik, strongly supported her in this official capacity and no one could entertain any doubt about his delight whenever he visited the Faroe Islands with the Queen.The great interest shown by Queen Margrethe II in the Faroe Islands and Faroese culture has greatly enhanced her popularity in the Faroe Islands. Although not everyone agrees about the significance of the Danish Royal House in today’s society, one is bound to respect and admire a queen who has both learned the Faroese language and to dance Faroese chain dance. In addition, she wears the national costume with pride, has great insight into Faroese art and has visited almost every corner of the Faroe Islands. Even after so many visits, Margrethe II is just as heartily welcome to the Faroe Islands today as she was fifty years ago.Erling Isholm, historian
A black print of the exclusive souvenir sheet “HM Margrethe II – 50 Years as Queen” has been produced in a limited edition!
It is included in the 2022 Yearbook at no additional cost, however you have here the opportunity to purchase it separately as well.
The black print is numbered and printed in 1.500 prints of which only 400 will be sold separately.
Elegant folder containing mini-sheet, blackprint and FDC.