Ancient Finnish Castles receive their own stamps


Stamps designed by Erik Bruun

Itella Posti Oy will publish a booklet of stamps with pictures of ancient Finnish castles on Monday 20 January. The Ancient Castles stamp booklet includes six first class stamps with pictures of Suomenlinna, Häme, Raseborg, Kastelholm, Olavinlinna and Turku castles. The booklet includes brief summaries of each castle's history in Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian.

Suomenlinna inspired Erik Bruun 

The Ancient Castles stamp booklet is designed by one of Finland's most respected graphic designers, Erik Bruun. He is known to the general public for his designs for several past Finnish stamps, the final series of Finnish Markka banknotes and his popular nature and advertising posters.

Ancient castles are an especially personal subject for Erik Bruun, as he has lived in Suomenlinna, the sea fortress, for 43 years. "The cover of the stamp booklet is of Suomenlinna's stone walls and a firing embrasure, which I walk past almost every day."

Erik Bruun has depicted Suomenlinna in four previous stamps, which were published between 2000 and 2006. He has also produced a number of Suomenlinna-themed posters. For Vyborg-born Bruun another pleasant assignment was the Vyborg Castle 700-year stamp published in 1993. 

Erik Bruun designed his first stamps in the mid-1980s, at about the same time as the Finnish Markka banknote reform. Altogether, he will have designed well over 50 postage stamps once the Ancient Castles stamp booklet appears. Many of the stamps designed by Bruun are inspired by nature, with birds especially close to his heart.

Castles are an important part of Finnish cultural heritage

In their time, the ancient castles of Finland were strategically important buildings for the country's defense and trade. As their strategic importance declined, the castles were taken over for other purposes, e.g. for use as prisons, and they began to fall into disrepair.

"The antiquarian value of the castles was understood in the late 1800s and plans for their restoration began. In the 1930s, decades of work began to restore them. "Today, the castles are amongst Finland's most important pieces of cultural heritage and most popular tourist destinations," says Juhani Kostet, Director General of Finland's National Board of Antiquities.

Mirror image of Häme Castle 

Häme Castle appears as a mirror image on a stamp due to an error with the original image. "Erik Bruun made the stamp based on an old photograph that the National Board of Antiquities gave him, which had at some earlier stage become a mirror image of the original. We believe that the stamp will be of interest to buyers despite - or even perhaps because of - the mistake and it will sell very well," estimates Tommi Kantola, Product Manager from Itella Posti Oy.

Further information

Itella Posti Oy

Itella Communications

A brief history of six ancient Finnish castles (PDF) 
Erik Bruun, Finnish master of purposeful graphic design (PDF)

Image material for the media 

All stamps available for sale are featured in Posti's online shop: 

Ancient Castles stamp booklet technical information 

The Ancient Castles stamp booklet includes six first class stamps with
pictures of Suomenlinna, Häme, Raseborg, Kastelholm, Olavinlinna and Turku castles.