Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Snail-mailers around the globe: The Netherlands

Here we have our snail-mailer for May, Wesley!
He's a really nice fellow postcrosser & blogger from The Netherlands. He's on the quest to get a card from every country in the world and so far his collection  is quite big and neat.

In what snail-mailing activities do you take part?
Only postcard swapping.

How did you became a snail-mailer? 
I never really had a large interest in snail-mail whatsoever before I landed into the world of Postcrossing. Receiving mail was just daily routine which only consisted out of bills for my parents and the occasional bills for me. That was it. In 2009 I came across the Postcrossing website and I loved the idea of receiving and sending a postcard from/to a random person somewhere in the world. Since I had never received any postcard before (my friends and relatives weren't active travellers and postcards senders), Postcrossing is definitely the project that transformed me into a snail-mailer. I can remember receiving my first postcard from Switzerland and showing it to everyone in the family. That was very special and exciting for me! I would have never thought a piece of paper could give me such an ecstasy. From then on I was immediately hooked on sending and receiving postcards.

For how long have you been doing this? 
Having started with Postcrossing in November 2009, I've doing this a little bit more than 3 years now. I did quit sending cards in the beginning of 2011 until October 2012 when I had to focus completely on studying. At the same time money issues played an important role which resulted in not being able to send postcards during that period. So basically you could say I have only been doing this for 2 years.

Can you show me 3 of your favorite postcards and make a little explanation on why you like them? 
This is an extremely difficult task as I love so many postcards and received so many so far!

 But of course my favorite card would be the first card that got me hooked.Sent from Switzerland, a beautiful card with a triptych showing some majestic mountains.

I really love this card because it shows a magnificent building, a sunset and when you look closely includes lightning as well. For me that’s just a fantastic scene. But what I like even more is that the sender wrote so much on the back on the card, in such a tiny handwriting, that I was pretty amazed how she did this. It’s something I appreciate a lot and I always try to write as much on my cards as well, since I know many people appreciate it.

Last but not least I chose this card as I love night views and this is definitely one of the best I have received so far. Also Hong Kong and its skyline is just mind blowing, making the view even more impressive.

How much does it cost to send a postcard in your country? 
To send a postcard (whatever size it is) will cost you  €0.54 domestically, €0.90  within Europe (including Russia) and €0.95 for a postcard outside Europe. It’s not too bad, but these prices are bound to increase every year, unfortunately.

Do you have any theme collections? If you do, why are you collecting them? 
Yes, I do collect particular postcards. I tend to focus on collecting city views especially, since these are the most common and most interesting ones to me. Besides those typical postcards I collect cards depicting birds (especially owls), USA state maps, French départements maps and airport related cards. Also I´m trying to receive a postcard from every country/territory in the world. Some collections are just because I thought it would be interesting, others like birds and airports are collections I consciously chose to collect as I love both topics. I’m a bird lover and I have a passion for aviation, which was a logical reason to decide to collect postcards of these topics.

If you are into pen-paling, from which countries do you have pen-pals from? 
I don’t have pen-pals, just postcard-pals from several countries.

Have you discovered any destination you'd like to travel to thanks to a postcard? 
Well, in fact I’d like to visit every country in the world, so every place is appealing to me.
But yes, I have discovered countries/places through postcards that caught a lot of attention and made me want to go there badly. For instance the Julian alps in Slovenia, the island of Réunion, the Amish counties in Pennsylvania (very intriguing although difficult to ‘see’) and some other places.

Please share a few facts about other countries you've learned thanks to postcards or letters:
I probably learned a lot of stuff because of all the information that was written on the postcards. Though I can’t recall anything particular right now that would be interesting to tell. Mostly I learned that some countries (despite the –in my opinion- good geographical skills I have) were located much differently than I expected. Those discoveries were kind of eye-openers.

A few fun/strange/surprising facts you'd like to share about your country? 
Would you guys be surprised that our country doesn't only exist out of tulip fields with windmills, not everyone smokes weed here and wearing clogs is only for old-fashioned farmers?
  • I’d say it would be interesting to know that we are considered the tallest population in the world. Average height for men is 1.84 m and for women this would be 1.70 m. I’m 1.85 m by the way.
  • We have the oldest running airline in the world, KLM which stands for KoninklijkeLuchtvaartMaatschappij (=Royal aviation company). They have been flying since 1919.
  • There are twice as many bicycles in the Netherlands than inhabitants. Almost everyone owns a bike here and we see it as a very important way of transportation. Therefore it is not crazy to find Dutchies riding on city bikes worth €2000+.Students on the other hand usually go to a second-hand store and buy an old rusty bike for €15 that will do fine for them. Lots of differences.

In your opinion, what is it that makes sending postcards and letters through snail-mail special?
I especially like the friends and other contacts I've found as a  result of sending postcards. Besides I really love sending cards as much as receiving them. Finding  a message in my inbox at the end of the day, reading someone really liked your postcard is a true joy. And of course the things you learn when receiving a postcard because the sender wrote some interesting information on it. Or I get curious myself about a place and decide to find some info about it on the internet. All those things together make it a special hobby!

Dank Wesley!

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