Postverk Føroya

Postverk Føroya

company_name = P/F Postverk Føroya
company_type = Joint stock company
company_slogan =
foundation = 1976
location = Tórshavn,Faroe Islands
key_people =
num_employees = 380
products = Mail
revenue = ?| homepage = []
Postverk Føroya [IPA|ˈpɔstvɛʰʂk ˈfœɹja] 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 Postverk Føroya. 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".

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

Postal History


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 organising 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.

First Post Offices

The first Faroese post office was opened in Tórshavn on the 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.

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.

Founding of Postverk Føroya

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.

Philatelic History

An interesting period in the Faroese history of philately is the time shortly after the First World War, when 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 "gran" (15 g) from 5 øre to 7 øre
*Postcards to Denmark up to 250 "gran" (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 1st 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 therefor the stamp was called "The chair leg stamp".

A similar situation arose in 1940/41. The German occupation of Denmark - as well as a very rough winter in Skagerak and Kattegat - prevented a steady connection between Denmark and the Faroe Islands, which again led to shortage of stamps, due to increases in the postal rates. Again the matter was settled by permitting the Post Office in Tórshavn to overprint the required number of stamps.

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.

Since the founding of Postverk Føroya in 1976, the Postage Stamp Department has taken over all the work relating to the postage stamps. The department organises all production, issuance and sales of postage stamps.

Issues from 1975 until today

Outside the Faroes, Postverk Føroya is most renowned for its postage stamps. All stamp editions are about items relating to the Faroes and most of them are designed by Faroese artists. Main motifs are:
*Faroese nature, birds, plants, fish, whales, but also insects (such as butterflies), and mushrooms have already been on stamps.
*Faroese art, both in reproductions of important paintings and in involving the artists in drawing stamps.
*Faroese history is a common topic with relevant issues almost each year.
*Churches and other Christian motifs play a distinct role before Christmas. Also Christmas seals are issued along with the regular stamps.
*Nordic mythology has become an important topic in the last years.
*Faroese writers were honoured in the 1980s by master engraver Czeslaw Slania, who in total created exactly 100 Faroese stamps of different topics.
*Faroese geography is found on stamps depicting Faroese landscapes and village motifs.
*Fishery, fish industry and fishing vessels are a natural topic of an islands' nation.
*Other motifs include: Children's drawings, technology, society, and so on.

All stamp editions are sold by face value and can also purchased in blocks of four or sheets. Some stamps are issued in booklets, but the same stamps occur also in sheets. Souvenir sheets (mini-sheets) soon became popular and were issued for several years, but until 2001, not more than one a year.

As usual in other countries, there are first day covers (FDC) for every stamp edition with a special postmark, designed by the artist of the stamp.

The so called "year pack" in A5 format contains all stamps and mini-sheets of a year for face value. The so called "yearbook" in A4 is a bit more expensive but contains extensive information about the topics of the stamps (however, these can also be found on, but without photos and other illustrations). There are two editions of the yearbook. One is in Faroese and Danish, and the other one in English and German.

Annually one or two series of postcards are also issued, according to a certain stamp set. Sometimes posters are also issued with bigger drawings by the stamp artists.

The oldest stamp in the current stock list (2005) is Slania's famous 25 kr ram of 1979 (FR 039), a definitive stamp still in use and a sort of symbol for all Faroese stamps.

tamp programme 2006

The stamp programme of 2006, the 30th jubilee of Posterk Føroya, is planned to contain 39 stamps at the value of 265.50 DKK, including four mini-sheets.
*26 February - 10 deepwater fish by graphical artist Astrid Andreasen are issued as a souvenir sheet.
*26th February - 3 definitives are showing new photos of towns on Eysturoy. They are starting a new series of definitives in square format.
*29 March - Mini-sheet of 2 stamps for the bi-annual Nordic edition, by Anker Eli Petersen, dealing again with motifs of the Nordic mythology.
*29th March - Stamp debut of artist Vigdis Sigmundsdóttir with a souvenir sheet of ten stamps showing the ballad Ormurin Langi. Both editions are anniversary editions of the Faroese post.
*12 June - Edward Fuglø stands behind the Europa-CEPT set of two, about integration of immigrants.
*12th June - the Northern Isles Tunnel is to be opened and thus celebrated on two stamps showing this high-tech subsea tunnel, which connects Eysturoy with Klaksvík over 6 km. Artist: Edward Fuglø
*18 September - after his debut with the Vágar-sheet in 2005, Eli Smith is going to present 8 of his paintings from Sandoy on a souvenir sheet.
*18th September - both Christmas stamps are also designed by Eli Smith and show church motifs of Sandoy.
*The Christmas seals finally are by Astrid Andreasen and will show different angels in Faroese churches.

ee also

*List of postal codes in the Faroe Islands

External links

* [ - Homepage] (Faroese)
* [ - Philatelic Office] (English, French, German, Danish and Faroese)
** [{8EBEFE1F-24EB-4E34-AC06-21D9DB47035A}&type=3 - "Abstract of the Postal History"] (Public Domain source for this article)
** [ - "25 years of the Faroese Postal Service"] (Public Domain source for this article)
* [ - Faroe Islands Study Circle] A philatelic society specialized in this area


* Stanley Gibbons Ltd: various catalogues
* [ Encyclopaedia of Postal History]
* Stuart Rossiter & John Flower: "The Stamp Atlas"

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