Postage Due stamps from the Netherlands and ex-colonies



Between 1870 and +/-1970 a letter that did not have sufficient postage got one or more postage due stamps stuck on it. The mailman who delivered the letter then collected the money that was due from the receiver. In recent years the use of special postage due stamps has been abandoned. Instead a card is attached to the letter with the request to pay the postage by means of stamps and send it to the postoffice. Most of the Dutch postage due stamp didn't carry a countryname, they only say "te betalen" on top of the stamp and "Port" at the bottom.
I made these pages in order to help the Netherlands collector to make sense out of all the confusing details.

Basic designtypes

During the years the Netherlands Postal Services used postage due stamps, there have only been two designs: the Schmidlin design, with the chain round the numeral and the Van Krimpen design. All postal entities within the kingdom of the Netherlands used the same stamps, only in different colours. Aruba, that issues stamps since 1985 never made use of postage due stamps.

left: Schmidlin design

right: Van Krimpen design

Basic colours

Fortunately every part of the kingdom used its own colours:

Blue - The Netherlands
Red / Orange - The Netherlands Indies
Red - Netherlands New Guinea*
Green - Curacao / The Netherlands Antilles
Lila / Purple / Brown - Surinam

These colours were used in all kinds of different shades: from light to dark.

* From 1950 to 1954 Dutch (blue) postage due stamps were used on New Guinea. The total number was only a few 1000. The only way to recognise them is on cover, with a clear New Guinea cancel.


There are only a few exceptions to the standard colours and designs.
The first postage dues from the Netherlands (1870) and the Netherlands Indies have different colours for each stamp, as do the last postage dues from the Netherlands Indies.
The re-used leftovers from normal postagestamps that were used in some occasions (De Ruyter commemoratives from 1907 to name one) were in different colours as well of course. Another exception to the rule are the postage due stamps that were used in Surinam at the end of the second world war. These were designed and printed in the USA, at the American Bank Note Cy. and had a typical American engraved design.

To make things genuinely confusing, the highest values of the postage due stamps in use in the Netherlands and in the Netherlands Indies had a different colour than the normal ones. In the Netherlands they were red, and in the Indies they were blue (see pictures).

left: Dutch postage due

right: Netherlands Indies postage due

The Schmidlin design

Netherlands #(J)1

Netherlands Indies
#2 (J4)
On May 15th 1870 the first Dutch postage due stamps were issued. They were designed by J.A. Schmidlin, which is why I will refer to these stamps as the Schmidlin design. Although many changes were made during the years, the main design remained unchanged for almost 80 years.
On the left we see the first design. The Dutch stamps, 5 cent brown on orange and 10 cent red on blue were issued in 1870, the Netherlands Indies ones, 5 cent brownyellow, 10 cent green on yellow, 15 cent orange on yellow and 20 cent green on blue in 1874 and 1875.
They are immediately recognisable by the bold type numbers that were used.

For a more detailed view of the Schmidlin design go to the overview, or go directly to the Schmidlin-types page.

The Van Krimpen design

In 1947 the longserving Schmidlin postage due stamps were replaced with stamps of a new design. The star designer of the moment, J. van Krimpen, who was also responsible for the 1946 definitive numeral stamps and the fonts on many stamps from the 1930s and 1940s. Van Krimpen's main strength was in the design of letters, and his design for the new postage due stamps shows this. The colourscheme was unchanged: blue for the Netherlands, green for the Antilles, purple/brown for Surinam. The Netherlands Indies had become independent as Indonesia and now used their own postage due stamps. Although different, they still resembled the old Schmidlin design and for a long time were only printed in orange.
Western Guinea was kept out of the formation of the new Indonesian state and was now known as Netherlands New Guinea. Starting in 1950 the Dutch authorities issued stamps for the colony, but only in 1957 it got its own postage due stamps. In the mean time one subtle detail had changed: the postage due stamps for the colonies now bore the colonies' names.

left: Surinam postage due

right: Surinam postage due with country name