Uruguay in 1924 had been the first country in the World to issue football-related stamps. However they featured an image of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, an ancient Greek sculpture. An actual footballing image didn't appear on any postage stamp until the Dutch Postal Authorities issued a set to commemorate the 1928 Summer Olympics. Hosted in Amsterdam The Olympic Flame was reintroduced to the modern Olympic movement at the 1928 games so along with this honour the Netherlands can also lay claim to issuing the World's first 'proper' football stamp. Here it is along with the other seven values that made up the set.
Amazingly it would be another forty-six years before the Netherlands issued another football stamp and it must be said the 1974 commemorative World Cup issue was a pretty uninspiring effort. However the Total Football the Dutch played during the tournament was far from uninspiring and in this their first finals tournament since 1938 they played some magnificent football to reach the final. It all went a bit pear-shaped for them though for despite taking a first minute lead against the hosts they lost 2-1.
Nederland 1974 World Cup
A couple of years later in 1976 another football stamp was issued. This one was part of a 3 value semi-postal set featuring childrens drawings.
Nederland 1976 Football Childrens Drawing
Holland were again World Cup finalists in 1978 and again they lost to the host nation. This time 3-1 after extra-time to Argentina. Suprisingly no Dutch stamps were issued for the 1978 World Cup though a year later in 1979 a stamp was issued to commemorate 100 years of football in Holland. The first Dutch football club, Royal Haarlemsche Football Club had been founded in 1879. Much like the 1974 World Cup stamp it was a pretty poor design.
Nederland 1979 100 Years of Dutch Football
The Dutch national football team became European Champions in 1988 but no stamp was issued. Though a year later another Dutch football centenary was commemorated with the issue of a special stamp. The Royal Netherlands Football Association or KNVB (Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond) founded in 1889 celebrated 100 years governing football in Holland.
Nederland 1989 KNVB centenaryIn 1994 a garish orange and purple stamp was issued for the World Cup. Held in the United States the stamp proclaims Oranje goes USA! It came with a tab on the right hand side that lists Holland's group fixtures. They topped their group and eventually got knocked out in the quarter-finals to eventual winners Brazil.
Nederland 1994 World Cup1996 saw the Dutch qualify for Euro 96 and the stamp issued for this event is for me , with the exception of the 1928 stamp the nicest Dutch football stamp issued. It features a nice aerial shot of Wembley Stadium and the Twin Towers. Of course this was where the Netherlands lost to England 4-1 in their group fixture. Despite this heavy defeat they still qualified for the knock out stages and lost in the quarter-finals on penalties to the French.
Nederland 1996 European ChampionshipsI don't know what the Dutch postal authorities were thinking when they issued this stamp to commemorate the 1998 World Cup finals. It does however have a certain charm to it. As for the team they reached the semi-final and lost on penalties to Brazil.
Nederland 1998 World Cup
Euro 2000 was jointly hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium. The Dutch national team reached the semi-finals and again lost out on penalties, this time to Italy. The tournament prompted a joint issue by the postal authorities of both countries. Here's the Dutch version.
Nederland 2000 European Championships
That concludes our philatelic journey through the football issues of the Netherlands. Depending on the result of Sunday's game there may well be another Dutch football stamp to add to the list. Good luck Holland.