Today Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will be present at the release of this year’s Julemærke, or Christmas stamp as the English translation would be. The Crown Princess is the patron of the Christmas stamp.
The world’s first Christmas stamp was Danish, the motive was Queen Louise of Denmark, and was released in 1904. Since then, many other countries have also taken up the idea of festive stamps on letters for Christmas.
The proceeds originally went to children who suffered from tuberculosis, but today they go to the Julemærkehjem – the Christmas Stamp Homes. These homes, which have trained adult personnel, are welcoming children who are experiencing problems in their environment, such as bullying, or suffer from nervous diseases sometimes resulting in obesity.
Each year 700 Danish kids are admitted to the 4 homes, and roughly 500 kids are on the waiting list. They pay nothing for the experience – everything is funded by the sale of the Christmas stamps, or extra donations from the public.
Queen Margrethe has been the artist behind the Christmas stamp on several occasions, the first time in 1970, the last (so far) in 2003.