Arago: Mail Processing

Mail Processing

Dutch mailbox


This mailbox is known as the 'Holland letterbox;' named for its place of origin—an iron foundry in Holland in Bergen op Zoom (the Noord Brabant province in the south of the Netherlands). Anton Kurvers (1889-1940) designed this box in 1929 and continued to design different types of letterboxes for the Dutch PTT. The box was in use from 1930 until 1955, mainly in the larger cities of the Netherlands.

In the early eighteenth century, the Dutch postal system was fragmented, cities each owning their own principal postal services. Cities gradually relinquished their roles as postmasters to Stadhouder Willem IV, which resulted in the establishment of the inland monopoly Statenpost in 1752. In 1799 Dutch postal services were reorganized into a single national enterprise based on the French model. This new postal institution, the basis for the PTT Post, enjoyed a stronger position in dealings with foreign postal organizations.

In 1852 the Netherlands introduced the postage stamp as well as guaranteed a post office facility in every municipality in the country. By 1870 the country had a well organized postal service, and attention shifted to introducing new services, such as parcel post.

After World War II, Dutch Post began operating at a loss. It raised postage rates, introduced automation to reduce labor costs, and closed some of the smaller mail offices. On January 1, 1989, Dutch Post was privatized, becoming a company called PTT Nederland NV.

Reference: (Accessed March 16, 2006)

Exchange with Koos Havelaar, Curator Posthistory, Museum voor Communicate. October 20, 2005.

1930 - 1955
28 x 11 x 8.5 in (71.12 x 27.94 x 21.59 cm)
Museum ID:

  • Dutch mailbox
  • Mailbox, The Netherlands
Additional Records