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18 September 2023

Put your stamp on it

You too can help create future German postage stamps! About 50 new stamps are issued every year, based on about 500 proposals received by the German Finance Ministry.

How are stamps created?

In the past, regional rulers in Germany used to decide what was depicted on postage stamps. But things have changed, and now you can be part of the process, too. You can propose a theme, and if you’re lucky, the German Finance Minister may select it.

These are the steps involved in creating new stamps:

Of course the German Finance Minister does not make this decision alone. Stamps are supposed to represent Germany as a whole, so there are two committees involved:

  • The stamp programme committee discusses possible themes, reviews ideas submitted by the public, and compiles a list of suggestions for new stamps to be issued each year.
  • The art committee assesses the quality of the proposed designs from a visual perspective. It was first convened in 1954, following harsh criticism of stamp designs in the early days of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The members of these committees do not just include politicians and civil servants, but also graphic designers, stamp collectors and representatives of the postal service.

Around 100 graphic designers are currently involved in designing German stamps. For each new stamp, the Finance Ministry asks six to eight of them to submit a proposal.

Each design is crafted with painstaking care on a surface measuring only a few square centimetres, making every single stamp a tiny work of art.

Proposing a theme for a stamp

New stamps are issued to mark important historical or current events, honour outstanding individuals or celebrate significant anniversaries. It is important to ensure that Germany’s regions and major social issues are represented in a broad and balanced way. For this reason, events that are of purely local significance have little chance of being selected, for example. There are also other criteria – for instance, stamps are not issued in honour of living individuals.

Deadline: The stamp programme committee meets once a year, usually in the autumn, to select the themes that will be featured two years later. The themes for 2026 will be discussed towards the end of 2024. Proposals must therefore be received by the German Finance Ministry no later than 15 September 2024 in order to be considered.

Please send your proposal by post or e-mail to the following address:

Federal Ministry of Finance
Division L B 5, Postage Stamps
Wilhelmstrasse 97
10117 Berlin, Germany
LB5@bmf.bund.de

Please submit your proposal in writing. There is no specific format you need to use. However, it would be helpful if you could briefly outline the reasons for your proposal. This also increases the chances of your proposal being selected. You can find out if your proposed theme was selected on bundesfinanzministerium.de or via our press releases on the subject. Due to the high number of submissions we receive, we are unable to provide this information through any other channel.

Designing a new stamp

The German Finance Ministry runs design competitions for its special-edition postage stamps and works with a pool of graphic designers for this purpose.

If you are interested in joining the pool, please send an application to the following address:

Federal Ministry of Finance
Division L B 5, Postage Stamps
Wilhelmstrasse 97
10117 Berlin, Germany
LB5@bmf.bund.de

Please include a short CV and some examples of your work, ideally in A3 format or smaller. Links or references to work published online are not sufficient.

Applications are reviewed by the art committee, which also proposes which designers to use. Because the small format of stamps poses special challenges, the artists tend to be trained graphic and communication designers. The art committee reviews submissions at dedicated meetings which normally take place three times a year. After the committee has issued its recommendations, all applicants are informed of the outcome. The submission documents are returned once the selection process has been completed.