November 8, 2015

2017 GERMANY (Schleswig-Holstein) - Heligoland

Formerly Danish and British possession, Heligoland is a small German archipelago (two islands) located in the Heligoland Bight in the southeastern corner of the North Sea, the only German islands not in the immediate vicinity of the mainland (at 46km off the coastline). In addition to German, the local population (1,127) ), who are ethnic Frisians, speak the Heligolandic dialect of the North Frisian language called Halunder.

The two islands were connected until 1720, when the natural connection was destroyed by a storm flood. The highest point is on the main island, reaching 61m above sea level. The main island has a good harbour and is frequented mostly by sailing yachts. Traditional economic activities included fishing, hunting birds and seals, wrecking and - very important for many overseas powers - piloting overseas ships into the harbours of  Hanseatic League cities such as Bremen and Hamburg.

Under the German Empire, which took over the islands in 1890, they became a major naval base, and during the WWI the civilian population was evacuated to the mainland. The islanders returned in 1918, but during the Nazi era the naval base was reactivated. During WWII, the civilian population remained on the main island, but following the island's penultimate air raid, on 18 April 1945, using 969 Allied aircraft, the island was evacuated.

From 1945 to 1952 the uninhabited Heligoland islands were used as a bombing range. On 18 April 1947, the Royal Navy detonated 6,700 tonnes of explosives, creating one of the biggest single non-nuclear detonations in history. The blow shook the main island several miles down to its base, changing its shape. In 1952 Heligoland was returned to German control, and the former inhabitants were allowed to return. It is now a holiday resort and enjoys a tax-exempt status.

About the stamps
The first stamps, depicting a tagetes, belong to the set Blumen, about which I wrote here.

The second stamp was issued in 2012 to mark the Day of Children, which is celebrated in Germany on 20 September. Germany issues a Day of Children stamp each year with a different theme and the one in 2012 was created under the heading "colourful kids world".

Heligoland - Wikipedia

Sender: Bärbel Plinke (direct swap)
sent from Bremen (Bremen / Germany), on 03.12.2012

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