The Telegraph Office in Zwolle

The first telegraph connection in our country was established by the railway company Hollandse IJzeren Spoorweg Maatschappij (HIJSM) in 1845. On December 1, 1852, theRijkstelegraaf (National Telegraph Service) started, which at that time still had competition from the railway companies.
On 1 October 1854, a branch of the Rijkstelegraaf in Zwolle was established. The first director was W.E. Ringer. From 6 June 1864 the public could also use the telegraph office of the railway company Centraal Spoorweg Maatschappij and from 1 October 1866 of the telegraph office of the Maatschappij voor Exploitatie van Staatspoorwegen.
On 16 September 1933, the telegraph and telephone office in Zwolle was merged with the post office.


Envelope for the delivery of a telegram, transmitted by the Rijkstelegraaf from The Hague to Zwolle on 30 May 1864.
The delivery of the transferred message was freight free, the sender had already paid for it.

Form (model B1) with a message transferred from The Hague to Zwolle, 18 February 1865.


Something about telegraphy in the Netherlands

Someone who wanted to send a telegram had to give his notice at the telegraph office for transferring. There were various types of offer forms in use. It was also possible to send the message by post to the telegraph office, by letter or postcard (in the past, mailbox schedules were used more regularly) or by telephone. The communication was then transferred with a spill device. The costs of messaging could be paid in cash or in current account (with monthly invoicing).Telegraph stamp

Between 1877 and 1920 telegram stamps were in use, which were stuck on the offer forms, letters or (back of) postcards, for advance payment of the transferring costs. The stamps had to be pasted on the telegram form that the sender offered at the office of the Rijkstelegraaf, the so-called minute. The official destroyed the stamps by drilling through or cancelling with a datestamp (from 1911), checked the stamps for authenticity and then traversed them with a blue pencil or ink and then transferred the message to the office at or in the residence of the addressee. The minute was kept at the office for at least 15 months, after which it was destroyed.
Between 1889 and 1902 the telegram stamps on the forms were cut off before the destruction and sold via the Governmental Auctions. Used stamps of 25 cents, only issued in 1903, and stamps with a datestamp, prescription for cancellation from 1911, can not therefore be in the hands of collectors in a regular manner. There are no original, complete offer forms with telegram stamps in collector's hands. There are some receipts known. Forms intended for the addressee (see below) with telegram stamps are always forgeries.

The official at the telegraph office on the other side of the telegraph line wrote the message on a form used for that purpose. Later he pasted a slip with the message on the form. The form was then delivered by own orderers of the Rijkstelegrafie. We can distinguish several main types of these forms, namely: Telegrams delivered to the addressee in an envelope; telegram folding sheets that were sealed with a seal; card telegrams and good luck telegrams. Money could also be paid via a telegraphic money order.
If a telegram had been provided by the sender by telephone, a copy was sent to this sender by post.

The Rijkstelegraaf, later part of the PTT, and the Post Offices worked a lot together. Often both services were in the same building. In the early years, the postal service did provide telegrams at places outside the order area of ​​the Rijkstelegraaf. The Rijkstelegraaf also provided services to the Post Office.


Last update 27.09.2023 9:03 PM->

Copyright © 2019 - G.L. van Welie FRPSL
Secretary of the Nederlandse Academie voor Filatelie
Representative of the Royal Philatelic Society London for the Netherlands

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