Åland stamp highlights eelgrass, a key species in the Baltic Sea

In the Europa stamp series on the 2024 theme underwater flora and fauna, Åland Post highlights eelgrass on 8 May 2024. “The Åland underwater nature shows both unique and well-preserved habitats. In cooperation with stamp artist Katja Syrjä, we have chosen to illustrate the fascinating eelgrass, which plays a key role for the ecosystem and climate of the Baltic Sea,” says Johanna Finne, Marketing Design Manager at Åland Post Stamps.

Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is a flowering plant that lives entirely underwater, and it is the only one of its kind in the Baltic Sea. It needs salt to flourish and prefers a sandy seabed where it forms dense underwater meadows. Eelgrass undergoes vegetative reproduction; all plants are genetic copies of each other. The oldest Finnish bed of cloned eelgrass, said to be over 1000 years old, is believed to be located in the shallow waters off Eckerö in Åland.Eelgrass forms one of the most valued ecosystems on earth, contributing to great biodiversity as thousands of small fish and crustaceans and millions of invertebrates find food and shelter in the underwater beds. It stabilizes the sediment and binds carbon and nutrients in its leaves. Researchers calculate that 1 hectare of eelgrass binds 35 times more carbon dioxide than 1 hectare of rainforest. Today, the population of eelgrass is threatened, having drastically declined due to turbidity of the water, overfishing, and an increased growth of filamentous algae, causing a reduced amount of sunlight, thus stifling its growth.

Stamp artist Katja Syrjä is familiar with this key species both as motif and material. She created the stamp original with stone lithography. For the issue, she drew and etched on copper plates also close to 15 different marine species including bristle worm, Baltic isopod, molluscs, gastropods, and shrimp, which she sewed into the original.

“I discovered eelgrass around 2015 via a lecture by marine biologist Christoffer Boström and was completely captivated by this plant, which is so important to the Baltic Sea. It’s nice to now also be able to show and spread knowledge about eelgrass through the stamp,” Katja says.


  • Name Europa 2024 – underwater flora and fauna
  • Date of issue 8 May 2024
  • Artist Katja Syrjä
  • Design Johanna Finne and Rebecka Lundén
  • Edition 40 000
  • DenominationEuropa (€3.20)
  • Price FDC €4.20
  • Stamp size 35 x 35 mm
  • Sheet size  2 × 15 stamps
  • Paper  110 g/m2
  • Perforation 13 per 2 cm
  • Process 4-colour offset + foiling
  • Printer  Cartor Security Printers

Order the stamp, first day cover and maximum card at alandstamps.com, by post to Åland Post Stamps, P.O. box 1100, AX-22111 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland, e-mail stamps@alandpost.com or telephone: +358 18636639.



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