For the third time I can write a comment with this title (see also 2006 and 2007). At this last day of the year I can look back on what was a year that started very slow but disappeared quickly after the summer. In my personal life it was very quiet. No enormous changes, no new job, no new hobbies, no new love.
The UNOstamps website grew with 22 countries, 26 subjects, 10 persons, and a lot of new stamp images. Also added were philatelic books and magazines and stamp catalogues. There were 11 newsletters and only 10 comments (including this one).
A number of special events happened in 2008. From September our local historical society celebrated its 35th anniversary. I had to make a special jubilee exhibition that was visited by some 900 people and was officially opened by the alderman for culture. In November we held a special historical film show with more than 100 visitors watching documentaries on three of our monuments and a film on our village during the Second World War. Next year I hope to finish my new book with minutes of the town council 1953-1958.
In May we celebrated World Fair Trade Day in our local Worldshop (Wereldwinkel). There one of our volunteers was awarded a local decoration by the mayor for many years of volunteer work.
The trip to Vienna was something so impressive that I'll never forget it. Two ILGA conferences in a row with people from all over the world. Personal stories about discrimination, persecution, police harassment, but also stories of hope for a better future. And I got the chance to visit the United Nations buildings and get a private guided tour. For this occasion I wrote special Vienna Comments that are still on the website.
What else happened? In January my favourite pub in Amsterdam closed for renovation, it is due to reopen next April. I went to stamp shows in Loosdrecht, 's-Hertogenbosch and Apeldoorn, where I spent far too much money. I attended and chaired a large number of meetings during the year, I visited Tilburg and Amsterdam and I even won one whole euro in the lottery.
Later today, like the last two years, I will visit a friend in Tilburg and we will again start the new year in the south of the country in one of the local pubs.
I wish all visitors of this website all the best for the coming year.
A strange combination, but I can explain it. Today is
the 60th birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One of the most
important documents in the world. Just stop a moment and think about those basic
rights for everyone: freedom, education, housing, health, and some happiness.
And turtles? Well, Tuesday I received the latest stamps from the Pitcairn
Islands. A beautiful souvenir
sheet with turtles from
I ordered the souvenir sheet on the day of issue. When it arrived I saw that they sent it the same day. What a perfect service. I can recommend everyone to order their Pitcairn stamps directly from the philatelic service. The sheet is worth having in your collection, even if you don't collect UN stamps or animals or Pitcairn Islands. They found a designer from France that managed to draw turtles under water and on the beach. Also there are those cute little ones making their way from the sand towards the open sea. Well done Pitcairn!
My comments from Vienna, that I wrote during the ILGA-Europe and ILGA World conferences are on a special page:
Today is Blog Action Day 2008. Like last year all people who write some sort of web log are asked to focus the reader's attention on a specific subject. For 2008 the subject is poverty.
UNOstamps deals with the work of the United Nations and related organizations and the most important struggle against poverty within the system is the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). This historic promise made by 189 world leaders in 2000 contains eight specific targets to end poverty worldwide. They include education, child health, fighting AIDS and ending hunger.
This last target is not new. As far back as 1963 the
FAO organized a world wide Freedom from Hunger Campaign. In
many countries money was raised to help get food to deprived people. Here in
The latest instrument to end poverty is microcredit. The leading figure here is Mohammed Yunus from Bangladesh who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. The UN declared 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit. The year got a lot of attention in the Netherlands because of the involvement of Princess Máxima who became a special advisor to the UN.
I have tried for the last fifteen years to contribute to make life better for other people. Since 1993 I am a volunteer in our local Worldshop (Wereldwinkel). Here we sell artifacts, goods and food from small producers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The producers get a fair price for the products they make and with this money they can build schools, improve production and get a better life for themselves and their families. Anyone can help in a simple way: buy your presents, your coffee, or toys in your local Worldshop. Every small contribution counts. Don't wait until tomorrow, start today.
Yesterday the latest issue of Grenzenloos arrived. As you might know it is the quarterly magazine of "VN-VE Filatelie", the Dutch Philatelic Society for United Nations and United Europe. Some weeks ago the chairman of the society phoned me and asked if I would like to contribute in any way. I agreed to write a series of articles on various stamps from my collection. In the new magazine you can read part 1 on the PUC Pound and the USSR stamps for the UPU Administrative Conference in The Hague in 1927. The article is in Dutch, but if you want to read it you can download it as a pdf-file (opens in a new window).
The jubilee exhibition of the local historical society has opened on 5 September and in the first two weekends already 800 people visited it. There are two more weekends to go, but we think it is a big success. In October part of the exhibition will be shown at the local library for National History Week (Week van de Geschiedenis).
I bought some nice stamps last week on eBay and I'm
considering some other offers for some expensive series. In October there is
Frequent visitors have noticed that the last few months not a lot of new additions were made to the website. This is because I'm trying to finish my latest book on local history and because in September our local historical society celebrates its 35th anniversary with a lot of activities. There is an exhibition, a film viewing, a small exhibition in the local library, several attendances at manifestations and of course the new book. As a board member I'm working hard to help organize all these things.
So these are busy times, but that doesn't mean that
nothing happens. I try to add something to the website every weekend and of
course the Newsletter will be published as usual. New on the website are the
stamps from Portuguese Timor, a
former overseas province that we now know as Timor-Leste or
Monday I'm taking a day off to go to the fair in Tilburg. It is the largest in the Benelux with 246 different attractions, making it 3,5 kilometres long. I hope to write something about it in the next few days.
Today is Queen's Day in the Netherlands. It is the day we celebrate the official birthday of the Queen. This day had been a national holiday since 1948 (until then it was 31 August). This morning was the traditional musical tribute in front of our town hall. The Queen and her family visited the province of Friesland in the north of the country.
Especially for this day I have made an extra edition of the UNOstamps Newsletter with a special and difficult quiz. There are three prizes to be won but... send in your answer before the deadline mentioned in the Newsletter.
And finally I have added country number 65 to the website: Bangladesh. A large country with a lot of UN related stamps. Together with British Antarctic Territory and Tibet I have added three countries in one month. The website is almost two years old and it has come a long way with 65 countries, 223 subjects, 42 persons and lots of other items.
This weekend saw the Stamp Passion 08 stamp fair in 's-Hertogenbosch. I spent two days browsing through the two halls where the fair was held. The Stamp Passion celebrated the 80th anniversary of NVPH, the Netherlands Association of Stamp Dealers. There were a lot of dealers but unfortunately (for me) most of them sold only Netherlands and the colonies. There were a few foreign postal administrations: Belgium and the Scandinavian countries. Also the United Nations were represented but it was not an official presence, so there was no special cancellation and no blue card (photo: the UN stand).
I did buy some nice stamps from Niger, Thailand, Turks and Caicos Islands, Grenada, Belgium, Indonesia, Guinea-Bissau and other countries. Finally on Sunday I found some time to add a new country to the website. In light of the protests surrounding the Olympic flame I chose Tibet. There is one series issued by or on behalf of the government in exile for the UPU centenary in 1974. As I wrote in one of my previous Newsletters I take no political stand point on the status of a country. In this case the stamps (whether or not official) have a UN theme so they are in my collection.
This comment sounds more like a television commercial for washing powder but it is serious. When I started this website in July 2006 it was primarily to organize my own collection and to let other interested collectors see what I have acquired over the years. In more than one and a half year I have my own domain name, a newsletter and a website with almost 350 different pages, lots of information and thousands of images. So it was time for some restyling.
Fortunately I have a colleague at the office who is very skilled in graphic design. Today Dick designed a new logo for me. To me it has a feeling of style and movement. Plus it has a bluish UN colour and a distinct stamp edge. What more could I wish for? Well, maybe your opinion. Send it to me on email@example.com.
During all this I am taking some time to check all pages on dead links and links that do not open in a new frame. And there is a new country: Suriname. This is the name of the former Dutch territory since independence in 1975. Before that it was called Surinam. They added an e at the end when the young republic became a member of the United Nations. Country number 60. Another milestone. On to the next one.
I'm writing this just after midnight so it is Sunday now. The last two days have been very busy. On Friday I visited the annual Filateliebeurs in Nieuw-Loosdrecht. There I bought a lot of stamps, some of which are added to the site. New stamp images from Solomon Islands, Germany, Austria, Aitutaki and German Democratic Republic are now available. Apart from these stamps I bought a lot of issues from Pakistan, Singapore, Qatar and Sri Lanka.
There are not only stamp dealers at the Filateliebeurs, but also a lot of stamp clubs present themselves there. One of the clubs I joined some years ago was there as well: VN-VE Filatelie (sorry, no website yet). It was founded in 1960 for those who collect United Nations (VN) or United Europe (VE) stamps.
Saturday was a special day because Sophie in 't Veld, Member of the European Parliament for D66, paid a visit to COC The Hague Region. There she spoke about protecting LGBT rights across Europe and about the way our personal data is being collected and stored at the moment. She told us that if we send post to the United States the names of the sender and recipient and the contents are registered somewhere. After all the heavy things, she formally opened the website for The Hague Pink City 2009 (www.rozestaddenhaag.nl) by writing the first entry in the guestbook. In a few days the site will be available for everyone to see.
On Sunday afternoon I have this year's final New Year's reception in Amsterdam. It is probably going to get a little late, so I took the precaution of taking Monday off.
UNOstamps Comments 2006 (21 November - 31 December)
UNOstamps Comments 2007 (12 january - 30 December)
last revised: 1 August 2010