Report on the Astrophilatelic Activities in Germany 2011 and 2010
Astrophilately continues to stabilize in Germany in the face of a generation change that makes many veteran collectors give up their collection due to old age or after passing away. Additionally, with the end of the space shuttle program, which is a factor of identification in particular for the collectors having grown up in the West of the country, some consider it a good moment to conclude a collection.
Soviet or Russian space projects have always had a strong standing in the formerly Eastern part of the country and grew additional interest with the construction of the International Space Station; yet the feeling is dominant that the US government "abandoned” the ISS and that Russia and European partners are left behind in the effort.
Chinese space projects have gained considerable interest amongst the most advanced and pioneering collectors, yet Chinese projects can not replace the enthusiasm and motivation once triggered by the American Moon landing effort that made an entire generation begin an astrophilatelic collection.
Germany, Switzerland, Austria: Astrophilatelists keep forces joint
The fusion of the magazines of three German speaking astrophilatelic organizations in Germany, Switzerland and Austria since 2009 has been a full success. Initial problems, misunderstandings and conflicts have been ironed out, sometimes not without effort, but the overall impression is that the joint project is now a solid one. Hans Dittscheid, now in the position of the Vice President of Weltraum Philatelie, continues to ensure editorship of the Bulletin, jointly with Reiner Brosi. Four annual issues are being published, usually more than 100 pages thick, providing members with solid background information on space flight and astrophilately.
Federation of German Philatelists: implementation of new Astro regulations and guidelines
The new astrophilatelic rules had been adopted by the Board of the Federation of German Philatelists (BDPh) in 2009. The Federation made them available to all German associations, working groups and the jurors. Implementation, however, is still a problem. No astrophilatelic class has been established on local, regional or national level since, and we are not aware of any new exhibits built up by collectors. To foster interest in exhibiting, the Board of Weltraum Philatelie has decided to hold a short seminar on exhibition rules in 2012, inviting the Chairman of the FIP Astrophilately Section, Igor Rodin, to give a presentation during the Annual Assembly in June 2012.
Outreach to the public and social activities
Due to family obligations of the President, outreach activities were limited in 2011. However, the regular annual meeting was held at the compound of the Technical Museum at Speyer (most prominent exhibit: a Buran engineering model). Equally, a gathering of collectors from Southern and Central Germany took place near Giessen. In 2010, Weltraum Philatelie held its annual assembly on the compound of the Berlin Air Show ILA 2010.
new website in the making The Internet is taking a more and more prominent place in the communication efforts of any association. To ensure a more structured information on astrophilately, the Board is currently working on a totally revamped website of Weltraum Philatelie. The new version will be released in early 2012.
An arduous effort: catalogue of space stamps in Asia
A continuous and most arduous effort was behind the production of two more volumes of a catalogue of Space and Astronomy stamps. 2010 saw the volume on Northern, Central and Southern America, and in 2011 the volume on Australia and Oceania has been completed by the editor, Dieter Steinbrecher. This brings the number of catalogues to a total of four, with two more volumes (Europe and Asia) having been published in previous years. 2012 will see the publication of an updated version of the catalogue on European countries. Volume 5 covering Caribbean countries will probably be available in early April 2012. The high productivity of some countries (like Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Congo, Madagascar, Central Africa, etc.) will probably force the publisher to split the subsequent catalogue of African countries into three volumes. The first of these three volumes is planned to be on the shelves in 2013. In parallel, editor Steinbrecher intends to produce updates of the existing catalogues, either as lose sheets or in form of a brochure, starting with Asia.
Going strong for over 30 years: newsletter
Slightly more than 100 members continue to receive a newsletter called "Eil-Informationsdienst” with up to date information on current missions, cover opportunities, special postmarkers, astronaut address information and upcoming events. To cater for the needs of both the older as the younger generation, the newsletter is distributed both electronically as on paper. The computer literates received 28 electronic newsletters in 2011, 22 in 2010. Nine issues of the paper-based version were mailed to collectors in 2011, eight in 2010. With currently 209 members, "Weltraum Philatelie” is still the largest astrophilatelic association in Europe. "Weltraum Philatelie” was founded in 1976. Florian Noller is President, Hans Dittscheid serves as Vice President, Reiner Brosi manages finances.
Jürgen Peter ESDERS
Weltraum Philatelie e. V. German delegate to the FIP Section on Astrophilately