THE HAFNIADE DISASTERThe HAFNIA 01 Philatelic Exhibition took place between October 16 and October 21, 2001 in Copenhagen, Denmark. It celebrated the 150th anniversary of emission of the first Danish stamp, the "Fire Rigsbank Skilling", issued on 1 April 1851.
In parallel to HAFNIA 01 should take place hafniade.dk, announced on the Web long before the opening if HAFNIA 01, and presented as an Interactive Philatelic Internet Exhibition (http://www.hafniade.dk/en/).
The concept (reproduced also below) seemed interesting, and the participants were promised to be judged by qualified Danish philatelic judges. For this reason, a number of philatelic webmasters have applied, most of them being members of the PWO. Certain condition weren't easy to meet (like the limited size of the site), and for this reason many of exhibitors had to done a lot of preliminary work in order to participate. Hafniade's webmaster, Mr. Paul Bischoff, wasn't really cooperative, especially in the last months before the opening, and some participants had to "push" him a lot in order to meet the deadline.
The HAFNIA exhibition came and went, but none of participants to hafniade.dk heard something concerning the results of their participation. That's why PWO officially contacted Mr. Paul Bischoff, and was informed by him (see below) that the exhibits weren't presented to the judges. He complained that the DPF (Danish Philatelic Federation) let him do the work and then abandoned him.
Of course the participants were very upset (see below, under Reactions), and for this reasons in November 2001 the PWO officially contacted (by e-mail) the DPF and also Mr. Kristian Klitgaard, the official person from the DPF mentioned on the hafniade.dk site.
Because after five months nobody from the DPF answered our letters, we decided to make the whole history public, through the PWO site and the rec.collecting.stamps NG. As one of participants expressed it:
"Personally I find it horrendous - to put it mildly - that he invites people to participate, we accept seriously, and then we are just dropped off without a word of explanation, and with no reactions at all from the Hafnia-staff to emails sent about the question."
You can read below some related documents. Published on RCSD on 03/18/02.
Switzerland. March 18, 2002.
Since just a little more than two years ago, when I got my first multimedia computer with access to the Internet, I have been surprised by the speed the Internet swallows you and you get the urge to learn more and more about the fascinating world the Internet contains.
After creating a couple of minor Internet sites for own use, and since I have been digging the different marketplaces on the Internet - also called auctions - I got the idea of creating a site, where it was possible to gather lots of philatelic collections, give other collectors inspiration and give the new electronic technology philatelic content beyond trade and auctions.
Due to goodwill from HAFNIA 01, Danmarks Filatelist Forbund (The Danish Philatelic Federation) and especially Mr. Kristian Klitgaard, it has been possible to arrange hafniade.dk as an Interactive Philatelic Internet Exhibition in conjunction with the International Philatelic Exhibition HAFNIA 01. The concept of hafniade.dk is to make an experimental philatelic exhibition form, which has no connection to the established philatelic exhibition forms - except the fact the exhibits are judged by trained judges.
The exhibition takes place in conjunction with the International Philatelic Exhibition HAFNIA 01, October 16 to 21, 2001. There are four different exhibition classes. Traditional Philately, Postal History, Thematic Philately and Open Class. The three first mentioned classes are judged by trained judges from Danmarks Filatelist Forbund (The Danish Philatelist Federation). Open Class is judged by the public via the Internet - both the public in Bella Center exhibition halls and the public on the Internet.
requirements for exhibits
There are no requirements for works in progress. Entries for the exhibition are to be 5 megabytes or less and have at least 16 links. Exhibits in the Danish and/or English language are accepted.
Overview of the US Flag over Porch stamp
- by Roland Klinger
Stamps designed by H.H. Kamerlingh Onnes - by Rob Vlaardingerbroek
Romania, As Shown By Its Stamps - by Victor Manta
Slesvig Dansk-tysk posthistorie - by Kristian Kyhl
China - The Land in the Middle - by Ann Mette Heindorff
Håndbog i det Udvordes Postvæsen... - by Henrik Stenbæk
E-mail to all exhibitors
A link to your exhibit is now available at the hafniade.dk site: http://hafniade.dk/en/exhibition.html
Your exhibit was well received in the form of a ZIP file. I have extracted the files contained by the ZIP file and uploaded all files directly to the hafniade.dk server so the entrance page is the page linked to. Please revise if everything looks as it should. Please be aware that all links pointing out of the exhibits (to other servers) have been deactivated.
By skimming the pages I can see that some exhibits have programming errors and those that are easy to correct I have already corrected. Some exhibits are missing files or pictures, those I need to receive very soon, actually I have to receive them saturday October 13, 2001 before 12:00.
Until that time it will be decided in what categories your exhibits will be placed. Since there are only six exhibits contesting some of the categories might not be used. The judge(s) will have a look at the exhibits October 13-14 and will vote before the HAFNIA 01 exhibition opens.
There will be awards for the three best exhibits.
Looking forward to hear from you and to see your exhibits at the HAFNIA 01 exhibition.
With kind regards,
Answer to the official PWO e-mail
First of all I would like to thank you and the other members of the Philatelic Webmasters Organization for your participation in the hafniade.dk site. I have enjoyed to watch your exhibits and have also gotten appreciative comments from the public about the exhibits.
The hafniade.dk site is my idea and I volunteered for the unpaid job as webmaster of this experimental Internet exhibition. Since the site was launched in late May 2001 the creative work of designing and operating the site was in my hands.
To my big disappointment I never got any feedback about hafniade.dk from The Danish Philatelist Federation - such as how they like it, what to improve, how can we help you, etc. My impression of the attitude by the DPF was: "If everything goes well, we can jump on the wagon, if not, it was never really ours in the first place". That is the reason why the site is stuck in a half finished design, because I had about one month of depression during and after my summer vacation. This explains my resigned attitude towards this project - if there is not added fuel to the fire it is simply put out.
The exhibits are unfortunately not going to be judged. In a mail I received two days ago the judge assigned to this project explains this. For you to get an official explanation I want you to address the DPF because I simply do not understand the decision. I have no experience or qualifications in judging exhibits, so the explanation as why the exhibits will not be judged has to be given by someone more competent.
I am very sorry the Internet exhibition project has turned out this way. But I do not think it is fair to expect a single man to keep himself up and running and inspired for five months with absolutely no help, inspiration and feedback from the people who thought this is a good idea and approved to it. And it does not help when one has the feeling that everyone just watches wether you fall or stand through the exercise.
For further questions about the hafniade.dk site I would like you to deal with The Danish Philatelist Federation, since I have have handed in my resignation from this organisation and have no interest in further cooperation with the Danish Philatelist Federation.
The Reaction of some participants
Immediately after the exhibition, in private e-mails
Almost 10 days ago I wrote a message to DFF to bring me in contact with Mr. Kristian Klitgaard about Hafniade, or at least I asked them whether this was possible.
Until now, November 2 2001, 22.00 hours no one even did bother to give me a reply on my question.
I have never seen such an impolite way to deal with people before. And I am very, very sad that DFF thinks that this seems to be a way to treat people.
It is rude and unbelievable in my opinion.
Did you hear anything by now, or are we dealing with a Federation that thinks collectors are some kind of animals that don't need to be bothered with?
I am getting real furious by now, as the DFF is involved, after all one of their people Mr. Kristian Klitgaard made it all possible. Maybe it is time we don't stay polite anymore and start making a lot of noise about how this Federation is treating us. … If Hafniade failed, let them tell us, and be honest and frank. I want nothing from them but a response. If things didn't work out the way they wanted, let them tell us, but not stay silent.
I am not a stupid idiot and I don't want to be treated like that by anyone or any Federation. But this Federation gives me the feeling they do.
The least they can do is say "sorry" or explain what happened.
A copy of this message is going to DFF.
Well done Victor,
I'm not eloquent enough to express our problem so elegant.
To be honest, I'd say in German "wir wurden verarscht", sorry to say but this was a worldwide project and now Paul is lamenting that he hears reactions from all over the world but not from The Danish Philatelic Federation where he handed in his resignation.
A very weird situation.
I wonder why Paul S. doesn't talk … (sorry plaintext) so we all know what happened and can judge ourselves.
Maybe the situation was such that we (as webmasters and hard working people) can easily understand what was upon his soul?
I have been told that Paul Bischoff left the Hafniade-work and "slammed the door". Why? Apparently because he was not appreciated enough for his work!!! He didn't present the sites to the jury, nothing was decided about which classes they would participate in, and they have not been evaluated at all. Personally I find it horrendous - to put it mildly - that he invites people to participate, we accept seriously, and then we are just dropped off without a word of explanation, and with no reactions at all from the Hafnia-staff to emails sent about the question.
Five months later, on RCSD and in private e-mails
Still a lot of frustration, bitterness, and some resignation, please read below
All we can do is to protect ourselves from future mishaps like this, by not participating in any such "open exhibition".
Personally I can live with that, even if I do disagree with the procedures of the Danish Hafniade-administration in this whole case.
If people do not want to talk, or do not want to respond to emails, there is nothing I can do about it. It's their problem, not mine, but leave all involved with a very bad impression of their general behaviour. Therefore I still find it good that this matter has been brought to the public, which I have expressed in my first posting above, in order that others may be warned against the dishonesty of such administration practice in a philatelic exhibition.
In no way I was satisfied, as a matter a fact I was very disappointed, but there are more important things to get upset about in this world than an organization that forgot to make it possible to judge imho.
The problem for me was that though our exhibits could be viewed on Hafniade, there was no possibility to vote, and that was a mistake of.... I don't know
I agree that this whole Hafniade action was extremely unfair. If Mr. Bischoff was not pleased with the reaction HAFNIA officials why didn't he make this out with them instead of venting his wrath on the participants.
I totally reorganized an existing internet site, which easily could have stayed as it was, and invested quite a lot of hours in the new site. I'm nearly 60 now and this HTML stuff is not easily flowing out of my fingers so this takes time.
And now this Mr. Bischoff comes and behaves like a kid in the sand box: "I don't play with you any more!".
And the officials behave like the three apes : no see, no hear, no say. Ok, if they think that's the correct behaviour - let them believe it.
Just to mention that I have worked for the exhibit at least 50 hours (reducing the size of the site, a new menu, splitting in 5 ZIP files, discussions - rather my monologues - with Mr. B., etc.). Und alles war für die Katze!
Of course all of us survived, if not who could narrate the whole story to our successors :-)
it is good that this whole thing has been brought to the public.
Published: 03/18/2002. Revised:
Copyright © 2002 by PWO and
by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved worldwide.