Israeli Philatelists ‘on top of the world’ in Finland

It was a great honour and privilege to represent Israel as its commissioner to Finlandia 2017 the largest and most important philatelic event in Europe this year.

Fig 1. Finlandia 2017

The exhibition had FEPA patronage and FIP recognition with 43 participating countries, 2 248 exhibition frames, 65 philatelic literature entries and over 50 dealer stands.

Fig 2. Tampere Hall, flags of participating countries

The largest exhibition in Finland since the Finlandia 88, FIP exhibition.

Fig 3. International Commissioners

2017 is a celebration of the Republic of Finland’s Independence Centenary. The exhibit belongs to the Finland 100 Projects of the Finnish Council of  State with the President of the Republic Sauli Niinisto Patron of the exhibition. Finlandia 2017 which was held from the 24 to 28th May , broke new ground as Picture Postcards was introduced for the first time as a competition class at international level. Exhibitors were invited to send scans of their exhibits enabiling the international jury to evaluate the exhibits prior and during the exhibition electronically with i pads. We were very proud that Eli Webber was appointed International Jury Team Leader.

Fig 4. International Jury

I am very grateful to our Federation for nominating me as commissioner and to our exhibitors for entrusting  me with their valuable and unique exhibits. We had 5 magnificent exhibits which totaled 33 frames. I was joined by our Israeli delegation which included Eli & Gila Webber, Yigal & Sharona Nathaniel and Yoram Lubianiker.

Fig 5. Israeli delegation

I found the Organizing Committee to be very helpful and professional, being a non EU country, our customs declaration was furnished electronically via a phone call through ‘the cloud’ this procedure went very smoothly. The exhibition was held in the beautiful city of Tampere, which is  approximately 160 kilometeres north of Helsinki. The exhibition was held in the magnificent Tampere Hall, which was in walking distance from our hotel. The Opening Ceremony was a very impressive event which included representation from the Ministry of Transport & Communications, the Mayors office of Tampere, with a very talented Sympaatti Youth Choir accompanied by the Pirkanmaan Music Institute Symphony Orchestra. Other outings included a visit to the Finnish Postal Museum, where we marveled at gems from the collections of Queen Elizabeth 11 and the Finnish Postal Museum. A reception at Tampere Old City Hall with a view of the finest Finnish artwork and an address from the Deputy Mayor Leena Kostiainen. A Gala Concert which was held at the main auditorium with the very talented and world renouned  Pirkanmaa Wind Orchestra.

The Palmares dinner was held at the Scandic Rosendahl Hotel, it was a very lavish event and included the Award Ceremony of Large Gold and Gold medals as well as the Grand Prix Prizes.

Fig 6. Plmares Yoram Lubianiker

Fig 7. Palmares Les Glassman

We can be extremely proud of our exhibitors who excelled. Yoram Lubianiker received Gold 92 points with SP (treatment) from Nicos Rangos of Cyprus for “Chess – The Game of War.”

Fig 8. Palmares Dinner Yigal & Sharona Netanel

Itamar Karpovsky received Gold 92 points for ‘’Foreign Post Offices in Palestine 1850 – 1914.’’ Les Glassman received Gold 90 points for ‘’Mocambique and Mocambique Company’’ Shlomo Shtern received LV 88 points for ‘’The Road to Jerusalem’’. Shlomo was placed joint third out of 47 One Frame exhibits. Izhak Barak received LV 87 points for ‘’The Development of Aviation and Transportation of Mail by Air until 1914.’’  The Israel Philatelic Special Prize, a beautiful model of Jerusalem was awarded to Nicholas Kirke from the UK  for his exhibit  ‘’The Progression of New York City Foreign Mail Cancels 1845 -1878.’’  Joseph Hackmey was awarded the Grand Prix International for his ‘’Classic Romania’’ exhibit.

Personal reflections :

Finland is located at the top of the world, with its deep green forests, rolling hills and glittering lakes, it has been ranked the most stable country in the world and has the best quality of life in the EU, I found the people to be very warm and helpful. may Finns who saw me wearing a kippa, came up to me and told me how much they love Israel and the Jewish People. I developed many new fiends and a week after the exhibition two families from Tampere came to visit our home in Jerusalem. I am indebted to our wonderful Israeli delegation, who gave me tremendous support in every way, we realy felt like mishpocha, family when we lit the Shabbos candles and said Kiddush at 10 30 pm! I would like to thank Yoram for helping me and especially for walking with me on Shabbat to the Palmares  in the rain.

To the Organizing Committee of Finlandia 2017, words cannot express my sincere appreciation for a wonderful and very successful exhibition, which i will always fondly remember.

Thank You very much –  Kiitos Paljon.

Fig 9. Yoram Lubianiker with Nicos Rangos Special Prize

About the Author
Dr. Les Glassman practices dentistry in Jerusalem, where he also lives. Married with two daughters, Dr. Glassman made aliyah in 1994 from Johannesburg, South Africa. He is the Wits University alumni representative in Israel, as well as the international representative for Stephan Welz & Co (previously Sotheby's) Philatelic Commissioner, representing Israel in South Africa, Indonesia, Australia, Slovenia and Greece.
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