Participation Bandung 2017
international exhibiting after 30 years MFN

When the Dutch Motorcycle Philatelist club (MFN) was established in 1987 I was collecting stamps with motorcycles for a few years. At that moment I had already had the opportunity to admire the fine collections of Jan Termaaten in Maarn and Hans de Kloet in Hilversum. With the establishment of the MFN the knowledge about motorcycle stamps expanded. The collection grew accordingly. After starting with the acquisition of the well-known, cheaper stamps, the less known and more expensive stamps followed.
Slowly I realized that the collection became "too expensive" to store it in albums in the cupboard. A pity not to do anything more with it. When we saw in Den Haag the gold awarded collection of Tom Peltonen, the seed was planted in me to start participation in expositions. After years of thinking about a good design I registered in 1993, just after the first lustrum of the MFN, for the propganda exposition in Diemen.

It was possible to get advice from the jury, and I gratefully used this opportunity. With their advice in mind several things were adapted, and in 1995 I participated for the first time in a competition exhibition.

With Grand Silver (62 points) the result was more than reasonable for a 3rd category exhibition. The good advices from especially Piet Alderliesten would bear fruit. During Jubpostaal, where I left by the way with the largest cup, I earned 71 points, which allowed participation in category 2. At Themafilex in Amsterdam the border of 75 points was amply reached (77 points) with which participation in category 1 (national exhibitions) was secured.
After that I have participated alternately in category 2 and 1, and not earlier than in 2004 during the exhibition in Rosmalen my score was amply above 80 points. Look how plan and page filling have been improved:

Over the years the number of comments and points of attention from the jury on the score form was nicely reduced. From that time on I only participated in category 1. When title, division in chapters and elaboration by showing the correct philatelic material and good supporting text about the story of the motorcycle nicely corresponded, 90 (of the possible 100) points were scored for the first time during Veendamfila 5.
During all these years the MFN had nicely grown. From the 25 collectors who subscribed in 1987, to more than 100. By the nice website the number of foreigners who became a member also increased. Around 2002 that growth started, and at this moment our membership file counts a fair amount of members outside the Netherlands. This raised a few times the question whether we should make the newsletter in English. It had been decided that we are a Dutch club, and thus issue our newsletter in the Dutch language.
I had to make the same choice for my exposition. When I wanted to participate in the future outside of the Netherlands, it would be preferable to write the text in English. Thus all texts were translated and all pages made new. In 2007 everything was nicely converted to English, and the first participation in a foreign exhibition coincided with the 20st anniversary of the MFN. Eurothema, a competition between 5 European countries of which the 3 highest scoring expositions counted for the classification. Together with Danny Jimmink, "Step by step to dancing" (87 points) and Dirk Speksnijder, "Washington" (80 points) and my person, "Motorcycle nostalgia and use" (85 points) we won the cup.

During this exhibition I got acquainted with Anton van Deutekom, exhibitor and member of the jury. Without any doubt his advices have helped me to improve my collection. Next to Anton, I also got in to contact with John Hayward, the English collector of motorcycle stamps who provided me with tips. Apart from many contacts, this brought me a very nice porcelain lamp. Ten years later this lamp is still shining in the Helling house.

Now the first foreign step was set, more trips outside the country followed. Consequence was that after each talk with juries adaptations had to be made. Modifications of the plan or chapter division, which have consequences for the elaboration on the pages. Or replacement of stamps by other philatelic material (postal stationary, stamp booklets, test prints, postmarks etc.) required modification of pages. And off course much new material that had to be fitted in, which made the number of pages grow from 72 (6 frames with 12 pages) to 96 (6 frames with 16 pages).

In between we celebrated in the nice clubhouse of MC Wombarg our 25th anniversary. Together with the members we made a cheerful afternoon, ending with a barbecue. Good to exhange some stamps afterwards with our fat fingers.

The 25 year MFN jubilee at MC Wombarg

Every second year the ECTP is organized in Essen, the European Championship Thematic Philately, or like Hans de Kloet tried to explain it to a few Schalke fans: the World Championship thematic stamp collecting in Europe. And while these fans are mad anyhow, this caused total confusion. You could see them think "let's have a beer first". The 87 points of the first time were followed by 88 points during the 2nd participation. Often palmares dinners, the announcements of the achieved results, are held in beautiful buildings. in Essen the Schloss Borbeck is the place to meet.

In the meantime several classifications above 90 points made that I am not allowed anymore to participate in competitions within the Netherlands. Thus condemned to foreign countries. In 2014 I went up to Malmö (Sweden). On the motorcycle over "the bridge" from Denmark to Sweden, not a small one.

The bridge to Sweden

My Triumph at the "Twisted Tower" in Malmö

After that, in 2016, on to Bad Mondorff (Luxembourg). Although both participations did not deliver a golden award, they delivered enough starting points to accept the challenge to participate, after 25 years of exposing and in the year when the MFN celebrates its 6th lustrum, for the first time in an international exhibition. It became Bandung, Indonesia. For the members who know me quite well it will be clear that my exposition had to make this travel without me. Planes and me are not close friends.

Because Bandung is an International exhibition, I had to choose between 5 or 8 frames. Or in other words 80 or 128 pages. For financial reasons it became 5 frames (every frame costs almost 100 US dollar). This made that I had to cut on a few places in the story. I had to make an overview of the collection, with per page the number of stamps and other philatelic material. After that I put everything, per frame, in envelops and handed it over in Utrecht to the national commissioner. For Bandung there were 460 participants with 2200 frames, together more than 35000 A4-sheets (!!). In the meantime I have my collection back at home. Together with the classification: 83 points (of the maximum 100), Gilt Silver. Not bad but a bit disappointing, and perhaps the cutting in the story was the reason for this.

Plan and title page Bandung

But that golden medal ogles at the horizon. Just like the MFN after all this time, helped by all new possibilities, still sees a future for itself and its members, I also think that I can make improvements to my collection in the near future. The plans are ready. In 2018 there is again an international exhibition in Malmö and in 2019 there is a next edition of the ECTP in Essen on the program.

At the next official jubilee (40 years MFN) I hope that I can be proud on this lustrum, together with a high classification of my collection.


Nico Heling



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