of North Rhine-Westphalia
Welcome to Essen! I am very pleased that the International Stamp Exhibition 2023 will take place here in North Rhine-Westphalia, in the middle of the Ruhr region, a region that is known far beyond the borders of our state. The "Pott" with its impressive history, its magnificent buildings and industrial monuments, cities and landscapes has also long been honoured with numerous stamps. We are proud of this, too.
After all, stamps are much more than a small piece of jagged and beautifully printed paper, much more than a - attention, officialese! - "postage stamp" on mail of all kinds. Often they are true works of art in the smallest of spaces, with a great message and effect, if I only think of the welfare stamps. Stamps are always a mirror of their time, of our society, of our culture. They depict in many ways what has shaped a country and what moves its people. They commemorate great historical events or personalities whose words and works still captivate us today and who can be role models for us. The motifs on these small jagged stamps are as diverse and large as the world we live in. And all over the world they are collected and presented with great pride.
The International Stamp Exhibition shows all this in an impressive way. That it brings together people from all over the world in the process is particularly gratifying. Of course, such a high-profile event is about more than just collecting and admiring, exchanging and trading. A look at the programme with several special shows - one of them with the unfortunately topical theme "100 Years of Hyperinflation" - and a German-American Salon, a special youth programme and exhibitions in no less than 15 different classes shows how serious and always close to the pulse of time things are also in the big wide world of stamps.
I wish you exciting impressions, great finds and a good time here in North Rhine-Westphalia. By the way, it is exactly 30 years since a Bundespost stamp with the motif of our state was published at a postage value of 100 pfennigs. But that's really going too far now ...
Hendrik Wüst MdL