"Nørbyhus" - Once upon a (short) Time a Sponsor for
Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately!

In December 1995 I made Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately an offer and asked them
if they would like to have a little promoting page at my home page on the WWW.

By Toke Nørby


Once upon a time - this is the beginning of many adventures you can read in books. It could also be the beginning of a little world wide web adventure that lasted just a little more than three months. Believe it or not - in the spring of 1996 I was sponsor for the Danish Post - probably a situation that never before had occurred to the Danish Post and never will occur again!

In August 1995 I launched my first home page on a web server at the University of Aarhus, Denmark and the URL was http://www.fi.aau.dk/~tn/ - later, on 3 March 1998, the name changed to http://www.fi.au.dk/~tn/ and the final move took place when I bought my own domain name http://www.norbyhus.dk/ which was active from 27 October 1998.

Of course I had some ideas of what I would put on my web pages - useful (if possible!) information on my main interests: Danish stamps and Danish postal history. Also, as many of you in 1995 found there were only very few postal authorities represented on the web - the Danish Post neither, I had an idea to offer the Danish Post a little space on my site.

At that time I had already a little page describing the Danish Postal and Telegraph Museum in Copenhagen AND a little page describing the Post and Telegraph Collections in Aarhus.

So, as I since 1975, have had very good connections to many employees at the Danish Post who had helped me (and still do) in my research of Danish stamp- and postal history, I, in December 1995, sent a letter to the director of the "Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately"-department offering some space for Post Denmark:

Fr. Lis Birkedal
(address left out)


Kære Lis,

Da det lader til at Post Danmark ikke foreløbig har tænkt sig at blive tilkoblet Internettet (forstå det, hvem der kan) vil jeg tilbyde dig, at "Frimærker og Filateli" kan få en "underside" til min "homepage" på World Wide Web, hvor jeg bl.a. gør lidt reklame for postmuseet i København samt "De Post- og Telegrafhistoriske Samlinger" i Aarhus.

Har du interesse i dette tilbud, som ikke vil koste jer noget, kan du evt. sætte jeres PR-afdeling i gang med at lave en engelsk tekst ligesom jeg gerne afbilder et enkelt frimærke efter dit valg (det kunne jo være "dit frimærke"!).

Indholdet må du selvfølgelig bestemme. Når/hvis I kommer på World Wide Web, vil en henvisning til jeres "homepage" være tilstrækkeligt. Indtil da lægger jeg gerne plads til en 'reklame' for jer. (Du kan jo også finde noget makulatur, som jeg kan afbilde!)

Tænk på det og lad mig det vide, hvis det har din interesse.

De venligste hilsener, god jul samt et godt nytår til jer begge.

(Private address left out)
E-mail: tn@fi.aau.dk
Homepage: http://www.fi.aau.dk/~tn/

The text in English (in short):

Dear Lis,

As it seems that Post Danmark not at the moment are thinking of getting connected to the Internet (believe it who can) I would like to make you the offer that "Frimærker og Filateli" can have a web page at my home page on the World Wide Web, on which I - among some other things make publicity for The Post Museum in Copenhagen and "De Post- and Telegrafhistoriske Samlinger" in Aarhus.

If you like this offer - which of course is totally free - you may let your advertising department make some text in English and I can as well show a stamp of your choice (that could be "your stamp"!)1.

You can of course decide what the content of that page must be. When/if you later get connected to the World Wide Web, I will just make a link to your pages instead. Until then I will be pleased to give you some publicity. (Eventually you can find some waste stamps I can show!)

Think it over and let me know if my offer is interesting for you.

Best regards, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to both of you.


My offer was accepted and on 3 January 1996 by Peder Sundgaard, director of the "Post Danmark, Frimærker og Filateli" sales department, who wrote me:

Connected to "The Net"

Dear Toke Nørby,

Thank you for your letter to Lis Birkedal regarding our eventually participation on the Internet. Unfortunately it is correct that Post Denmark not yet has been connected to then "Net" and until then, we are pleased to accept your kind offer to be present at your home page.

I have enclosed a brochure from which the English text can be taken and also I have enclosed a not yet issued stamp for illustration. The English text can be followed by our address, telephone and fax numbers which you can see from the brochure.

If you have expenses scanning the stamps etc. we will of course reimburse you.

Thank you for the offer.

Kind regards
Peder Sundgaard"

As a result of all this the very first Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately page was uploaded on 6 January 1996!

Peder Sundgaard's Letter


The very first "Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately" Page. See the first page here.
I wrote back and promised to keep the, at that time, not issued stamps in my safe - after having made a scan of them. I still have these particular stamps! but not in my safe any more, though.

From the page you can see that the counter at the bottom was installed on 15 January and not on the 6th January. The counter you see is not active and therefore I have "reset" it. I remember that the response was not overwhelming! But, a few actually found the page and asked for more information. That changed dramatically when I on 9 February posted a message on the so-called STAMPS-list, a usenet list for stamp collectors and on the news-group rec.collecting.postal-history:

Subject: New Web-site for 'Post Denmark'
Date sent: Fri, 9 Feb 1996 15:43:18 MET+0200

Hi All,

I am pleased to inform you that the Danish Postal Authority

'Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately',

who still not is connected to the Internet, have accepted to have a
'Homepage' in connection to my homepage. You, if interested in
Danish stamps, are therefore invited to take a look at the URL:


for further information.

Thank you.
Toke Norby

It was quite amusing to read one of the responses on that information on the news-group rec.collecting.postal-history:

Newsgroup: rec.collecting.postal-history Article: 450
From: Paul Albright <PaulAlbright@wiche.edu> Subject:Re: New Web-site for 'Post Denmark'!
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 1996 16:28:16 GMT

Congratulations to Toke! I think a number of Americans on this list will
smile at this circumstance in which a single, private individual (Toke)
is advancing the mission of an entire federal governmental agency (Danish
postal service). Can you imagine anything like that occurring in the USA?

Paul Albright
WICHE Communications
PO Drawer P
Boulder, CO 80301-9752 (USA)
Telephone: 303-541-0273
Fax: 303-541-0291 or 0277
E-mail: PaulAlbright@wiche.edu
Web: http://www.wiche.edu/

Now between 2-5 people every day asked for more information and I just took a print of their mails and sent them to "Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately" so they could serve their hopefully new customers! I also answered to their mails to inform them that I had forwarded their requests. Obviously I did not ask Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately for anything for all this fun, so "Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately" kindly sent me a package with 500 A4 pieces of paper for my printer and some special envelopes so I could send in the printed letters without paying the postage fee!

Before I received the special envelopes from "Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately" I just wrote "Postsag" on the place where we normally affix the stamps ("Postsag" means that the letter was concerning the post and such letters were free of charge). One of the letters marked "Postsag" was put aside by a postman and marked "insufficiently franked" and I got a bill that covered the normal franking plus a fine! When I explained to them what the content of that letter was, they immediately trashed the bill!

The Second "Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately" Page. See the second page here.
On 19 February 1996 I received information and some stamps (I never used these stamps and still have them in my files!) on the new sport stamps to be issued on 21 March and I uploaded the second Post Denmark page on 22 February 1996. Again, I informed about the new page on the Stamps-List and on the news group rec.collecting.postal-history.

"Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately" told me that they were amazed about and happy for the feed back from their "pages". Peder Sundgaard informed me in March that they had talked to a firm about letting them do the same as I was doing - but he told me that he still wanted me as "webmaster" as long as they did not have their own pages! Probably this service from the firm was not free as my work was! So on 8 May 1996 I could launch a new page:

The Third "Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately" Page See the third page here.
This page was uploaded only one day before the three new stamps were issued on 9 May 1996: a EUROPE stamp and two stamps of "Famous Danish Women": Karen Blixen and Asta Nielsen. As usual, I informed about the new page on the Stamps-List and on the news group rec.collecting.postal-history.


The fun had to come to an end
On 15 May 1996 The University of Aarhus issued some rules for web-servers at the university as the agreement between the Internet Provider and the University that only non-commercial activity was allowed on the web servers. As my Post Denmark pages _could_ be looked upon as _commercial pages_ I decided to ask the university to get permission to keep the Post Denmark pages up - of course pointing out that I did not get even 1 øre (Danish currency = 0.15 US cent :-) for this fun. It took some days to get the answer as my pages were not real commercial pages but to be sure that the university would not get into any conflict with their internet provider, the university wrote me:

Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 13:44:09 +0100
To: tn@fi.aau.dk
From: iogkaf@aau.dk (Anders Froelund)
Subject: web-sider

Kaere Toke Norby.
Jeg har nu diskuteret dine (i oevrigt flotte) sider med Postdanmark-frimaerker
med et par kolleger og vi er enige om at henstille til dig at fjerne siden
~tn/postdk.html, da den strider med universitetets aftale med Denet og Uni-c om
ikke-kommerciel virksomhed. De oevrige frimaerkesider, som du har lavet, betragter
vi som *en frynsegode*. Du er velkommen til at ringe til mig, hvis du har sporgsmaal
eller kommentarer hertil.

Med venlig hilsen

Anders Frølund

Anders Froelund, Informations- og Kontaktcentret, Aarhus Universitet
Gustav Wieds Vej 10C, DK-8000 Aarhus C
tlf: 8942 2343, fax: 8620 1222, e-mail: iogkaf@aau.dk

Dear Toke Norby,
With a few colleagues I have now discussed your (by the way very nice) pages regarding the Post Denmark Stamps and we came to agree in that we kindly will ask you to remove the page ~tn/postdk.html, as it is against the agreement between the University and DEnet and UNI-C about non-commercial business. We look upon the other stamp pages as a benefit as an employee at the university. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments to this.

Yours sincerely
Anders Frølund

I was not in doubt: I immediately removed the page and informed Post Denmark about the university's decision. Post Denmark fully understood that I had to stop promoting the Danish stamps this way. I also informed my friends "out there":

Sender: The Stamps List <STAMPS@PSUVM.PSU.EDU>
From: Toke Norby <tn@fi.aau.dk>
Organization: Inst. of Physiology, Uni. of Aarhus
Subject: The Post Denmark Page Has Been Re,oved!
To: Multiple recipients of list STAMPS <STAMPS@PSUVM.PSU.EDU>

Aarhus 25 May 1996

Dear Friends,

The Post Denmark page has been removed! The University of Aarhus has on 15 May 1996 issued
regulations regarding World Wide Web pages stored on computers belonging to the University and
my page for Post Denmark was in conflict with Section 2 in these regulations:

Thus, it is not allowed to carry out commercial trade or to advertise for commercial business
through the WWW servers at the University, unless the business has a direct connection to the
University or its activities.

Therefore, the Web Master of Aarhus University kindly asked me to remove this page which I of
course did. So, this fun lasted only for four months and 10 days! but the page had then been
visited by about 700 people and 150 collectors have e-mailed me for more information!

If you on your homepage kindly have linked to this specific URL for the "Official Site of
Post Denmark": http://www.fi.aau.dk/~tn/postdk.html, I therefore ask you to remove this URL.
Thank you.

Please do not remove my own URL from your page: http://www.fi.aau.dk/~tn/ :-)

Best regards
Toke Norby

Toke Norby. tn@fi.aau.dk URL: http://www.fi.aau.dk/~tn
       Department of Physiology, Ole Worms Alle 160,
    University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


Post Denmark's own Home Page
Of course it did not take long before "Post Denmark, Stamps & Philately" launched their own pages so five month later, I sent this to the Stamps List:

Sender: The Stamps List <STAMPS@PSUVM.PSU.EDU>
From: Toke Norby <tn@fi.aau.dk>
Subject: New WWW Page for Post Denmark
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 12:15:22 MET+0200

Dear Friends!
I am pleased to announce that today (18 November 1996) the Post Denmark
WWW-page was active for the first time! Please take a look at:


(Danish text only - at the moment)
Toke Norby

I can't show you their first page as the socalled WayBack-Machine's first PostDanmark page is from 29.04.1997, but have a look at it: An early PostDanmark, Stamps and Philately-page


And that's where we are today!
Well, I only have an amusing little episode left to tell you: on the new Post Denmark pages there was a possibility to write to them to gather information or order stamps and as I would like to congratulate them with their pages I sent an e-mail:

From: Toke Norby <tn@fi.aau.dk>
To: postboks3@mail.postdanmark.dk
Subject: Tillykke med ny Homepage
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 16:23:44 MET+0200

Hej Lis/Peder (eller hvem, der nu "åbner" posten!)
Tillykke med den fine side! Jeg sendte allerede i går besked ud på "frimærke"-nettet, at I nu er "på"
og flere har allerede fortalt mig, at de har oprettet link til jer.

De spørger selvfølgelig om hvornår der kommer en engelsk version også. Kan I sige noget om det?

Venligste hilsener

Hi Lis/Peder (whoever opens this mail)
Congratulations on the nice page. Already yesterday I sent the information that you are "on" now to the "Stamps"-net and several have already told me that they have linked to your page.

Of course they ask when you will launch a similar page with English text?

Best regards

About two weeks later, I received their answer:

Date: Thu, 05 Dec 1996 13:12:17 -0800
From: Post Danmark <skrivtil@mail.postdanmark.dk>
To: tn@fi.aau.dk
Subject: (no subject)

Kære Toke Nørby
På grund af tekniske komplikationer har Post Danmark på beklagelig vis mistet din bestilling af
diverse materiale fra vores homepage. Post Danmark vil selvfølgelig meget gerne sende dig det
ønskede materiale, men for at det er muligt, må vi endnu engang bede dig udfylde en ny bestilling.

På forhånd tak for ulejligheden.

Med venlig hilsen
Charlotte Brandt Søndergaard

Dear Toke Nørby
Due to technical complications Post Denmark regrettably has lost your order of various material from our home page. Of course Post Denmark would like to send you the wanted material but this is only possible if you will order it one more time.

Thank you in advance for your trouble

Yours sincerely
Charlotte Brandt Søndergaard

What else could I say than: Brave New World :-)

By the way: I must tell you that the address given on my three Post Denmark pages from 1996 has later changed - so have their telephone numbers: See Post Denmark