My name is Ralf Hartemink and since 1995 I own and maintain the website Heraldry of the World (www.heraldry-wiki.com). During the years the website has grown into by far the largest heraldry-related website in the world, with 275.000 images and more. The website is a world-reference site for anything to do with civic heraldry (coats of arms of towns, cities, villages etc), as well as religious heraldry (coats of arms of bishops etc) and any other form on non-personal heraldry.
The site is a private site, run solely by me and two other people. Although it uses a wikipedia style, it is purely a private site and funded by me. The site has (as yet) no permanent sponsors.
The site is also a reference site for civic heraldry literature and heraldic collector's items (stamps, postcards etc) and shows the collection of Heraldry of the World. The collection comprises around 50.000 heraldic items and an heraldic library. This ranges from simple sugar packets and stamps, to large historical books.
The heraldry collection probably is the largest private heraldry collection worldwide, the library is the largest on civic heraldry worldwide.
The site and the collection are my hobby, but do take quite some investment. To cover the investment (webspace, setting up a foundation and acquisitions) I started this fundraiser. With a small annual amount of 1500 Euro I can transfer the whole collection into a foundation under Dutch law (+/- 500 Euro), pay the hosting fees (+/- 350 Euro) and make additional acquisitions (rare books for example) to the collection. All acquisitions will be shown on the site.
Eventually I would like to have a special building to host the collection. The collection can then be visited and parts can be loaned to musea and exhibitions. For that a larger budget of 12.000-15.000 Euro annually is needed. So any donations towards that are also very welcome !
Thank you for reading my story and please visit the website to see the site and collection !