Friday, 10 September 2010

Stationery Store Series: P.W. Akkerman, Amsterdam

The pen and stationery shop of P.W.Akkerman (since 1927) in the centre of Amsterdam is the apex of European refinement. Its pen-ware reclines gracefully behind tall, illuminated glass cabinets: Mont Blanc, Sheaffer, Parker, Parker Duofold, Cross, Waterman, Visconti, Sailor fountain pens are displayed to ultimate effect under soft, white spotlights. Minuscule price tags are attached to each by means of a soft string.

This gloriously lit pen magnificence is presided by two ladies in precise hairdos and perfect manicures. Under their supervision is also a vast collection of luxury leather goods, writing folders and organizers, notebooks (incl. Rhodia and Moleskine) and inks (Private Reserve, Waterman, Lamy, Mont Blanc, Sailor, Pelikan, Parker, Visconti).

Dare one disturb the graceful display of objects - is one's hands clean enough to handle them? I am certain that the well-manicured ladies would obligingly unlock the heavenly-lit cabinets and hand me the object of my desire for my perusal. Should I bring to them a wounded pen needing repair I am certain that they would lovingly nurse it back to health (without a drop of ink ever staining their immaculate fingers).

In P.W.Akkerman's stationery store the pens strike me as lying in state isolated in their illuminated magnificence and I feel a Jean Baudrillard coming on: "For all their multiplicity, objects are generally isolated as to their function, and it is the user who is responsible as his needs dictate, for their coexistence in a functional context." I leave the magnificent pens isolated under the white light and I head for Anne Frank's House - the site of the cremated pen.

P.W. Akkerman is at

Kalverstraat 148
1012 XB Amsterdam

P.W. Akkerman can be found online.


  1. I'm always a bit intimidated by shops like this. You expect the shop assistants to don white gloves to handle the precious pens.

  2. Yes, yes, they almost do! It is the temple of pens.

  3. O this is a great shop! I live near Amsterdam and this is where I buy my stuff. The ladies are nice and willing to help, but there are also two men sometimes who I think are father and son and I think they know more about their items. I suspect they might be Akkerman sr and jr.

  4. Paulien, I would have loved to meet Mssrs Akkerman. Maybe next time!

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