11 July 2011

Philofaxy Meeting - Rotterdam - 2 July 2011

So last weekend a group of our friends met up in Rotterdam to get together and share their Filofax experiences. Thank you to Alice for organising the event and to everyone for sending in this rather detailed account of their meet up and additional thanks to Alice for all the photos.  

Meeting Philofaxy Rotterdam

Date: 02.07.2011
Location: Cafe Floor, Schouwburgplein, Rotterdam
Present: Alice, Femke, Judith, Isabel, Eric, Rene

Also present: 12 Filofaxes and Succes organizers, along with a very good looking no-name
Formats present ranged from Pocket up to the A5
In total, another 12 were left at home to “guard the fort”

Rene’s impressions (long version):
I arrived a bit early and hence was first, since I was one of the participants with the shortest routes (about one hour of driving). However, about five minutes later, Alice came in as she had been admiring the Soul group that was playing on a podium just outside the Cafe. (I had so too, these guys were really good!) There was some kind of city festival going on with several locations in the city where musicians were entertaining passers-by. Did I mention there is always something going on in Rotterdam?

Not too long after Alice coming in we were joined by her husband Eric and daughter Isabel. Next to arrive was Femke, followed shortly after by Judith. Paulien unfortunately was unable to make it and so was Steve. We really missed you guys!

Eric observed that actually complete strangers are meeting here and yet I couldn’t say that it felt that way. We shared a common “hobby” and had chatted extensively on Twitter. But that’s definitely proof that we live in the 21st century. The new way of social interaction. But I am straying off topic.

So we settled down, ordered our drinks and out came the organizers. I had only brought my Hunter, as the only other organizer I have (a plastic Samsonite) was nothing to shout about. In my parents place in Austria there are two more, but both are no-names (one of them being my first ever paper organizer, which I bought at Aldi when I got to College).

But the ladies more than made up for what I lacked and their collections were really astonishing. I was impressed by the quality of the red Malden that Femke used as a daily planner, but I especially liked a cocoa brown Finchley that Judith brought along. That would be exactly my taste.

For example I was thrilled to learn that Judith uses a pocket Malden as her purse and main organizer. I am still wondering how she can fit all of her busy life (Running a household is no small feat, I can assure you!) into this small organizer. But she found a way. Amazing...

Lunch was ordered and I have to say the food there is really great. If you’re in Rotterdam, make sure to drop in. Prices are affordable too. Again Cudos for Alice who proposed the place!

Fantastic discussions ensued about accessories, organization methods, color coding, the choice of pens and last but not least the question if you should use one or several planners for your live. But we soon realized that we had way too much to talk about to do any shopping at all, as the first of us would have to leave around 15:30 for other appointments. So came “piling time” and even Isabel was so kind to chip in with her Domino in ultra violet. Thanks again for that!

I had a great time with you folks and I am looking forward to the next meeting, which we intend to have around the same time next year.

Femke’s impressions:
I don’t have much to add to Rene’s write up, because he has written most of it! The one thing that stood out for me was that we all were comfortable with each other, like we did this daily. Like Rene said, we have a common hobby, we felt comfortable with each other from the second we met and the chatter never stopped!

I was impressed by Judith’s ability to fit her whole life in a pocket Malden and that got me thinking of how I should try it again some day, I also loved the A5 Dodo pad that Alice had in her A5 Success and I may buy that to use for my Control Journal. It was great to see how everyone had different ways of organising. I did however decide that next year I will be using Cotton Cream paper, oh the luxury of it!

I certainly had some “AHA” moments. I was impressed by Rene’s 4 colour pen and the slim Pilot Frixion Judith carried in her pocket Malden (the only thing that annoys me with the Malden, my normal Pilot Frixion doesn’t fit in the pen loop!).

Time flew by and we certainly had enough to talk about to last us a few days, but it was time to say goodbye (for now!). I was kinda glad that we didn’t go shopping so I could stick to my shopping ban (I don’t know if I would’ve lasted if we did!), but I’m quite excited to go shopping next time we meet up. Because there will definitely be a next time, I had a blast!

Alice’s impressions:
Thanks to Rene for starting this summary!

We had a great time and this proves that meeting strangers can sometimes lead to many laughs!

Thanks to Judith, I finally got to see a Deco in real life. I have been toying with the idea to buy one but since I never saw one, held one, the price was too high to “gamble.” Now I know what it looks like and yes, the odds are in the Deco’s favour!

I loved the plastic index cards that Femke uses to make sub-tabs behind her standard tabs. The plastic tabs she uses allow her to split up a general section such as “notes” into categories. Isabelle and I loved them. Generous as Femke is, she gave her spare tabs to Isabelle and I thank her for that. Judith gave everyone a small notepad she had gotten online. It is a small pad that allows for scribbles but it does not block the whole page.

Rene’s use of his senior Succes “Hunter” is basically according to the philosophy “one life one organizer” and his is well organized! He makes copious notes and lists but has the discipline to check off his to-do lists and remove passed calendar months from his organizer to keep it neat.

Femke and Judith have organizers dedicated to a specific theme or need. That made me think about the way I use my four books. I have one A5 “one life in almost one organizer” but need three other books for different purposes. My A5 Filofax Sketch serves to store supplies and older pages removed from my A5 Succes “Dolce Vita.” However, it also serves as the book in which I write notes when I study a law book. My leather “no name” personal Filofax from the 80s serves to help me organize the cases I work on. It now has two sections with cases to research and those I just need to update. Both have ABC-tabs with different sheets being it to make notes. Since it serves as a reminder to me I use up all different kinds of (personal size) paper in this book. My “store brand” personal organizer will become the family address book. We have a not-updated one next to the phone and of course, address lists on smart phones, laptops, etc. I intend to collect all addresses, compare them, update and make one big book of addresses!

We will most definitely do this meet-up again and now that we have met, a shopping spree will be easier to organize. We most definitely will stay in touch via Twitter and of course, Philofaxy. I think some of us are on LinkedIn as well. I hope that when we have the next get-together, I will be in the Netherlands (I live in the USA) so I can come too.

Thanks Judith, Femke and Rene for a great Saturday!

Judith’s impressions:
Originally my train journey would have taken me 2 hours, but since there was some maintenance going on, I had to take a bus for the first part of the journey, so the total time amounted to 2.5 hours. Not that I minded! I had my Happiness Project book to keep me company, and on the train there’s free Wifi. Glad I didn’t forget to bring my iPod! ;-)

I didn’t find the Cafe at once, but as long as I have my mouth, I will get everywhere (LOL). When I entered, there were some people at a table waving at me. With Filofax binders! Phew, I arrived at the right place thus!

It was most peculiar that I sat down at a table with people I had never met before, and we all started chatting as if we met at this place at least once a week for the past several years. Amazing! I had a great time, and time really flew by. Lunch was very nice (I had a very yummy salad!), the cappuchino was perfect as well.

I loved how serious Isabelle was about her own Electric Blue Domino. She made a list of the shops and brands we mentioned, where she could buy coloured Personal sized note paper. I think this 10 year old will look into a very bright and successful future!

Obviously, the comparison and browsing through the various Filofaxes was so much fun. Something a non-organisational freak would never be able to truly understand. My DH for one thinks this is the weirdest thing since the invention of Blood Icecream (which - believe it or not - was actually produced last year! Yikes!).

Although Alice’s husband took off to the book store at some point, he did share and contribute to many discussions about the virtues of planners vs phones. And we all learned so much about life in the USA along the lines! Especially, about lack of postal services LOL.

I already promised Steve, that there was a Guest Post on my Pocket Malden in the making. Tomorrow is the kids’ last school day, and I plan to reserve some time to write this post.  [Steve: Yes please!]

Anyway, at 15.30 h everybody had to go someplace else, and Femke and I walked to the Railway Station together, before I started my 2.5 hour journey back. Again, time flew by, and I felt really elevated by this meeting. I am so looking forward to the London meetup in September! And I would love to meet my Dutch fellow-Philofaxers in July 2012 again!

It looks like you had a great time in Rotterdam. Thank you once again for your detailed account of the event and all the pictures. 


  1. I found some interesting things at the site of the referenced “success” planner website.

    Look at these two colourful faxes….

    Other faxes have great designs in the leather. Only downside appears to be the rings, though it looks to be fixed onto a plate which means it can probably be easily exchanged with a set of Filofax rings.

    Here is a section where they have some free downloads.


  2. Thanks for the meet-up reports. Looks like you had a great time (& I adore the selection of Filofaxes on the table!).

  3. Loved reading the meeting notes! Pictures of the traveling Filofaxes were fantastic. :)

  4. thanks for sharing - sounds like a great time! looking forward to the mid-west one...

  5. Sounds like everyone had a great time! I'm looking forward to the next NYC meet up, taking place in August or September. Thanks for sharing!


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