13 April 2016

FAQ: Van der Spek

I often get asked questions on a regular basis about different brands of organisers, so I am going to bring them together in to an easy to understand and a format that we can keep up to date easily. Today's post we look at Van der Spek.

Company History
Van der Spek have been making leather goods for more than 90 years with the 3rd and 4th generations of the family continuing the traditions of high quality and craftsmanship produced items. In addition to the family, the small team is made up of craftsmen and women with many years of experience. Their market was predominately in the Netherlands, but it is now a truly world wide company with customers in every continent of the world.

Company Details. 

Company: Van der Spek Lederwaren

Location:  Van der Spek LederwarenLaning 2
3297 TB Puttershoek
Tel: +31 78 676 4777

Email: website@vdslederwaren.nl
Website: http://www.vdsshop.com

Facebook page: Van der Spek Lederwaren
Facebook groupVan der Spek Organiser Fans

Product details. 

Leather is sourced from within Europe and all Custom organisers, Nomad TN covers and Codex Notebook covers are made in house at Puttershoek by the Van der Spek team.

Custom models typically take 3-4 weeks to be made and delivered as they are made to order, therefore each one is unique to the customers requirements within certain design parameters.

Custom models can have various options added to the basic designs such as back pockets, additional pen loops, etc.

With custom models you select the interior and exterior leather/colour as well as the colour of the interior and exterior stitching. There is a very wide range of leathers in different finishes and colours available. The range of leather is constantly being expanded to meet the needs and desires of the customers.

You can decide if you want stiffener between the exterior and interior leather included. You can also opt to not include the foam between the layers, just request this in the special requirement message on your order.

Further customisations are available, please contact Petra Van der Spek at the email address shown above.

The Touch Me range are mass produced for Van der Spek by a company overseas, but to a high standard. These are available off the shelf.

Van der Spek use Krause rings in all of their organisers, these are also available for separate purchase should you want to upgrade other brands of organiser, but check the photo on the website to ensure they are compatible with the ones you are replacing.

·      What is the maximum paper thickness can you use in the rings?:
  • Mini 15mm rings – max 11mm
  • Junior 16mm rings – max 12mm
  • Junior 20mm rings – max 14mm
  • Senior 20mm rings – max 14mm
  • Senior 25mm rings – max 19mm
  • Standard 25mm rings – max 19mm
  • Standard 30mm rings – max 24mm
  • Manager A5 25mm rings – max 19mm
  • Manager A5 35mm rings – max 29mm

Italian leather
18… leathers. These leathers are finished and are easy to keep clean. These leathers are hand dyed, which gives the leather different colour shades. The leather is made from the neck and front legs of the cow (also named as avancorpi) which gives the hide a beautiful natural grain.

NAPPA leathers:
The 62… leathers + Barbie + velato are naked leathers. There is no finish on the leather. They have a two tone effect on the hide. It is more natural looking, but please note that they are more sensitive to water and dirt.

The other nappa leathers with the names (except Barbie and velato) do have the finish and the skins are always in one plain colour. The finish means it is easier to clean and also more durable.

Janet leather:
These leathers cost 10% more than all the other colours.

The original Janet leather is the brown one #104. This leather is sensitive for water and dirt since it also does not have any finish, just an open structure.

So you have to love leather that will change and get a patina look as well.

And we also have 4 other colours in look-a-like Janet leather. These leather can handle water and are more durable.

Print leathers like croco, ostrich and LV. These are cow leathers with a print. They’re all very durable and easy to clean.

Undyed leather:
Very sensitive for all you can think of ;), water, dirt, even sunlight! This leather will change really fast! So you have to love it!

Inside leathers like: 05-08-09 ….. These leather are thinner and have wrinkles in the leather, that is the reason we only use them for the inside. It is a finished leather, so it is also easy to keep clean.

All the leathers we use are full grain leather, top quality! They do not treat their leathers.

Leather skins do come from cattle that live in the open air and under various conditions. So the leather is subject to all kinds of natural defects, neck pleats, traces of veins etc. these cannot be avoided in the tanning process. Of course they try to avoid these natural marks in the selection process so they get the best result for your finished product. But it is still a natural product which gives it charm.

Organiser Sizes:

A5 Manager - Available in Custom and 'Touch Me' designs with either 35 mm or 25 mm rings, the same ring spacing as Filofax A5

Standard - The same size and ring spacing as Filofax Personal, they come with either 30 mm or 25 mm or 13 mm rings. Also available in the Touch Me range with 30 mm rings 25 mm size optional.

Senior - These come in two sizes. Widened for A6 and Un-widened. Ring spacing common to Mulberry Agenda and it is different spacing to Standard, therefore Standard (Personal) pages will not fit a Senior.

Senior Un-widened are for use with Sucess type inserts which are narrower than A6 inserts. This size in custom is available in 13 mm or 20 mm or 25 mm rings. Old style Touch Me models were also Un-widened but were only available in Black and Dark Brown with 20mm rings. Un-widened will accept A6 inserts, but you will need to use top tabs on the dividers.

Senior Widened models in Custom will work with A6 inserts with side tabs they are available with 13 mm or 20 mm or 25 mm rings. All new Touch Me models are widened by default in all colours, and are also available in 20 or 25 mm size and will take A6 inserts.

Here are the two Senior sizes compared when open. The widened model measures approximately 315 mm edge to edge. The un-widened model below it approximately 280 mm edge to edge.

Junior - Page size is the same as Filofax Pocket size and the same ring spacing as Filofax Pocket. In Custom these come in two ring sizes 20mm and 16mm. Touch Me model comes with 16 mm size rings.

Mini - Page size similar to Filofax Mini but the ring spacing is different to Filofax Mini, therefore Filofax Mini pages will not fit the Mini Van der Spek. Only available in Custom with 15 mm rings.

The ring spacing is 19<->25.4<->25.4<->19mm spacing.

VdS Mini will fit on to A5, and Personal (Standard) So in fact it is quite a useful size as a 'satellite' planner that you can tuck in your pocket and may be leave your Standard in your bag.

Nomad Travellers Notebook Cover. 
The Nomad TN cover came about as a result of a joint team effort between the people at Van der Spek and Janet Carr and Steve Morton during their get together at Puttershoek in October 2014. The design was further refined and revealed to the public in April 2015.

The Nomad comes in the standard TN cover size for booklets that are 210 mm by 110 mm in size. The Nomad Junior is now available for booklets that are 140 mm by 90 mm in size.

The Nomad is available as a basic cover with various options that can be added including internal pockets and pen loops all available for on-line ordering. But like all things Van der Spek they can be customised to the buyers requirements, naturally this will cost a little more but the results are outstanding. Find out more about the Nomad TN cover on the Van der Spek website.

The Codex Notebook Cover
This product was originally designed for bound notebooks/planners such as the Hobonichi planner. It is available in both A5 and A6 sizes. The Codex Standard is for the Hobonichi Weekes planner.

This product can also be fully customised.

Some examples have also been made as Nomads in A5 and A6 sizes. Find out more about the Codex Cover on the Van der Spek website.

Other products:

As well as organisers and other planner covers, Van der Spek also make leather pen cases and leather writing cases,  these can also be customised in a similar way to the leather organisers. See the website for full details.

News: Keep up to date with news and new releases on the Van der Spek Blog.

We will up date this post with new information and answer any questions in more detail. Please leave any questions in the comments. 


  1. It is a useful summary of the different options.

  2. If using true A6 paper in a non widened senior Vds, is there any space at all or will the papers get smushed by the pen in the penloop?
    Also, do you know if a folded A4 paper, i. e. A5, will fit in the large back pocket of a non widened version?

    I'm thinking of getting a customised and cannot decide whether to widen it or not. I think it might be easier to flip through the non widened on the go (as you would a pocketbook) since the pages will be closer to the edge, but I still want the pages to stay intact. I also like marking with sidetabs, but they do not really need to stick out more than a couple of millimeters. What do you think my best option would be? (pictures are appreciated)

    1. I will try and do a post that answers your questions. It's difficult to add photos to comments.
      I have an unwidened 20mm and a widened 25 mm, so that is the extremes of the 4 potential sizes available. Although the middle two sizes are very close in size physically. (25 unwidened and 20 mm widened)