09 June 2016

Van der Spek Meet Up - June 2016

Last weekend was the second Van der Spek meet up held at the Van der Spek workshop in Puttershoek, hosted by Petra Van der Spek and her lovely family.

On the Monday before the meet up, I had a fear that I wasn't going to be able get to Rotterdam before the weekend because of French and Belgium train strikes. In a determined way I ended up flying from an airport near where I live in France to London and then another short flight from London City airport to Rotterdam. I managed to return home by train but with a slight delay in Paris due to a cancelled train in Paris. So that hopefully that ends the 'dull' part of this post!

The early attendees arrived on Friday from Germany, Austria, Netherlands and USA. We went in to the city for a pizza and to get to know each other a bit better. For me it was great to meet some of the attendees again and others for the first time.

Saturday saw us all meet up at the workshop in Puttershoek to meet the team and to experience the atmosphere and wonderful hospitality of the Van der Spek family.

I have to mention at this point that the company celebrated it's 90th anniversary this year and Petra is the 4th generation in the family to continue the family leatherwork business, no pressure then!!

Petra showed the group a pink real ostrich hide which they will be turning in to one or two organisers, but it depended on what size the customer wanted, one hide is only just big enough to make an A5.

Petra didn't have to wait very long before someone at the meet up fell love with the idea of having it made in to an A5 organiser.

JP Frumau who is one the long standing members of the Van der Spek team was present to give his talk and demonstrations about how the leather is selected, cut and prepared during the production of a new organiser or other leather goods made by Van der Spek.

Petra showed the group how a typical organiser is made up of thirteen individual leather parts and how they are put together to form an organiser.

Everyone received a 'goodie bag' which included a full set of leather samples, a discount voucher and a pen case, as well as a copy of JP's information sheet on the production of leather.

Petra had some of the new leathers that are now available on the website for custom orders. On the table were the new croco leather (printed cow leather) shown here is the Denim

With the addition of the new croco leathers to the website there are now 45 exterior leathers and 56 interior ones, which gives a mind boggling 2520 different possible combinations of interior and exterior in any size or model. The expression 'No two are the same' could certainly be true, especially when you take in to account the different options and thread colours.

We were also able to see two samples of possible new Touch Me leathers that had been made in to organisers. There is currently a poll going on in the Van der Spek Organiser Facebook group to select which colours will be made available from a selection of 10 colours.

The ten new leathers being considered for the Touch Me range.

Also added to the Touch Me range, which is the Van der Spek 'off the shelf' range of organisers, is the Nomad Travellers Notebook cover, available colours as yet to be decided. But we were able to view these two prototype samples.

The Nomad Touch Me comes in the same internal design as the complete Custom Nomad. The Touch Me version will not appear on the webshop for a few weeks yet. Watch out for announcements.

Other new product announcements included the new custom Nomad Junior Travellers Notebook cover. The Junior size is for notebooks in the popular 9 x14 cm size. This will be available on the website soon.

Here is a prototype that was made on the Friday before the meet up after Petra and I had discussions about the product range on Friday morning. These guys work fast!!!

The new Nomad Junior in Denim Coco leather in front of a normal Nomad

The interior in blue Italian leather
Like the other Nomads in the range, the Junior will be available as a basic cover and you will be able to add various options such as internal pockets and pen loops etc.

Also announced at the meet up was the 'Codex Standard' this is for the popular Hobnichi Weeks size of planners, it is similar in size to Filofax personal, same width just slightly taller page format. It joins the existing A5 and A6 Codex models already available on the webshop, like other custom products these have several options that can be added to the basic design.

Again the Codex Standard was made on Friday following our discussion on Friday morning. 

This example is shown in Meile another of the new Croco Leathers, but the full range of leathers will of course be available to choose from. 

'Janet Leather' Yellow on the inside

Attendees also got to take part in a simple quiz to see who had been paying attention. Steve and Petra had set the questions.... and the winner was Carla who was rewarded with a signed copy of...'The Dull Men of Great Britain' in which Steve appears! But the main prize was of course a voucher from Petra for an organiser of her choice to be made, I'm sure she will enjoy reading the book in between deciding on what planner to have made!

In the evening we went to a local restaurant for some food and after the meal it was pleasant enough weather outside to be able to stand and chat and eat ice cream and drink coffee.

Everyone had a wonderful time the day at the workshop was a very full day and we all got to see a lot and learn a lot about the company and how all the different leather products are made.

Thank you to Petra Van der Spek, her Mum Andrea and Dad René for such an entertaining day and not forgetting JP Frumau who gave us all such an informative talk and chatted with everyone through out the day. When can we do it again? 😄


  1. It looks amazing! So glad you all had fun, and thank you, Steve, for the write-up!

  2. Good to know about your meet up. Last week, I arranged an office meeting at a lovely meeting space San Francisco which I got to know from my friend. It was a two-day meet and their services were quite amazing. Glad to arrange this meeting there.