Akkerman Inks: Beautiful Blues from the Kingdom of the Netherlands
P.W. Akkerman is a fountain pen shop located in The Hague, Netherlands. They’ve been in business since 1910 and carry all the biggest names in fountain pendom. I first became aware of Akkerman inks from watching Stephen Brown’s pen reviews. Stephen lives in the Netherlands and has ready access to the shop and all the goodies inside.
To celebrate their centennial anniversary, Akkerman came out with their own line of inks back in 2010. The prevailing theory is that because they’re a shop, they must have commissioned their inks from a larger ink manufacturer. Diamine does a lot of this, so a lot of people assumed that Akkerman inks were rebranded Diamine inks. The only problem with this is that no one can really draw a line between specific Akkerman and Diamine (or other brands) colors. So at the moment, it appears that Akkerman inks are unique and not rebranded anything.
Have they been commissioned by a larger ink manufacturer? I’d say that’s probably very likely. But I have to guess that Akkerman worked with the manufacturer to formulate colors that are special to Akkerman…similar to the relationship between Sailor and Bungubox.
Regardless of all this, Akkerman inks are pretty highly sought after and only available from a very limited number of retailers (at least in the US). I picked up a handful of samples, and would like to present them to you, along with my opinions of them.
Weirdly, all the ones I got happen to be in the blue family, so I apologize for not having a more colorful palette this time around. Anyway, here they are in all their Dutch glory!
Konninginnenach is an open-air music festival in the Hague that occurs the night before Queens Day. I’m not sure if there’s an official blue color that goes along with it or if this ink is just intended to commemorate the day.
This ink takes on a lot of looks. With my extra fine Blue Pumpkin dip nib, it shows as a mostly dark, steel blue color with noticeable color variation. It’s deep in tone, but soft and slightly muted. At this point, I loved it. But when I did the swab and #4 calligraphy nib, the color lightened up a lot. A lot. There’s still a lot of variation in color tone and the shading is fantastic. It’s a very pretty ink, but I think overall, it might be a little too light for everyday use, especially in broader or drier pens.
Excellent shading, no sheen.
“Deep Dune-Water Blue” is a pretty fitting name for this ink…at least the base color. It’s a very dark turquoise, deep in color and much more blue than green. This color really jumps off the page. It maintains a great amount of darkness at all times, making it a great ink for everyday writing.
The one thing I’m not too keen on, though, is the sheen, which is a dark, reddish-purple. It’s not as in-your-face as the sheen from some other inks, but it’s extremely noticeable, especially in the finer lines where a lot of ink pooled. It was more well behaved with the #4 calligraphy nib, which shows off the color and shading marvelously.
Of these five inks, this one is probably my favorite color, so I think it’s quite unfortunate that parts of that beautiful blue get covered up by red sheen.
#10 Ijzer-Golnoten Blauw/Zwart
Their Iron Gall Blue/Black ink is closer to a dark gray with a hint of blue in it. It’s a rich color, not too different than #7 Konninginne Nach-Blauw, but more saturated and less blue. The shading in it is magnificent, and even the lightest areas pop right off the page.
I think that this is a great everyday ink, and it has the added bonus of being an iron gall formula, meaning that it’s a permanent ink, appropriate for archiving, record-keeping, and providing your signature to all your adoring fans.
No sheen, but fantastic shading properties.
#11 Trêves Turquoise
This is a weird ink. It’s the wettest and most vibrant ink out of this group. In fact, it could be the most vibrant ink I’ve ever used. It makes Pelikan Turquoise look kind of drab and lifeless in comparison. It doesn’t just “pop” off the page, it reaches out and slaps you in the mouth.
It’s got crazy shading. It goes from very light to wicked dark in no time flat. At first look, you would almost think it has a purple sheen around the edges, but if you check it out under a loupe, you can see it’s just an effect of the shading, where the ink that pooled at the edges dried extremely dark. This is most apparent in the “ur” in turquoise and in the second set of figure-eights from the #4 calligraphy nib.
There’s actually no sheen with this ink, but an insane amount of shading.
I just had to mention how wet this ink was. The entire next sample of #24 was dry before this one was. You can see a lot of smudges, especially in the top section. If you need a fast-dry ink, this ain’t it.
#24 Zuiderpark Blauw-Groen
This beautiful Blue-Green ink gets its name from a park in the Hague called Zuiderpark (South Park). It’s a very deep, very dark teal that I would probably classify as teal-black. And for as dark as it is, the shading is still pretty magnificent.
This ink is serious enough and dark enough to use for just about anything, but still unmistakably teal and quite eye-catching. It’s rich. It’s serious. And it makes a statement.
And best of all…no sheen!
Maybe it was because they were all variations of blue, but when I first put these inks down, the final page didn’t really do much for me. Once I started to really examine the properties, though, I became wowed by most of them. #8 and #24 are such rich, beautiful colors, #7 and #10 are magnificent despite their understated properties, #11 jumps up and says “Hello! I’m here,” and they all exhibit excellent shading. I only wish #8 didn’t have that sheen, but I guess not every ink can be for me, eh?