The population of Sweden is only a nudge over 9.5 million, of whom less than a million live in the city of Stockholm. If you include the suburbs you can count 1.4mill, and the wider metropolitan area will get you up to 2.2mill. What I’m saying is: not a lotta folks.
So when I started sniffing around for fountain pen stores, shops, boutiques and emporia, perhaps I should’ve been less surprised that there aren’t so many.
NK Papper was the first name that people came up with. It’s a department of NK – Stockholm’s equivalent of Selfridges, in both quality and costliness – and they have a broad selection. The old Parker/Sheaffer/Waterman staples are well represented, plus Montblancs and (*rolls eyes*) Porsche Design. They also have a drop of Lamys and another of Pelikans, and a bunch of heavily enamelled, fancy makes whose names escape me. The ink selection was less broad, the most interesting thing here being the last remaining bottles of their exclusive Noodler’s ink, Stockholm Indigo. The service there was knowledgeable, if brisk in that department store way. Nothing doing online, though.
The most interesting online-only Swedish retailer seems to be DeskStore, who have a decent paper selection and a few inks. Pen-wise, TBH, it’s limited to a range of Lamys and Kawecos. Still, they might be the only people in Sweden with Kaweco fountain pens. Their offering is pretty stylish, and while I haven’t ordered from them I probably will sooner or later.
But my favourite to date is Pen Store. They are online, but also, smartly, already have their bricks n’ mortar shop on Södermalm, a short walk from my Hornstull neighbourhood. The guys there are knowledgable and clearly care about pens n’ stuff (I only looked at reservoarpennor but they have scads more options for technical drawing and art-type-business). There are heaps of Lamys, selections from TWSBI, Sailor, Cross, Pilot and more. Also, they seem to have more in the physical store than online: for starters, there was a display of Yard-O-Leds glittering away in one corner.
Their ink selection is good, with plenty of Pilot Iroshizuku and Caran d’Aches, workhorse inks like Lamy’s and the excellent Sailor Jentle range – I picked up a bottle of the dark red “Grenade” and it’s an utterly delicious colour. And where their ranges overlap, Pen Store is certainly less expensive than NK. But it’s on customer service where Pen Store wins. I picked up an extra fine Lamy Vista there, and after realising that it way too thin for me – after almost a week of use – they told me to bring it back so they could swap it out for a fine. The guys will happily answer any question you have, let you test out an assortment of nibs and inks to make an informed decision, and give you the skinny on which distributors are good to work with and which give the Swedish market short shrift.
IN SUMMARY: need a pen/ink while in Stockholm? Go to Pen Store.