As I’ve mentioned before, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to get more creativity in my every day life. So, I was on a lookout for some creative workshops in Amsterdam lately. And when I learned about the Modern Calligraphy Workshop organised by Oh Pretty Paper, I immediately signed in for it.

Art Saturday in Amsterdam

Coffee & cake at Back to Black

It was the weekend before our trip to Dublin, and Marijan was flying with Karlo to Croatia. So, I had the whole day for myself. I’ve decided to make a creative day in Amsterdam, out of it. I’ve first met with my namesake Tea from Zagreb, who I met through this blog. It’s quite nice to meet with your readers and make new friends through it. We had a coffee and a delicious cake in a lovely Back to Black coffee bar.

It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday morning and, I believe, a day on which Winter officially finished in Amsterdam.

All the Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum

Another thing I wanted to do that day, was to see the new ‘All the Rembrandts’ exhibition in the Rijksmuseum. 2019 is the year of Rembrandt in the Netherlands, so they exhibited all of his work together (except the ‘Night Watch’). It’s mostly his drawings and etchings. And I especially liked Rembrandt’s drawings of Amsterdam.

It was actually a great introduction to the Calligraphy Workshop, I went to later on.

One of the exhibits there was Rembrandt’s etching depicting the 17th Century Dutch calligrapher Lieven Willemsz van Coppenol. Rembrandt drew him holding a sheet of paper and a pen. Below the Rembrandt’s image, Coppenol has added an inscription written in a beautiful calligraphy. I read that he would actually ask poets to write odes to his skill. Which then, he inscribed below his portrait. Quite a man, right?

*TIP: If you would like to visit ‘All the Rembrandts’ exhibition in the Rijksmuseum, you have to book your ticket on line (here is the link to the exhibition tickets). There are time slots for visiting it. So, even if you do have a Museumkaart, be sure to get your free ticket on a link here.

Modern Calligraphy Workshop

After an exhibition in the Rijksmuseum, I’ve taken a walk to De Pijp neighbourhood. It was such a lovely sunny Saturday and it finally felt like Spring was in the air. Many people were sitting at the restaurants’ terraces, chatting with their friends and soaking up the sunshine.

I was so looking forward to that calligraphy workshop! It was held at the Studio Sarphaat next to the Sarphatipark in De Pijp. It’s a specious venue with a view on a park, so even though we were inside, we could enjoy in that beautiful sun. The venue itself had a mix of those typical Amsterdam houses with some industrial touch.

I was the first one to come and our teacher Manon was already there. I had a chance to take a few photos of a table ready for our calligraphy workshop, before others came. I loved how Manon put attention on all those little details. Like writing our names and creating a little nibs cartoon holders for us.

It was a small group workshop with only six of us and we all set around a dinning room table. It felt like we were at home and Manon made us feel that way even more. She was constantly bringing some coffee, tea, cookies and snacks. So, we had a nice cosy atmosphere.


After we were all set with our drinks and snacks, and after we got a chance to meet each other, it was a time for our creative workshop to start.

Each one of us got the modern calligraphy workbook, a jar of Japanese Sumi ink, two nib holders (straight and oblique) and two calligraphy nibs. Manon first explained to us a bit about calligraphy, letter writing and how to use our material.

We first started with practising drawing the lines. Straight, curve, bold and thin. Although writing looks like something so easy, it was actually quite hard to be precise and to create those neat lines.

After we’ve finished with that, we could proceed with writing an alphabet. We went from A to Z and like in the primary school we would draw the same letter from the beginning until the end of the row. I had to focus and concentrate a lot, to make those letters look similar.

I liked how in modern calligraphy you can be so creative. There are certain rules for writing the letters, but then, you can get quite innovative in a way you’re connecting them or finishing the lines.

After a couple of hours, we were done with alphabet. And I couldn’t believe, it both took us so long, and that time went so quickly. We then practised connecting those letters into words. And, at the end, we’ve created little cards with the inscription of our choice. You can probably guess which one I’ve chosen.

It was so funny how at the end of the Modern Calligraphy Workshop we were all so exhausted. Our hands and fingers were hurting. And, well not sure for the rest of the guys, but my fingers were also quite black from the ink.

Our lovely host had a solution for that, too. So, at the end of our creative workshop we’ve celebrated with a glass of prosecco. While enjoying in bubbles we reflected on what we’ve learned.

It was so nice that we’ve gotten all of our material to bring home with us. So, we could all continue practice after the workshop was finished. And I definitely will. Calligraphy is so relaxing and it’s almost like you’re stepping back in a time of Rembrandt. When calligraphers like Coppenol were inscribing books and writing odes to themselves.

Modern Calligraphy Workshop is such a great and creative way to spend Saturday afternoon in Amsterdam. You can check Manon’s website and workshop’s agenda on a link here. Use the code CULTURETOURIST to get 15 euros off when booking it.

*Thanks to Manon for inviting me to her Modern Calligraphy Workshop. Although it was a complimentary workshop for me, I truly enjoyed it and would definitely attend it again.

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