HEMA Vulpen Fountain Pen Review

From left to right: Kaweco Sport Classic with F nib, Kaweco Sport Guilloch 1930 with EF nib, TWSBI Mini with EF nib and HEMA Vulpen

While vacationing over the holidays, my friend Cecelia picked up a HEMA Vulpen fountain pen in Belgium for me. I had to do a bit of detective work about it before I could post a review about it. HEMA is a chain of department stores from the Netherlands. From their website it looks like a pretty nice shop, maybe upscale Target? They look to be scattered all over Europe.


Okay, back to the pen. It is exactly 5″ long capped in a matte black metal with silver trim and a brushed aluminum clip. The cap snaps on with friction, not a screw post. The cap can be posted on the pen for writing if you like the extra weight and length.

The nib is an iridium tipped steel nib and I would guess it to be just shy of a medium nib — like “fine-medium” by the European standards, not Japanese. Its a slender pen and not too long. I find it comfortable to hold in my small hands. It takes standard small European cartridges which provides lots of ink options including a refillable cartridge or syringe-filling an old cartridge. I used a Kaweco blue-black cartridge for my tests rather than the cartridge that came with the pen if only to have a known-quantity in regards to the ink.


In writing tests, the pen preformed admirably. I used it almost exclusively for a whole week for notes, planner entries, and letters and it worked well on lots of paper stocks. It had a little hesitancy first thing in the morning if it had sat all night but no worse than the Kaweco pens do. It writes very smoothly, silky even. I just love how it feels in my hand.

The amazing thing about this pen is the cost — a mere €3.25 (under $6). It kind of blows my mind that this pens performs in the same league with pens five times more expensive.

There are not a lot of reviews of this pen online though there are a few and the only place to get this pen appears to be at a HEMA store as I could not find it on their website. Unless you know someone traveling in Europe you could bribe to pick one up for you, this may be your holy grail of cheap fountain pens.


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11 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thank you for this review! I live in the Netherlands (where the HEMA comes from, there are about 4 HEMA’s in my town) and I immediately bought one today. My pen is the exact same one, but a chrome/silver edition. It is as good as you described, it is heavy (compared to other cheap pens, this one feels really robust), the writing is really comfortable and the chrome edition looks quite professional. For 3 euro’s, this is probably the best pen I could buy. Thank you again for this review, I would never thought about buying this pen without your blog!

  2. Hi there,

    I just checked on the Dutch and Belgium HEMA site and didn’t find any mention of these pens. Are they only available in the store?

    1. You might be able to get the stuck cartridge out with needle nose pliers. You may have to sacrifice the cartridge and pierce it with something long and pointy to pull it out. Depending on how deep into the pen it is, a toothpick or a craft knife might work. You might also just wrap the open end of the pen in a towel and try whacking it on a hard surface like a table to jar the cartridge out.

      I’ve accidentally dropped cartridges into a pen in the wrong direction often. It really just takes patience and a little ingenuity.

      1. hey thanks for the reply, but the problem is I just bought it, and every pen in the hema where I bought it all have the same condition. the cartridge inside is upside down and it seems there is some spring that prevents it from going down.

        1. My pen doesn’t have a spring in it, but it is possible for the cartridge to get wedged in there because its upside down. I wish I had better adivce for shaking it loose but I’m just not sure what else to try.

  3. Today,I bougt 2 of these for the incredible price of one Euro. (Sales)
    Tried them out at once. Great.

  4. Just picked one up, they are still EUR 3,50. So aside from being great pens, they appear to be inflation-proof

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