In a typical building on Spuistraat 28 in Amsterdam, Hein Bekking, a native of Rotterdam by birth, opens a publishing house: Bekking Publishing. He focuses on making agendas and yearbooks for companies. Also for the ‘Havenbedrijf’, he makes his first agenda in 1964. It concerned a ring binder agenda, which is still popular to this very day.
Soon Bekking Publishing also begins to publish books about politics and history. Plans are made to start their own bookstore. In 1967, Francien, Hein’s wife, obtains a degree in bookselling for this purpose. Every since 1963, Francien had been working half days at the firm.
Five years later, Hein and Francien open Minerva bookstore on Koninginneweg in Amsterdam. The first floor of the bookstore featured a room with their own book titles. The store is still there today, albeit under another owner.
‘The Atlas of Dutch Democracy’ is published. It outlines the essence of Dutch democracy. How does our parliament work? How does a bill become law? What are the rights and duties of citizens? How do the health care, energy provision, education and Defense departments work? In which international bodies does the Netherlands have a voice? And what do these bodies do for the citizens of the Netherlands and other countries? It was a highly successful and significant book.
The bookstore is sold and the publishing house is moved to Kapelweg in Amersfoort. That same year, Andreas Blitz Publishing, founded in 1929, is taken over. This publisher was the first to introduce pocket books in the Netherlands back in the 1930’s. These included ABC pocket books and the successful books of John O’Mill. It marked a quality transition for Bekking & Blitz Publishing.
In 1981, the office is moved to Prins Frederiklaan 10 in Amersfoort. Shortly thereafter, this also becomes the new residence of the family Bekking. Interesting footnote: the house is depicted on the cover of the book ‘The treasure of Aros Killee’ by W.H. Eemlandt. This is the pseudonym of Willem Hendrik Haasse, father of the famous writer Hella Haasse. Bekking & Blitz publish his detective series.
Bekking & Blitz venture into the art world, with a book on the artist Toon Tieland from Amersfoort. Many more Toon Tieland publications followed, including Christmas cards, calendars and catalogues and exhibitions.
Not much later, Bekking & Blitz starts the import of high-quality art cards. The Dutch market was, indeed, ripe for the art card market. That is why the next step involved the development of deluxe art cards. These works were sold to bookstores and office supply warehouses, but not to museums yet.
Ike, the daughter of Hein and Francien, joins the family company. As a company representative, she lays the foundation for a healthy future. In 1989, she leaves Bekking & Blitz: she has other plans. Today, Ike runs two successful bookstores. At the end of the eighties, her brothers Bas and Niels join Bekking & Blitz Publishing.
Gerdy Segers becomes father Hein’s righthand man. Gerdy has a degree in History, and is an accomplished author and editor. She also introduces professor Peter Rietbergen. Rietbergen starts writing books for Bekking & Blitz. The first title, ‘A Short History of the Netherlands’ is still one of the publisher’s most important books. This richly illustrated edition has been translated into several languages.
In collaboration with Michel van Marseveen, the curator of Museum Prinsenhof in Delft at that time, Bekking & Blitz publishes the book ‘Vermeer and Delft: a painter and his town’. This book also sells well at the Mauritshuis. For Bekking & Blitz, this marks their first foray into the museum world. Today, the publisher closely collaborates with all kinds of museums here and abroad. From Singer Laren to the Rijksmuseum And from Museum de Fundatie to the ‘Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’.
Bekking & Blitz continues to work together with museums, also maintaining inventories for several of them. The retail business is also growing. We are not only developing printed products such as cards, agendas and calendars but we are now also geared towards gift items, including cases for glasses and umbrellas. Big volume products that take up more room and that is why need more storage space. Consequently, Bekking & Blitz moved to the Textielweg in Amersfoort in 2002.
The Rijksmuseum starts with the sale of ‘A Short History of the Netherlands’. A milestone in our illustrious history. At this time, together with the museum, Bekking & Blitz develop the complete product collections for the museum store.
The company continues to grow. That is why as of 1 January 2017, we have been located on Hardwareweg 9 in Amersfoort. This location offers plenty of room for offices and much logistical storage space. For Bekking & Blitz, this heralds in the beginning of new phase. We will now be able to better serve our customers, work more securely and deliver more quickly. In short, we have made yet another quality transition.