Plantin-Moretus Museum

Antwerp, Belgium

The Plantin-Moretus Museum honours the printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. It is located in their former residence and printing establishment, Plantin Press, at the Friday Market.

The printing company was founded in the 16th century by Christophe Plantin, who obtained type from the leading typefounders of the day in Paris. Plantin was a major figure in contemporary printing with interests in humanism; his eight-volume, multi-language Plantin Polyglot Bible with Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Syriac texts was one of the most complex productions of the period. Plantin's is now suspected of being at least connected to members of heretical groups known as the Familists, and this may have led him to spend time in exile in his native France.

After Plantin's death it was owned by his son-in-law Jan Moretus. While most printing concerns disposed of their collections of older type in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in response to changing tastes, the Plantin-Moretus company 'piously preserved the collection of its founder.'

In 1876 Edward Moretus sold the company to the city of Antwerp. One year later the public could visit the living areas and the printing presses. In 2002 the museum was nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 was inscribed onto the World Heritage list.

The Plantin-Moretus Museum possesses an exceptional collection of typographical material. Not only does it house the two oldest surviving printing presses in the world and complete sets of dies and matrices, it also has an extensive library, a richly decorated interior and the entire archives of the Plantin business, which were inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme Register in 2001 in recognition of their historical significance.

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Details

Founded: 1576
Category: Museums in Belgium

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Becca JDB (3 months ago)
Staggeringly good. We spent at least three hours here. The building itself is fascinating, and there is far more to see and learn about than printing. A must for anyone interested in books, language, skilled craft, history and the Netherlands. The free (to borrow) guidebook (available in many languages) is one of the best I’ve ever used. Succinct, well-written and as compelling as a novel.
Evan Nelson (4 months ago)
Interesting museum, the highlight of which for my group was the second printing of the Gutenberg Bible. Physically, this is an a atypical Museum: it is a massive old house, and one walks from room to room to see the exhibit. A problem is that everything is kept very dark, to protect the old portraits and printed items, but making it difficult to see them well.
Klio Le Grice (6 months ago)
This is a beautiful museum. It is very interesting and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. It is beautifully laid out . A must see.
Pieter Biesemans (7 months ago)
Very interesting museum. Nice collection of books and manuscripts. Why is it though that in every museum in the world, staff starts bullying you to leave twenty minutes before closing? We did half the museum in those twenty minutes.
Eileen Choi (11 months ago)
A good 1 hour spent. English guide book given for u to explore room by room. 2 levels of history and process of paper printing by the famous Plantin family (they are tombed in the big Church too)
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