Museum Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp

16th Century Printing Presses

Museum Plantin-Moretus was my favorite museum-house in Antwerp. It was one of those places that sounded so-so, but ended up knocking my socks off. I really should say “our socks” since my husband also really loved it.

So what makes it so great? The museum takes you through 300 years of printing activity. As in, the world’s first industrial printing works and the atmosphere of a 16th and 17th century printing business, where you can imagine a workshop of type founders, compositors, printers and proofreaders.

Original Bookstore

Before you yawn (see what I mean? It doesn’t sound that great, but it so, so is!), also know that the house contains preserved libraries with 30,000 old editions and an impressive bounty of paintings, tapestries, drawings and manuscripts.

The medieval building and courtyard garden was also home to the Plantin and Moretus families. Cristoffel Plantin was the bookbinder, leather worker and printer who founded the era’s most important publishing house in Europe, Officina Plantiniana. Jan Moretus married Plantin’s daughter and he and his sons continued the increasingly successful business.

Printing Dies

Plantin, Moretus, Antwerp, Belgium

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