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Collection & research

The Museum Plantin-Moretus conducts ongoing research into its own collection. It also provides scientific services to other institutions, specialists and students, and to the general public. In this way, the Museum has expanded a small group of connoisseurs into a large group of enthusiasts.

  • typographical collections from printing activities
  • print room, more than 20.000 drawings, from 1500 to the present
  • paintings
  • furniture

Collection online

  • 25.000 old printed books
  • 638 manuscripts
  • publications on bibliophilia, printing & publishing, and other disciplines, relevant for Museum Plantin-Moretus

Library online

  • the Plantin-Moretus archive
  • the archive of Charles Moretus-Plantin
  • archives of related families

Archives of the Officina Plantiniana

  • 14.000 woodblocks

Woodblock collection online

Getting started

manuscript

Collection online

Digitisation is central to the management of the Museum Plantin-Moretus’ extensive collection. Using the online search modules, you can search our digital databases. In this way, you can reserve books, documents, drawings or prints that you wish to consult in the reading room.

Reading room

In our reading room you can consult numerous authentic documents. You will find a precious archive of printed works, manuscripts and drawings.

Digital services

If you have a simple research question, we will try to help you as much as possible by email.

student in de leeszaal

Students

The Museum Plantin-Moretus is happy to put its knowledge at your disposal. Our reading room welcomes researchers every day. We can also provide you with a list of possible dissertation topics. Our library is online, as are the collections of the Museum and Print Cabinet. For typographical courses, we recommend the Plantin Institute.

Our collections

detail van een oude drukpers

Highlights

In the Museum Plantin-Moretus, the oldest printing presses in the world are not the only things to discover. The original lead type of fonts such as Garamond, the Gutenberg Bible and ancient manuscripts tell the story of how writing evolved into the art of printing. Portraits by Peter Paul Rubens hang on the walls and the house is beautifully furnished. Check out the indispensable highlights here.

The archives

On 4 September 2001, UNESCO included the archives of the Officina Plantiniana in its “Memory of the World” list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This recognition by UNESCO internationally establishes that this business and family archive is vital for the cultural history of humanity. Besides this archive, the museum also preserves items from families that are related to the Moretus family in one way or another.

The Print Cabinet

The Print Cabinet of the Museum Plantin-Moretus has more than 20,000 drawings. This rich collection is among the finest in the world, and focuses on Antwerp artists from 1500 to the present.

Old printed books

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Manuscripts

The museum’s collection includes 638 manuscripts, ranging from the ninth to the eighteenth century. The basis of the collection was laid by Christophe Plantin himself: he bought manuscripts that he could use to make book editions of Greek and Roman authors and church fathers. Plantin was also given manuscripts.

portretten van Seneca in de Justus Lipsius kamer

Portraits by Rubens

You will find an extensive collection of paintings in the Museum Plantin-Moretus. Nearly half of these are portraits of the family. The painter? Peter Paul Rubens!

Impressive woodblocks

Woodblocks from the Plantin printing house

The Plantin-Moretus Museum keeps an extraordinary collection of 14,000 woodblocks. With these examples of true craftsmanship, book illustrations and other decorative elements were printed in the Plantin printing house.

In the spotlight

Seminarie | Banning Books

The Antwerp Indexes of Plantin, 1569-1571
    Monday 13 June 2022 from 10:00 to 16:15
    More dates
    Tuesday 14 June 2022 from 10:00 to 12:15

On 13 and 14 June 2022, we will host the seminar 'Banning Books: The Antwerp Indexes of Plantin, 1569-1571'. The hybrid seminar will take place both physically in the museum's auditorium and as an online webinar.

Summerschool Books and Culture.

The Plantin Press and the Religious Book
    Monday 27 June 2022 until Friday 1 July 2022 from 9:00 to 18:00

International expert speakers will explain the unique position of the world-famous Antwerp-based printing and publishing house founded by Christopher Plantin in 1555. They will discuss how it developed the production and distribution of religious books and related illustrations and prints in the following centuries.

A lost drawing by Rubens returns home after four centuries

25.09.2021 | The Flemish Government has purchased a long-lost drawing by Peter Paul Rubens for an amount of 307,400 euros. The work will be included in the Masterpieces List and the Plantin-Moretus Museum will receive it on long-term loan.

City of Antwerp and Google put more than 100,000 books online

The City of Antwerp and Google signed an agreement to digitise a large portion of the collections of the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library and the Plantin-Moretus Museum. This entails more than 100,000 works from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century that will be made freely accessible in the coming years via Google Books and the library catalogues of both institutions. The books to be scanned are no longer subject to copyright.

Stories from the Plantinian Archives

The Plantinian Archives are a treasure trove of information about daily life at the Plantinian press. An That is why our archivist is able to bring the Moretus family and their employees back to life. The blog will be published on Medium, in English.

Sketchbook young Rubens from the Plantin-Moretus Museum collection recognised as a masterpiece

30.04.2020 | The Flemish Government has placed no less than 194 drawings from the Prints room collection of the Plantin-Moretus Museum on the Masterpiece List. The best of the examples is a sketchbook with 43 drawings made by Peter Paul Rubens when he was 12-13 years old.

Museum Plantin-Moretus

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