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detail van een oude drukpers foto: Ans Brys


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.

oude drukpersen in Museum Plantin-Moretus

The world's two oldest printing presses

Printing led to a huge increase in the speed of communication. The two oldest printing presses in the world bear witness to this process. They were built around 1600, and can be admired in the Museum Plantin-Moretus, more than four centuries later.

loden letters

Hendrik van den Keere (1540-1580), Grande musicque

Printing was also a revolutionary development in the world of music. The Ghent type founder Hendrik van den Keere supplied Christophe Plantin with 44 sets of punches and matrices. Plantin used the ‘Grande Musicque’ type set to print choral music.

detail van kunstkabinet

Rosewood curio cabinet

The museum has a rich collection of antique furniture. The rosewood and ebony curio cabinet definitely belonged to the Moretus family. The cabinet is supported by four Moors – a learned allusion to the name Moretus.

The 36-line Gutenberg Bible

The 36-line Bible is a monument in the history of printing. The Augustinian monastery of Nuremberg donated this copy in 1514 to its new sister institution in Antwerp. When that monastery was closed in 1522 because of Lutheran sympathies, the Bible was put on the market. Nobody knows how it then ended up in Plantin’s library.

The dying Seneca

As a humanist, Balthasar I Moretus was a great admirer of Seneca. He commissioned a painting by Rubens of the Roman rhetorician. The suspicious emperor Nero compelled Seneca to commit suicide in 65 AD.

The Great Library

The Great Library is arranged like a well-stocked private library of the 17th century. It was founded by Christophe Plantin and expanded by Balthasar I and his successors. The curators of the Museum Plantin-Moretus have expanded the collection of Officina Plantiniana editions.

foto: Ans Brys

Twelve meter long funeral procession of emperor Charles V

A magnifique funeral procession in honour of Charles V, printed on a roll.

Rubens, design drawings

As well as painting for Balthasar I Moretus, Rubens also designed printer’s marks and bookillustrations.

Museum Plantin-Moretus

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