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man kijkt naar Bononiensiskaart foto: Ans Brys

Past exhibitions

Exhibitions highlight a specific aspect of the collection. Past exhibitions are listed below.

From scribble to cartoon

Drawings from Bruegel to Rubens

In this exhibition, the Museum Plantin-Moretus shows the 100 most beautiful old master drawings from Flemish collections. From scribble to cartoon: Drawings from Bruegel to Rubens gives an astonishing and representative overview of the art of drawing in our regions in the 16th and 17th centuries.


The essence of a Typographer

Niclaes Mollijns: Antwerp-Riga

This guest exhibition by the National Library of Latvia brings together books printed by the first publisher to print books in Riga (Latvia): Niclaes Mollijns (c. 1550–1625). He was born in Antwerp as the son of Jan I Mollijns, an established woodcutter and publisher. Before he moved to Riga in the 1580s, Niclaes worked as an apprentice in the printing office of Christophe Plantin.  

An Italian in the Low Countries

Discover 500 years of city and regional life with the merchant Guicciardini

03.12.2021 - 06.03.2022 | Go back in time to Antwerp and the Netherlands in the 16th century. Lodovico Guicciardini, an Italian merchant who settles in Antwerp, describes in detail the life in the cities of the Netherlands at the time. Do we still recognize ourselves in his descriptions today?

P.LACE.S - Looking through Antwerp Lace

in MoMu and 4 other locations

MoMu sheds some light on Antwerp's history of lace. Antwerp played an important role in the production and trade of lace. MoMu tells this story through an exhibition trail that connects five locations in the city.

On the road with Plantin. Travel in the 16th century


In the spring and summer of 2021, we will be going on a journey. Plantin travelled a lot, but never for his own leisure. It was always business first. We will head off on business trips to Leiden, Paris and Frankfurt.

A century of wonder. Five hundred years of curiosity and innovation


The 16th century print series Nova Reperta (New Discoveries) and contemporary developments are central to this exhibition. It is no coincidence that the sciences were high on Plantin's list of books.

Letters from Plantin


Christophe Plantin was a first-class networker. He kept in touch with both friends and foes through letters. Do his letters give a clue as to what Plantin really thought?

Drawn to perfection

25 Flemish Masterpieces

Two hundred drawings from the Plantin-Moretus Museum were recently added to the Flemish masterpieces list. This summer we present 25 of these masterpieces, unique drawings from the seventeenth century.

Grotesques. A fascinating fantasy world

Capricious, bizarre and monstrous, but also caricatural and ridiculous. Grotesques from the Renaissance to the present.

18th-century Neapolitan nativity scene

Every year during the Christmas period, the Museum displays a beautiful 18th-century Neapolitan nativity scene. It is a colourful theatrical spectacle featuring a large choir of angels, exotic figures and village and city dwellers.

Baroque Book Design

A tale of friendship and cooperation

28.09.2018 - 06.01.2019 | The exhibition reveals publishers' love for their trade, and how they have motivated artists, printers and designers in the past and present to create top-quality products.

The Bible that never happened

Balthasar Moretus' Papal Bible

16.09.2014 -14.12.2014 | In 1620, Balthasar I Moretus came up with a plan to produce a new edition of the Biblia Regia. He wanted to outdo his grandfather by also adding the text of the Bible in Arabic. It would be the ultimate prestige project of the 17th century... but due to the ambiguous attitude of the Vatican it never came to fruition.

The Magnificent Middle Ages

The Museum's finest manuscripts

02.02.2013 – 05.05.2013 | The Plantin-Moretus Museum exhibited its finest illuminated manuscripts from February to May 2013. These hand-written texts on parchment with their colourful initials and subtle marginal decoration are an absolute feast for the eyes.

The anatomy dissected

Plantin as a publisher of medical work

24.04.2014 – 24.04.2016 | How much was already known about anatomy in the 16th and 17th centuries? Who bought anatomical books? How did Plantin publish medical works? The Anatomy Dissected offers answers to all these questions. Its starting point is the Vivae imagines corporis humani by the Spanish doctor Juan de Valverde, published by Christophe Plantin.

The Soul of the Master

Antwerp drawings from Rubens to Panamarenko

15.09.2012 – 16.12.2012 | Eleven guest curators mounted this exhibition, including the likes of fashion designer Dries Van Noten, gallery owner Adriaan Raemdonck and curator Stefaan Hautekeete. They brought together drawings by old masters and contemporary work, creating surprising thematic links and spotting affinities of style, composition or line across the centuries.

Mercator: Travels into the Unknown

This exhibition focused on the fascinating interaction between the practice of travel in the 16th and 17th centuries and the development of cartography, with travel reports, books, letters, maps and atlases, instruments and prints. The exhibition also commemorated the five hundredth anniversary of cartographer Gerard Mercator (1512-1594).

Jan I Moretus and the Struggle over the Press

On 22 September 2010 it was exactly 400 years since the death of Jan I Moretus (or Jan Moerentorf) in 1610. This exhibition covered his twenty-year struggle over the press and used original archive records to show how Jan I Moretus held a steady course through stormy waters.

camagnebeeld van tijdelijke expo 'Columbus achterna'

Following Columbus

Antwerp books and prints around the world

18.04.2009 - 19.07.2009 | This exhibition looked at the considerable influence of the Antwerp printing houses on printing and visual culture in the overseas territories up to the 18th century.

Hebraica Veritas. Did God Speak Hebrew?

Antwerp books and prints around the world

The study of Hebrew, books in that language and new translations were a booming business in the second half of the 16th century. Businessman Christophe Plantin took advantage of this new market and acquired Hebrew fonts which are today the oldest and most precious in the world.

Wondrous Beasts on Paper in Plantin's Day

From 5 May to 5 August 2007. A true Wunderkammer – a cabinet of curiosities featuring natural exhibits such as stuffed animals, shells and oddities.

ABC 2004. Sampling Letters, Appreciating Prints

16.10.2014 - 16.01.2005 | The first part of this double exhibition was devoted to the type samples of Christophe Plantin. The second part dealt with the graphic techniques of book illustration, from the 15th century to the present day.

Rubens 2004

A love of books: Rubens and his library

Like his art collection, Rubens’ library reflected his personality. He read artists’ biographies and studied atlases, books on language and the fledgling science of archaeology, preferably in Latin. Rubens’ library was one of the largest in Antwerp. The selection shown in Rubens 2004 had never previously been exhibited.

Tyndale’s Testament

The pivotal figure in the preparation of the first English Bible translation in print was William Tyndale. His achievement helped unite the English people.

Cover van 'een wereld op papier'

Geometrical and Navigational Compasses

'Geometrical and Navigational Compasses. Southern Netherlandish Capital and Knowledge as the 16th-Century Building Blocks for the East India Company' was the title of this exhibition in 2002, marking the 400th anniversary of the Dutch East India Company. The exhibition focused on two related subjects: Antwerp’s trade outside Europe, and scientific knowledge in the Southern Netherlands in the 16th century.

Arabic Culture and Ottoman Splendour

During Antwerp's Golden Age

01.12.2001 - 03.03.2002 | The Officina Plantiniana and Antwerp played a crucial role in the cultural interchange between the Arab and the Western world. The exhibition gave an outline of that interchange. It was also part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of both the Plantin-Moretus Museum and the Association of Antwerp Bibliophiles.

The Frans Dille Prize

The Frans Dille Prize is a private initiative in close collaboration with the Museum Plantin-Moretus. The Prize promotes the graphic arts in recognition of the Antwerp artist and personality Frans Dille (1909-1999).

Graphic Rooms

The Free Graphics workshop of the RHoK (Etterbeek Academy of Fine Arts) joined forces with the Museum Plantin-Moretus for this project. The students first built a modular scale model of the entire Museum. They then examined a space of their choice and produced a graphical interpretation of it, which was then incorporated into the model.

The Magic of Type Design

10.09.2011 - 02.10.2011 | In The Magic of Type Design: from Sketch to Digital Letter, young designers exhibited their typefaces in the Museum. All of them were attending the Expert Classes at the Plantin Institute. The designers investigated the different structures of letters and the associated typographic conventions.

campagnebeeld 'expo letters'

Inside and outside

In Inside and Outside, book designers and typeface designers exhibited their projects from start to finish – from the sketches to the digital end product. On display were not just designs but also finished projects, digitally printed books and new letters and fonts.


The exhibition 'Magisterial. Masters of the Plantin Society (1951 - 1974)' marked the 55th anniversary of the Plantin Society. From the time of its foundation in 1951, the Society has sought to improve the aesthetics of typography and expertise in printing. This exhibition showed the work of teachers from the period 1951 to 1974.

cover van boek over de zwarte panter

The Black Panther: Another Avant-garde

On 5 December 2008, the De Zwarte Panter gallery celebrated its 40th anniversary, making it the oldest gallery for contemporary art in Flanders. The occasion was celebrated with a double exhibition at the Queen Fabiola Hall and the Museum Plantin-Moretus.

Contemporary past - Peter De Koninck

13.02.2011 - 13.03.2011 | Contemporary Past displayed an overview of graphic work produced by Peter De Koninck over a period of ten years. His remarkable monumental etchings are highly idiosyncratic. The rest of the exhibition consisted of serigraphs, smaller etchings and works acquired by the Print Cabinet.

Jan Vanriet - The Greeting

In 'The Greeting', the Museum Plantin-Moretus examined drawings by Jan Vanriet from the Print Cabinet collection and the artist’s personal collection.

Unusual? Great!

From 18 September to 2 November 2014. Surprise items fromt the collections of Antwerp bibliophiles.

From the Print Cabinet's depot

Rubens and Tuymans lie side by side in the Print Cabinet’s storage depot. The Print Cabinet has a rich collection of drawings and prints by Antwerp’s old masters. In addition, it collects modern and contemporary work from Antwerp. Every quarter, the Print Cabinet shows a different selection, based on a theme relevant to the season.

Jozef Linnig Portrays Antwerp

Jozef Linnig’s drawings have an important place in the Print Cabinet. They are the best contemporary documentation of how Antwerp looked in the 19th century, before the emergence of photography. In 1864, the city’s appearance changed dramatically, with the demolition of the Spanish fortifications and the straightening of the quays.

Museum Plantin-Moretus

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