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Plantin Moretus Museum – An Ancient Printing Heritage of Belgium


Can you ever imagine a printing workshop is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage site? Do you know any? If not, that plan a trip to Belgium and observe how beautifully a printing workshop is converted into a museum complex for tourists and later it is also included in the World Heritage Site. Plantin Moretus House Workshops Museum Complex in Antwerp city of Belgium is that UNESCO Site which you must visit if you are a design lover.

Let’s learn more about this printing heritage cum museum of Belgium in brief.

Plantin Moretus Museum

The Plantin Moretus Museum Complex is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the city of Antwerp in Belgium. It is the only museum complex, a publishing workshop and a publishing house in the world surviving Renaissance and Baroque printing. This ancient museum complex of Printing was inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. This is a printing museum that features works by Jan Moretus and Christophe Plantin from 16th-century, they were the founder of this museum.

Plantin Moretus Museum Workshop Complex in Antwerp
Plantin Moretus Museum Workshop Complex in Antwerp / Image Credit:

This is right on the banks of the Scheldt River. The original mansion and workshop of the publishing family Plantin and Moretus provide a unique historical experience, which is why it is a Unesco world heritage site. The creaking oak planks and panels of the structure seem to be inspired with the history of books, the craft of printing, and the storey of a family’s business spirit. There are some of the world’s oldest printing presses here, as well as a lot more.

What Does Plantin Moretus Museum Signifies?

Because of its founder, Christophe Plantin, this workshops museum complex is culturally significant. During the 16th century, he has done a crucial role in the printing industry. His work which he created in workshop was regarded as one of the most complicated works of the time.

Library of Plantin Moretus Museum
Library of Plantin Moretus Museum / Image Credit:

Plantin’s printing legacy was carried on by his son-in-law Jan Moretus after his death. However, the biggest distinction with this company is that it still uses traditional printing technologies and this is the reason if its recognition. It has maintained its founder’s collection. In a manner, it was part of Plantin’s son-in-strategy laws for preserving his father’s legacy.

History Associated with Plantin Moretus Museum

Plantin was a major figure in contemporary printing with an interest 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. Four women ran the family-owned Plantin-Moretus printing house over the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Movable type on Press present at printing museum
Movable type on Press present at printing museum / Image Credit:

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 18 and 19th century in response to changing taste. In 1876, Edward Moretus sold the company to the city of Antwerp. One year later the tourists started visiting the living areas and the printing presses. The collection has been used extensively for research by historians. In 2002 the museum was nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 was inscribed into the World Heritage list.

Also Read: Visit The Historic City of Salzburg- An Ardent UNESCO Site Of Austria

What does Plantin-Moretus Museum Houses?

The Plantin Moretus Museum has an outstanding collection of typographic materials. It not only houses the world’s two oldest surviving printing presses, but  it also comprises complete sets of dices and matrices.

Inside Plantin Moretus Museum
Inside Plantin Moretus Museum / Image Credit:

Aside it also has a large library, a lavishly decorated interior and the Plantin business’s entire archives, which were listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme Register in 2001 in recognition of their historical significance.

The Print Cabinet

The Print Cabinet of the Plantin Moretus Museum 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 date.

Other Highlighted Collection Here Include

  • A Bible that is available in five languages: Polyglotta Biblia (1568-1573)
  • Cornelis Kiliaan’s Thesaurus Teutoniae Linguae
  • A book about geography – Abraham Ortelius wrote Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
  • Simon Stevin has written a book about decimal numbers.
Artefacts Inside Museum
Artefacts Inside Museum / Image Credit:
  • A Bible with 36 lines
  • Some of the materials employed by French type designer and printer Robert Granjon include paintings and sketches by Peter Paul Rubens, a study of humanist Justus Lipsius, and several of his works.

Also Read: Stoclet House – A Private Heritage Site of Brussel

What Tourists Can Do Here

The Plantin Moretus House Workshops Museum Complex opened to the public a year later. Tourists were permitted to examine the complex’s living spaces as well as the printing machines on show. This museum complex’s collection has been extensively used for research reasons.

The home is centrally positioned downtown Antwerp, close to major attractions such as the cathedral and train station. If you have a smartphone, you can receive instructions by inputting the building’s name or the

  • Address: Vrijdagmarkt 22-23, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
  • Except on Mondays, the home is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Admission is €8 for adults, €6 for those over 65 and between the ages of 12 and 25, and free for children under the age of 12.

Aside from being a former printing complex, this is also a private residence. So before travelling it is a must for you to take permission. or enjoy guided tours.

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