Plantin-Moretus House–Workshops–Museum Complex
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Library of Plantin Moretus Museum
LocationAntwerp, Belgium
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (iii), (iv), (vi)
Inscription2005 (29th Session)
Area0.23 ha (0.57 acres)
Buffer zone184.1 ha (455 acres)
Coordinates51°13′6″N 4°23′52″E / 51.21833°N 4.39778°E / 51.21833; 4.39778Coordinates: 51°13′6″N 4°23′52″E / 51.21833°N 4.39778°E / 51.21833; 4.39778
Plantin-Moretus Museum
Location of Plantin-Moretus Museum in Belgium

The Plantin-Moretus Museum (Dutch: Plantin-Moretusmuseum) is a printing museum in Antwerp, Belgium which focuses on the work of the 16th-century printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. It is located in their former residence and printing establishment, the Plantin Press, at the Vrijdagmarkt (Friday Market) in Antwerp, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.


The printing company was founded in the 16th century by Christophe Plantin, who obtained type from the leading typefounders of the day in Paris.[1] Plantin was a major figure in contemporary printing with interests 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.[2] Plantin's is now suspected of being at least connected to members of heretical groups known as the Familists, and this may have led him to spend time in exile in his native France.[3][4]

View of the courtyard of the museum
View of the courtyard of the museum

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 eighteenth and nineteenth century in response to changing tastes, the Plantin-Moretus company "piously preserved the collection of its founder."[5][6][7]

Four women ran the family-owned Plantin-Moretus printing house (Plantin Press) over the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries: Martina Plantin, Anna Goos, Anna Maria de Neuf and Maria Theresia Borrekens.[8]

In 1876 Edward Moretus sold the company to the city of Antwerp. One year later the public could visit the living areas and the printing presses. The collection has been used extensively for research, by historians H. D. L. Vervliet, Mike Parker and Harry Carter.[9] Carter's son Matthew would later describe this research as helping to demonstrate "that the finest collection of printing types made in typography's golden age was in perfect condition (some muddle aside) [along with] Plantin's accounts and inventories which names the cutters of his types."[10]

In 2002 the museum was nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 was inscribed onto the World Heritage list.

The Plantin-Moretus Museum possesses an exceptional collection of typographical material.[11] Not only does it house the two oldest surviving printing presses in the world[citation needed] and complete sets of dies and matrices, it also has an extensive library, a richly decorated interior and the entire archives of the Plantin business, which were inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme Register in 2001 in recognition of their historical significance.[12]


Original printing presses at the museum
Original printing presses at the museum

See also


  1. ^ Uchelen, edited by Ton Croiset van; Dijstelberge, P. (2013). Dutch typography in the sixteenth century the collected works of Paul Valema Blouw. Leiden: Brill. p. 426. ISBN 9789004256552. ((cite book)): |first1= has generic name (help)
  2. ^ "Harry Ransom Center Acquires Rare Plantin Polyglot Bible". University of Texas. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  3. ^ Bowen, Karen L.; Imhof, Dirk (2008). Christopher Plantin and Engraved Book Illustrations in Sixteenth-Century Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521852760.
  4. ^ Harris, Jason (2004). The Low Countries as a crossroads of religious beliefs ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Leiden [u.a.]: Brill. ISBN 9789004122888.
  5. ^ Mosley, James. "Caractères de l'Université". Type Foundry. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  6. ^ Mosley, James. "Garamond or Garamont". Type Foundry blog. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  7. ^ Warde, Beatrice (1926). "The 'Garamond' Types". The Fleuron: 131–179.
  8. ^ Plantin-Moretus Museum (2020-10-22). "Leading Ladies". Medium. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  9. ^ Carter, Harry (2002). A view of early typography up to about 1600 (Reprinted ed.). London: Hyphen. ISBN 9780907259213.
  10. ^ Drucker, Margaret Re ; essays by Johanna; Mosley, James (2003). Typographically speaking : the art of Matthew Carter (2. ed.). New York: Princeton Architectural. p. 33. ISBN 9781568984278.
  11. ^ Mosley, James. "The materials of typefounding". Type Foundry. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  12. ^ "Business Archives of the Officina Plantiniana". UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
  13. ^ "The Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, Antwerpen".


Media related to Paintings in the Museum Plantin-Moretus at Wikimedia Commons