The Plantin-Moretus museum
One of the key figures in the history of Antwerp is Christophe Plantin. He was a French bookbinder who decided to come to the booming town of his day, Antwerp, and try his luck there around 1548. There’s a story that tells that one night, while he was delivering books to a client, he was attacked, robbed and stabbed in the shoulder. The injury made that he couldn’t practice his job as a bookbinder anymore, so he chose a new profession and became a printer.
He could have made a worse decision. His printshop was a huge success, he set up printshops in Paris and Leiden, and became friends with the important people of his days like e.g. Rubens. After his death the shop was taken over by his son in law Johan Moerentorf, who, as was custom in those days had changed his name into Moretus. The Moretus family kept on printing for almost three centuries, but eventually new technologies took over and the family left the building and all its contents to the city on condition that it be turned into a museum.
The museum not only gives one a unique insight into the history of printing, but it is also a lively showcase of how people used to live in the sixteenth century. Some of the printing presses are still in working order, and if you book it in advance, the visit to the museum can be completed with a real printing workshop in which you will print your own document on a replica of the ancient presses.
Recently the exposition has been completely renewed, and should you pass the museum, which is situated at Vrijdagmarkt, but run out of time and be unable to visit it, feel free to take a look at the inner garden.
Vrijdagmarkt 22-23, 2000 Antwerpen
Phone: 03 221 14 50
Visit the museumwebsite
Opening times: Tue-Sun, 10:00-17:00
Tickets: 8 € (6€ for 12-25 year olds, free for under 12)