Visiting the Plantin Moretus Museum
- You'll see two of the earliest printing presses in the world, dating from the days of Jan I Moretus (1543 - 1610).
- The museum preserves the only complete set of Garamond's letter dies. You know Garamond's work if you use Microsoft Word, the typeface is included in the program. The typographical collection of the Plantin-Moretus Museum is often called upon when old type fonts are digitized.
- You'll see rooms devoted to the master of the Flemish baroque, Peter Paul Rubens, a good friend of Balthasar Moretus. Besides painting many of the pictures on the walls, Rubens illustrated several volumes on display at the museum.
- The Polyglot Bible or Biblia Polyglotta (Bible in five languages)is displayed, Plantin's masterpiece.
- There are over 25,000 old texts displayed in the Library. Yes, there's even a Gutenberg Bible.
The Plantin-Moretus Museum Bottom Line
Imagine the Justus Lipsius Room, with its walls hung in 16th century Spanish gilt leather (guadamacil)--and on one of them is hung Rubens' portrait of Roman philosopher Seneca. It's as if you expect Justus to show up at any moment to tell you Rubens has been held up at the barber shop and will be along shortly.
So it's not all just about noisy presses and big blocks of type and messy smears of ink, the Plantin-Moretus tells the story of the early days of commerce in words and ideas. I encourage you to go.
The Plantin-Moretus Museum: Practical Stuff
Telephone: 32 3 221 14 50 -- Fax: 32 3 221 14 71
It'll cost an adult 4 Euros to get in, half that for 13 - 18 year olds, students, and groups of 20 persons minimum. The first floor is accessable by wheelchair.
Audio tours and guides are available. There is lots of information on the Plantin-Moretus web site.
You can also read some of the ancient texts there, as long as you notify them in advance so they can pull the books. See the web site link above.