Plantin-Moretus Museum is celebrating 500 years of Christophe Plantin

Multifaceted programme in 2020

Christophe Plantin was born 500 years ago. He became the most important printer-publisher of his time. In 2020, the Plantin-Moretus Museum will be celebrating this remarkable man with a festive year. The programme offers a surprising view of a multi-faceted man: Christophe Plantin as an inspiration, traveller, letter writer and citizen of the turbulent 16th century. Three exhibitions and various creative projects and workshops round out this festive year.



Impressed by Plantin

Christophe Plantin's printing house was known for its richly illustrated publications. Sea creatures, angels, flowers and decorative letters adorned the printed pages. The collection of the Plantin-Moretus Museum has no less than 14,000 woodcuts. That means 14,000 samples of true craftsmanship, of masterfully carved drawings in wood. You can explore the impressive collection in high resolution online. To view, download and create. A true source of inspiration.

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Plantin in the display window

The display windows of 16 shops in the vicinity of the Plantin-Moretus Museum have an illustration from the impressive collection of woodcuts from the museum. With this action, they honour their famous fellow entrepreneur who will turn 500 years old this year: Christophe Plantin.

“Plantin wasn't just any publisher. He was a natural born entrepreneur who worked his way to the pinnacle of his time. By working hard and moving with the trends of the era, he became the owner of the largest printing company in the world. Not only did he focus on religious and political publications, but he also invested in the humanities and the sciences. His Officina Plantiniana had a hand in putting Antwerp on the map as an international luminary of knowledge and culture”, explains Alderwoman for Culture Nabilla Ait Daoud.

Discover the shop windows



Journeying with Plantin through the 16th century.

Till 30.08.2020

Temporary addition to the permanent installation

Plantin was an experienced traveller. As the head of an eminent business, he travelled extensively, not only in the Low Countries, but also to Paris and Frankfurt. He was on the road for almost half of the year. But how did he do that? Without a car, GPS, a smartphone or TripAdvisor? How and why he travelled in the 16th century is the theme of the expo 'Journeying with Plantin through the 16th century'. Slow travel, all the way!

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A century of wonder. Knowledge in the 16th century.

9.10.2020 – 10.01.2021

The first Europeans to set foot on the American continent was an event that indelibly defined the cultural, scientific and philosophical climate of the 16th century. Inventions and discoveries followed each other in rapid succession. The citizen of Bruges, Johannes Stradanus attempted to capture the zeitgeist in the print series Nova Reperta, meaning New Discoveries. It is the starting point for an exhibition about the era in which Plantin lived. But the exhibition is also about the present and what is yet to come. Suppose we were to collect 20 images today to illustrate the innovations of our time, in terms of knowledge, technology, philosophy and science. Would people in 2520 understand what marvels inspired and/or excited us in our epoch?

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Letters from Plantin

9.10.2020 – 10.01.2021

Temporary addition to the permanent installation

Plantin was a first-class networker. He kept in touch with both friends and foes through letters. As expected  from a publisher, most letters are about books. But there are also letters where he reveals more of himself. Letters to his daughters, about his youth, about the war, about an eventful journey. Do his letters give a clue as to what Plantin really thought? With the exhibition  ‘Letters from Plantin’, visitors get closer to the man Plantin.

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Nadia De Vree

Press Culture in Antwerp

About Museum Plantin-Moretus

The Museum Plantin-Moretus is the residential house of the Plantin-Moretus family which contains the publishing house – printing press. The oldest printing presses in the world are here. They bear witness to the first industrial distribution of knowledge and image. The rich art collection is located in the historical residence, including paintings from family friend Peter Paul Rubens. The residence as well as the printing establishment is on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage list.

The museum in images