Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex (2005)

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The Plantin-Moretus Museum is a printing plant and publishing house dating from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Situated in Antwerp, one of the three leading cities of early European printing along with Paris and Venice, it is associated with the history of the invention and spread of typography. 

Belgium 1988. Wooden book printing machine (c. 1600) from the workshop

Its name refers to the greatest printer-publisher of the second half of the 16th century: Christophe Plantin (c. 1520-1589). The monument is of outstanding architectural value. It contains exhaustive evidence of the life and work of what was the most prolific printing and publishing house in Europe in the late 16th century. 

The building of the company, which remained in activity until the 1867, contains a large collection of old printing equipment, an extensive library, invaluable archives and works of art, among them a painting by Rubens. 

  • Belgium 1988. Wooden book printing machine (c. 1600) from the workshop. Scan by courtesy of Peter Smeets (Belgium). The test on the stamp reads: "Pers  J. Moretus I  Presse  Antwerpen  Museum  Plantin-Moretus  Anvers"

The above stamp is part of a set of three stamps, and contains the Stanhope book printing machine (18th century), and the Krause stone printing machine (19th century). These two stamps are unrelated to the Plantin-Moretus Museum. The whole set is listed in Michel catalogue 1988, #2361-2363. 

In its justification for inscription the UNESCO states that 
Through the publications of the Officina Plantiniana, the Plantin-Moretus complex is a testimony to the major role played by this important centre of 16th century European humanism in the development of science and culture.

Considered as an integral part of the Memory of the World (UNESCO, 2001), the Plantinian Archives, including the business archives of the Officina, the books of commercial accounts and the correspondence with a number of world-renowned scholars and humanists, provide an outstanding testimony to a cultural tradition of the first importance.

As an outstanding example of the relationship between the living environment of a family during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the world of work and the world of commerce, the Plantin-Moretus Complex is of unrivalled Documentary value relating to significant periods of European history: the Renaissance, the Baroque era and Classicism.

The Plantin-Moretus complex is tangibly associated with ideas, beliefs, technologies and literary and artistic works of outstanding universal significance. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Belgium (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Belgium section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 18 aug 2007  
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