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The Plantin – Moretus Museum (a World Heritage site since 2006) contains a comprehensive record of one of the most prolific printing and publishing houses in Europe. The name refers to the greatest printer-publisher of the second half of the 16th century: Christophe Plantin (c.1520-1589) and his son-in-law Jan Moretus (1543-1610).
The actual complex evolved over the centuries to include a beautiful patrician mansion with a courtyard and different workshops (printing press, foundry, typesetting room). Besides the furnishings that have remained in situ (printing equipment, tools and an extensive library), the museum also contains works of art and paintings from the workshop of Rubens.
Nicolaas Rockox (1560-1640) mayor of Antwerp and both a patron of the arts and a collector bought the house called ” De Gouden Ring ” (The golden ring) in 1603 together with an adjacent house. He rebuilt them to create a new mansion in the Renaissance style.
Restauration in 1715 (the date shown on the façade), later in the 20th century and especially the final restauration sponsored by the KBC mean that the Museum bears witness to Antwerp’s glorious past and the highly important role of Nicolaas Rockox in the political, artistic and social life of his city. He was also acquainted with Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus.
Thanks to the KBC’s patronage the house has become an attractive museum housing sculptures, ancient coins and several valuable Antwerp art cabinets. It is interesting to note that a similar art cabinet in Oxburgh Hall (Norfolk) was restored thanks to a generous donation from our Association.
Furthermore, since Rockox was instrumental in the success enjoyed by Rubens there is also a large collection of art by Rubens and his contemporaries such as Van Dyck, Jordaens, Teniers, Joos De Momper, Frans Snyders and Jan and Pieter Breughel.
Until July 2nd 2017 the museum is housing an exhibition entitled “The Golden Cabinet” comprising numerous works from Western Europe from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
A two course lunch with drinks and coffee is included. Please indicate at registration if a vegetarian meal is required.
Public Transport: Train Antwerpen Centraal and Metro to Groenplaats. From Groenplaats take Nationalestraat and then first right to Steenhouwersvest, first right again into Drukkerijstraat and then to Vrijdagmarkt.