Antwerp is famous for diamond cutting, polishing and trading. 84% of the world’s rough diamonds passed through this city’s diamond district, making it the largest diamond market in the world with a turnover of 54 billion dollars.
However, few people knows that Antwerp was also one of the original cities in contributing to the modern printing technology advancement. Plantin-Moretus Museum, which is a printing museum in Antwerp, has completely recorded that part of the history and glory. This museum focuses on the work of the 16th-century printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus and is located in their former residence and printing establishment.
The Plantin-Moretus Museum possesses an exceptional collection of typographical material. Not only does it house the two oldest surviving printing presses in the world and complete sets of dies and matrices, it also has an extensive library, a richly decorated interior and the entire archives of the Plantin business.
Another angle to look at this part of the history is that Mr. Plantin and Mr. Moretus were shrewd owner in running their printing company. They have successfully industrialized the printing business from pure labor workshop to an early-modernized factory with hybrid of labor and machine. In addition, they have been dedicated to optimizing the industrial procedure and improve the machine efficiency which significantly reduced the cost of booking printing. As consequence, bibles, dictionaries (English-Latin, Latin-Spanish etc.) and other types of presses were largely circulated in normal civilians among various countries. From this sense, this printing company takes credits on resurgence of learning and awaking of humanism during that renaissance period in Western Europe or to full Europe.
The museum tour is one hour, while it almost passes two centuries. The advancement of the technology never stops, nevertheless, in a much fascinating speed in modern society. The knowledge broadcast is seamless but overflowing. We may be much luckily than our ancestors but we are probably more confused and biased.