Business Archives of the Officina Plantiniana
Documentary heritage submitted by Belgium and recommended for inclustion in the Memory of the World Register in 2001.
The Officina Plantiniana can be regarded as the most important printing and publishing house that Belgium has ever had. It was founded in 1555 by Christoffel Plantin who, in one of the most turbulent periods of Western history, succeeded in making himself the greatest typographer of his day, and was continued until 1876 by his descendants, the Moretuses.
The rise and the heyday of the Officina in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries coincide with an era in which scholars from the Low Countries - present-day Belgium and Holland - were able to play an extremely important part in the development of Western thought.
The history of the Officina Plantiniana is therefore more than an account of the fortunes of a large capitalist enterprise: it also reflects and is part of the great cultural currents of the West. Since the business archives of the house have, providentially, been preserved almost intact it is possible to illuminate three hundred years of book history in all its aspects and problems with an incredible wealth of detailed and accurate data.