Het Leidse wonder: Boekhandel en uitgeverij in Leiden rond 1600

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Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English

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This article describes the miraculous rise of printing and bookselling in Leiden at the end of the sixteenth century. Whereas for much of the century the local book trade was languishing, from 1574 onwards numerous printers and booksellers established themselves in Leiden, most of them coming from abroad. Various explanations are given for this development. One is the end of a siege of Leiden by Spanish troops in 1574, as a result of which the city gained a new impetus. Economically, Leiden witnessed a boom period through the expansion of the cloth industry, which benefitted from the influx of many thousands of religious and economic refugees from the South. Another factor was the creation, on the initiative of such influential local administrators as Janus Dousa and Jan van Hout, of Leiden University in 1575, a modern academic establishment which attracted not only professors and students, but soon also printers and booksellers. Finally, the role of the Leiden branch of the Officina Plantiniana (active 1583-1619) is emphasized. The most prominent book trade establishment in town, the firm set an example for both contemporary and future printers and booksellers.




Leiden, printing, sixteenth century


Werkwinkel vol. 4(1), 2009, pp.7-20



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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego