If you listened to my Biblio File conversation with Jean Louis Maitre, you’ll know that Christophe Plantin was born near Tours, France and moved to Antwerp in the mid-1500s where he founded a printing company. After his death, it was taken over by his son-in-law Jan Moretus. The Plantin Moretus Printing company was sold to the city of Antwerp in 1876. Within a year the public was able to visit the living areas and the printing presses. In 2002 the Plantin-Moretus museum was nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 was inscribed onto the World Heritage list.
The Museum has an exceptional collection of typographical material, the two oldest surviving printing presses in the world, many sets of dies and matrices, and an extensive library. All sorts of typographic masterpieces originated here, including the Biblia Regia, the Bibla Polyglotta and Ortelius’s atlases.
By some miracle the museum, located only feet from the river, twice escaped destruction. First during the Spanish invasion of 1576, second in 1945 when V1 bomb exploded outside the building. It should be mentioned that during the autumn of 1914 the Brits dispatched troops to protect Antwerp, among them were volunteers including Rupert Brooke, Douglas Jerrold and Charles Morgan. Ford Modox Ford published a poem entitled Antwerp in 1915. You can read it here.
Dunedin? Must be in Scotland, right? Well, actually, wrong. “Dunedin (Māori: Ōtepoti) is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the Otago region. Its name however does come from Scotland, from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.” Which is appropriate, given that Edinburgh was the first to be designated a city of literature, in 2004. Here’s a list of all of the cities of literature around the world. As of 2017, 28 cities have been designated as part of the City of Literature programme. If you love literature, it makes sense to put these places on your bucket list.