In a nutshell


Postponed until June 2021: the 2020 edition is cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.


Intensive 5-day program on religious books and prints produced, published and sold by the Antwerp-based Plantin Press, 1555–ca. 1700. Key aspects of this subject will be explained by international experts and demonstrated in hands-on sessions in premium Antwerp collections.


Library of the Ruusbroec Institute of the University of Antwerp and the Plantin-Moretus Museum. Visits to the Antwerp University Library and Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library (Antwerp). A printing demonstration is also part of the programme.


Master students, PhD students and postdocs intending to integrate book historical approaches into their reseach (history, literary history, art history, religious and church history...)

External partners

Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library (Antwerp), Museum Plantin-Moretus (Antwerp), Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL).

Course description

International expert speakers will explain the unique position of the world-famous Antwerp-based printing and publishing house founded by Christopher Plantin in 1555. They will discuss how it developed the production and distribution of religious books and related illustrations and prints in the following centuries.

Introductory presentations will familiarize the students with the central role of Antwerp as a printing center from the 16th century onwards, with the religious context in the Southern Netherlands, and with the role and position of the religious book therein.

Most lectures are conceived as workshops and hands-on sessions zooming in on different aspects, including: the world-famous Antwerp Polyglot Bible, the trade in religious books with Spain, illustrated religious books and catholic emblem books, and the link between manuscripts and printed books. Demonstrations will focus on the production of type, typesetting, composition, and printing.

Lecturers will use the holdings of the Ruusbroec Institute and of the library and archival records of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. Students will be invited to handle historic materials. In line with this setup, admission to the Summer School will be limited to 15 Master students, PhD students and postdocs. The presence of staff and lecturers during the course should stimulate the interaction and spark questions and discussions.

Sessions will be held on campus of the University of Antwerp at the Ruusbroec Institute’s library specialized in devotional holdings, and at the Museum Plantin-Moretus, recognized by Unesco for the historic site, its historical and research libraries and its unique series of business papers dating back to the 16th century.

Guided tours will take participants to the Plantin-Moretus Museum, to the stylish Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library, and to the Special Collections Department of the University Library specialized in, amongst other subjects, Jesuitica and Antverpiensia.

An unforgettable experience for every researcher who wants to learn more about manuscripts, books, and prints, and the role they played in Western European culture.



Participants who want to acquire official ECTS credits can be awarded 3 ECTS credits upon writing an academic paper related to one of the summer school’s topics. Participants who attend at least 90 % of the classes, but do not write a paper will receive a certificate of attendance.

Registration fee


Fee includes course material, coffee breaks, lunches, the summer school dinner and a farewell reception. It does not include accommodation.


University of Antwerp Students are entitled to a refund of €150 after completion of the summer school.

Application details

Online through Mobility Online 

Applicants for the summer school must apply before 15 April 2020 by submitting a motivated request and a brief curriculum vitae. Selection will depend upon the applicants’ research profile and the date of their application. All applicants will be notified about their selection before 1 May 2020, after which they will have to confirm their intention to attend the summer school

Application deadline

Will be published by December 2020.

More information