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HomeExhibitions → Komt een Italiaan naar de Nederlanden [Life in the Netherlands in the 16th century]

Komt een Italiaan naar de Nederlanden [Life in the Netherlands in the 16th century]

Antwerp, Belgium

Organisation: Museum Plantin-Moretus

Go back in time to Antwerp and the Netherlands in the sixteenth century. Lodovico Guicciardini, an Italian merchant who settles in Antwerp, describes in detail the life in the cities of the Netherlands at the time. Do we still recognize ourselves in his descriptions today?
In 2021 it will be exactly 500 years ago that the Italian writer Lodovico Guicciardini (1521-1589) was born. The Plantin-Moretus Museum does not leave this special anniversary unnoticed.

Who is Guicciardini?

Guicciardini is an Italian merchant who works in the Antwerp branch of the family business since 1541. Like Christoffel Plantin, Guicciardini is a migrant who moves to the Netherlands for his job and settles in Antwerp. He remains in Antwerp until his death (22 March 1589).

A description of the Netherlands from 500 years ago

Lodovico's career takes a turn when he starts writing in 1552, an activity that he believes is more profitable than his work as a merchant. In 1567 he published his bestseller: Descrittione ... di tutti i Paesi Bassi altrimenti detti Germania inferiore. In this remarkable book he describes all the cities of the Netherlands. The book is published more than 60 times, by various printers. We read his experiences with Antwerp and the Netherlands from 500 years ago. Guicciardini not only describes the economy, politics, language, flora, fauna and national character of the prosperous Netherlands, but also criticizes the devastating influence of the Spanish War on the prosperous country. A striking amount of attention is paid to his hometown Antwerp.

Bononiensis' Antverpia, map ofAntwerp, 1565.
This city plan by Virgilius Bononiensis shows Antwerp at its height, in 1565. This plan is the largest and most detailed map known from the sixteenth century. Between March and November 2021, this map has received conservation treatment, so that it will be in top condition for exhibition from December 2021 onwards.
Venue: Museum Plantin-Moretus, Vrijdagmarkt 22, 2000 Antwerp