CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Stad van boeken: zeven eeuwen lezen in Leiden

City of books: seven centuries of reading in Leiden Exhibition: 22 February - 1 June 2008

Jan Lievens, Still life with books. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum

Jan Lievens (1607-74), Still life with books, ca. 1630
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum


Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden
Leiden University
Leiden University Library
Royal Library, The Hague


Paul Hoftijzer and Berry Dongelmans, Leiden University
André Bouwman, Leiden University Library
Ed van der Vlist, Royal Library, The Hague

Museum information

The Internet has tremendous impact on our lives. Imagine
the significance of the manuscript in the Middle Ages and
printing in the early modern times! In cooperation with
Leiden University, De Lakenhal presents 200 extraordinary
books that changed the worldview, encompassing seven centuries
of reading, of producing and trading in texts in Leiden.

National and international libraries and museums have lent
their rare items for this exhibition. These include the Discours
de la méthode
by René Descartes, published in Leiden in 1637, and
the only preserved copy of the Historie van den Vier
from the Bayerische Staats Bibliothek in
Munich, printed in Leiden in 1508. The exhibition also highlights
popular Dutch children’s books, and Panorama magazine.
Panorama was printed by the Leidse Rotogravure
Maatschappij until well into the 20th century. Films shows
the switch from manuscripts to print, and explain how printing
works operated in the previous century. The exhibition
ends with the latest digital developments. This completes the
circle, as writing in the Middle Ages was a solo activity, just
like working on the computer is today.

Please go to for the extensive programme with workshops, symposiums, lectures and free valuation
of unique books.


Fonds 1818
The Mondriaan Stichting
The main sponsor is Koninklijke Brill NV Publishers, which celebrates its 325th anniversary in 2008.


Stad van boeken: handschrift en druk in
Leiden, 1260-2000

André Bouwman, Berry Dongelmans, Paul Hoftijzer and Ed van der Vlist
Catalogue of an exhibition held in 2008 in Leiden (Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal)
400 pp., more than 350 illustrations
Leiden (Primavera Pers & Uitgeverij Ginkgo) 2008