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Zutphen Librije / Zutphen's 16th-century Library

Zutphen Librije / Zutphen's 16th-century Library
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Zutphen's Librije was founded in 1564. The building is an integral part of the St. Walburgis Church.

The building and its furniture have been preserved almost completely in their original state, and much of the original collection is still in its original setting. There are only four similar libraries in all of Europe: two in England and two in Northern Italy. (I am grateful to the director of the Royal Library in The Hague for special permission to take these photos.)

Here is text from the web site of the Librije -- :

The ‘Librije’ is a unique 16th century public library in the St. Walburga’s Church in Zutphen. The Church itself dates from the 11th century. The building and the interior of the library have remained almost unchanged throughout the ages. The greater part of the original collection of books is still in situ.

Some books have been chained to the reading desks since the time of foundation. In medieval times the Chapter of the St. Walburga’s Church consisted of 12 canons. They were not only responsible for the church services but also advised the Duke of Guelders and the town council in legal matters. By the end of the 15th century this occupation had resulted in an unusually large collection of books. So, when in about 1490 the south chapel was built, the decision was taken to construct a ‘liberije’ – a library – over the vestry.

In the middle of the 16th century the churchwardens Conrad Slindewater and Herman Berner planned a large reading room abutting the ambulatory. From the records of Slindewater, well-preserved in the Zutphen town archives, we learn that the ‘Librije’ was intended to be a stronghold against the increasing popularity of the Reformation. Slindewater wrote that, if people read the right books, they would be cured of their errors and become true believers of the Christian faith. To him this meant the Roman Catholic faith.

After lengthy preparations the actual building of the ‘Librije’ started in 1561. It took three years to complete. The design was based on the existing reading rooms in the medieval convents of Zutphen, the Broederenkerk ("Brothers Church", i.e. Black Friars Church) and the Galilea monastry. The shape of the building was adapted to fit in with the adjoining church.

There was a period of 140 year -- bridging the 18th and 19th centuries when the library door was rarely if ever opened.

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Date: 2005-03-12 01:07:24

Zutphen Zutphen Librije Zutphen Library medieval books Koninklijke Bibliotheek Librije

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It is rare photo series, thanks. I am glad you manged to photograph:)
reggestraat 2007-10-21 05:02:46
Maria Emanuela 2011-09-19 13:08:06

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