Unique library

Dearest Traveller, I have found SUCH a unique place! Please, come sit by the fire, I really must tell you all about this amazing library!

This library, called Librije is a public reading room from the year 1564, founded by 2 church masters from the Walburgis church in Zutphen, Conrad Slindewater and Herman Berner. The reading room was not only meant for members of the church, but also for the entire city and held quite a diverse number of books. Because the disappearance of books (is theft a nasty word?), the church masters decided to create a ‘chain library’. Some books have been chained to the reading desks since the time of foundation. The reading desks (lecterns) date from the 1560s.

Librije, Zutphen

The Librije was intended to be a stronghold against the increasing popularity of the Reformation. Slindewater thought 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. Mind you, this isn’t my personal opinion, just quoting here 😉

The core of the collection consists of acquisitions by Slindewater and Berner in the first half of the 16th century. Another part of the collection was acquired through legacies. Particularly in the 15th and 16th century, learned inhabitants of Zutphen left their books to the ‘Librije’. The collection contains 5 manuscripts and 85 incunabula (books printed before 1500). On the reading desks we find mainly books from the original collection – 15th and 16th century works with beautifully tooled leather covers and silver mountings.

This library is a unique and recognized cultural and historical monument! There is only ONE other chain library in Europe: the Biblioteca Malatestiana in Cesena. (Italy).

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