Help to fund the exhibition of Joh. Enschedé’s items

Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 838
edited February 2019 in History of Typography
The North-Holland Archives, the stewards of history, is going to make an exhibition. An exhibition about one of our most prized and impressive collections: the collection of the Haarlem based printer Royal Joh. Enschedé.

This printer, est. 1703, made banknotes, (postage) stamps and the oldest, still existing newspaper: De Oprechte Haarlemse Courant. Enschedé also had a renowned typefoundry, which produced world-class types.

This collection contains thousands of beautiful and graphical designs, from the earliest sketches to the finished products and from banknotes to the letter-stamps. As such, the collection is an important piece of national heritage that deserves to be shown. This is why we want to make a permanent exhibition.

The fantasy-press
In this exhibition, which will be accessible free of charge, we will tell the story of Enschedé through objects, documents, texts and interactive installations.

With this campaign we want to raise funding for the central installation, the ‘fantasy-press’. This installation will be the eye-catching centerpiece which will introduce the story to the visitor. In the pictures above you can find the first concept-drawings for this ‘fantasy-press’

The North-Holland Archives
The North-Holland Archives is the place to discover the rich history of Haarlem, Zuid-Kennemerland and the province. We have thousands of archives and collections which give an unique insight in the history of this region.

These sources should not be kept hidden from the public. We want to actively share the stories contained within them and with this exhibition we’re letting everyone come in contact with this piece of national heritage. In our view, there is something magical about seeing the original documents eye-to-eye.

The archives are there for everyone who wants to discover and visit his or her own history

Help the North-Holland Archives to place the fantasy-press in the new exhibition!
Because this exhibition will be a permanent one, we want to make it as good as we can. The fantasy-press is crucial to this goal, and therefore you are crucial to achieving this goal.

We have a lot of great excess material and other services we can offer in return for a contribution. You can find these in the column to the right.

More info:



  • This sounds like a truly worthy project, Ramiro, and I share your enthusiasm. But you neglected to mention that Royal Joh. Enschedé is still an ongoing company, and a wealthy one at that. Enschedé is one of a handful of companies authorized to print Euros, and they print postage stamps for some 60 countries. The hold a large number of valuable patents for the printing of securities of all kinds.

    It would seem to me that the company, itself, should be the primary funder of such a project, perhaps with the participation of Dutch government culture and historical preservations bureaus. Asking individuals to participate in a group funding project should be reserved for projects and issues that would not be able to achieve funding any other way.

  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 838
    edited February 2019
    I think the image you have about Royal Joh. Enschedé's financial situation is not up to date. I am not part of the institution organizing the event but I know the curator in charge. I will invite him to comment here and explain why this campaign was necessary.
  • Thank you very much for the explanation, Ramiro and Mart. I read more about it online: another sad story of shark investors trading equity for debt, quite common in the U.S. I am sorry I was commenting with out-of-date information. Nevertheless, I would hope that the Dutch government and the Gemeente Haarlem would step up with leading contributions. It is, as you say, an essential Dutch heritage.

    Here’s an idea for raising funds: Have you considered a reissue of Charles Enschedé’s Typefoundries in the Netherlands from the 15th Century to the 19th Century? The 1978 English edition, issued by the Stichting Museum Enschedé, was limited to about 1500 copies. It’s a great source for anyone involved in type design—not to mention an excellent showing of Jan van Krimpen's Romanée.

  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 838
    edited February 2019
    Here’s an idea for raising funds: Have you considered a reissue of Charles Enschedé’s Typefoundries in the Netherlands from the 15th Century to the 19th Century?

    There are still copies available in the market at reasonable prices. I don't think anybody is planning to reprint it in a near future.

  • … indeed, for contributors at the €250-level, a copy of Typefoundries in the Netherlands from the 15th Century to the 19th Century is the reward that you get!

    That is a good price, I’d say. I purchased my copy of the book when my MATD class visited the museum in 2008 (when it was still in the basement of the Enschedé building), and I believe that the museum shop price – which was much, much less than the external book-seller price – was €180. And that was 11 years ago already.
  • Just backed the project; it really is a tremendous collection. If I lived any nearer to Holland, I’d have chosen the special Valentine’s Day dinner in the Janskerk. Such a great idea!
  • edited February 2019
    I'm seeing ~$350 as the lowest price, which leaves room for a truly reasonably-priced facsimile.

    Now, if you can get your hands on the superior 1908 edition...
  • I’m seeing ~$350 as the lowest price, which leaves room for a truly reasonably-priced facsimile.
    IIRC back in 1978 Typefoundries in the Netherlands […] cost 1800 guilders (roughly €900, inflation excluded) and I was told (most probably by Gerrit Noordzij) that this more or less equaled the production price per book. After all, it was a costly book to make, as it was printed from the original historical foundry type that was used in, and preserved from Fonderies de Caractères […] from 1908. The paper was made from a recipe developed especially for the book by Bram de Does. I would be surprised if you could reprint the book properly, i.e., with doing justice to the original, at a ‘reasonable price’. Also I wonder whether the original foundry-type pages are complete still. This afternoon I will be at the North-Holland Archives for discussing the upcoming Rosart exhibition and will ask.

    Being a KABK student in 1978 I definitely could not afford to buy Typefoundries […]. A few years later a renowned colleague purchased two copies of the book at the original price as investment. However, obviously the market for the book was (much) smaller than expected and the price collapsed at the end. The fact that today one can purchase copies for around €250 is proof of this small market and as long as these books are available for this price a facsimile does not make much sense, I reckon. My advice: buy the 1978 edition immediately if you can afford it. It is an absolute bargain.
  • Everything Frank wrote, +1!

    While the 1908 original French edition from Charles Enschedé may be historically more significant than the 1978 English edition (because of its greater age, and because it simply came first), the content of the 1978 edition is greater – in every sense – because of all the additions made to the text by Harry Carter, Netty Hoeflake, and Lotte Helinga. The new information that they contributed to the book is not minor or superficial.
  • That's why I said facsimile (meaning photographic). Especially if you're more interested in the commentary as Dan professes.

    Having put the 1908 and 1978 side-by-side to compare, to me the former remains superior in terms of the freshness of the type (understandable) as well as printing technique. As much as De Does was very much a master printer, the anonymous printers of the 1908 are clearly on another level. This is especially apparent in pages with both large and small type; I presume the makeready was more meticulous in the 1908.

    This should be the key point for people who scan specimens to make revivals,
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 838
    edited February 2019
    Between the editions of 1908 and 1978 there was another English edition of Typefoundries in the Netherlands […] set using Fleischman's types. It was judged inferior by the Enschedé management and the whole print run was destroyed. I've seen some surviving pages people kept as memento.
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