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Online access to the print collection of the University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp has a modest collection of ca. 1400 objects, the
bulk of which were gathered in the early 20th century by the Jesuit and art
historian Ferdinand Peeters, whose primary goal was to collect representations
of Antwerp (from portrayals of its buildings to maps of the city and its
surroundings) from the 16th through the 20th centuries. Initially the objects
were used to decorate the corridors of what was then the Handelshogeschool, or
College of Commerce, but they are now stored and managed by the University
Library’s department of Special Collections, which is responsible for valuable
and fragile items.

The Electronic Catalogue

In 2012, the University of Antwerp began a project to develop an electronic cataloguing system for the registration of the prints and drawings in its care. By the conclusion of the project in 2014, an innovative system for registering not only individual objects, but also groups of prints, such as print series or book illustrations, had been implemented and used to register some 1400 works on paper. Nearly all of these records have also been supplemented with a high-resolution image of the work concerned. In addition, there are various options for searching not only for specific key words or dates, but also for more general thematic subdivisions within the collection, such as maps or historical events, or by technique.

Exceptional links within and between collections

What makes this cataloguing system especially satisfying to work with are the
various links contained within it. For example, if one starts with an
individual object, such as François Stroobant’s view of the south porch of the
Antwerp cathedral (see,
one can see not only the basic information on that particular print, but also
follow links to the print album in which it was originally published (under
Related objects) as well as the artists who contributed to the production of
this image and, in turn, all of the other objects on which they had worked,
both in this collection as well as in other collections within the larger
Antwerp network.

Similarly, one can also start with a record for a group of objects, such as the prints published in the 1602 account of the state entry into Antwerp of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella ( In these records, one has not only general information pertaining to the entire group of images (currently only available in Dutch), but also links to the individual descriptions of each of the images in the series, as well as catalogue descriptions of the book in which they originally appeared.

One can access the online catalogue via:

- the website for the University Library of Antwerp
( (under
“Quick links”)
- or via the following direct links:

* (for the English site)
* (for the Dutch site)

While the key sub-divisions within each catalogue entry appear either in
English or Dutch (depending upon the language in which you initiate your
search), the running text fields are currently only available in Dutch.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact either:

Dr. Tom Deneire, head of Special Collections
Dr. Karen Bowen, Print collection

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