The book in the latter half of the twentieth century

The latter half of the twentieth century was a period of profound change in the Dutch book world. The ­Second World War was followed immediately by a rapid increase in the number of published books. Three main directions developed on which publishers concentrated: the school textbook, the scientific book and the popular or general book. This latter area grew especially explosively. Far more popular genres arose than in the preceding period: crime, three-penny novels, regional novels, and non-fiction such as popular science, hobbies and travel. In 1950 over 3000 single new popular books appeared; in 2000 the number was about 13,000. Over the entire period that is 340,000 new titles.

This supply of new Dutch popular books was marketed by several hundred publishers (350 in 1950 and 500 in 2000) and was sold largely through bookshops (1400 in 1950; nearly 1600 in 2000). The 1950s saw the final breakthrough of the paperback book. While the first paperbacks had appeared in 1934 with the Salamander series from Querido, the first major successful series was Prisma,which began in 1951. One after the other, publishers included paperback and other cheap series in their publisher’s list, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes with full dedication. The paperback formula of reprints, high print runs and low prices changed the book into a consumer item. Large advertising campaigns were introduced.

In the printing trade in the 1960s, composed lead type was rapidly replaced by offset printing and phototypesetting. As a consequence the production of books became less expensive; in particular the price of the ­paperback could remain low and print runs increased. The Machine Fund of the Federation of Employers’ Organisations of the printers rapidly demolished printing presses and melted down lead type.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a strong scaling-up and concentration occurred in the publishing world, while later, in the 1980s and 1990s, the larger groups again disposed of their general publishers, creating new degrees of centralisation. In 2000, the three firms of PCM Uitgevers, Bosch & Keuning and the Weekbladpers Groep generated nearly 75 per cent of the turnover in general book sales. The big names for scientific publications were Reed Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer and VNU. In the 1990s, the printing industry once more experienced an upheaval through the advent of the computer in typesetting, image and the printing processes, making new investments necessary. Once again, this meant mergers, bankruptcies and the creation of new firms. The role of the (major) publishers was strengthened by further innovations such as desktop publishing, printing on demand, new media and new ways of ­disseminating information by the Internet.Generally, these changes were beneficial to the price and technical quality of the book, but at the cost of the diversity of the book supply.

Bookshops also changed substantially. In the 1950s, a bookshop had an almost tangible social and cultural threshold. At the counter one could view the requested book and receive expert advice. The book was a cultural object with a special status. That changed with the arrival of the pocketbook and, a decade later, with its bigger brother, the paperback. The book then ­became a mass product and a consumer article. The bookshop was an easily accessible walk-in shop and customers could make their own choice from a plethora of books.

There arose more general and ­specialist bookshops, antiquarian and remainder bookshops, new outlets such as department stores, kiosks, stationary shops, supermarkets, book clubs, and finally, most importantly, the internet bookshop. Some major booksellers united in chains such as ­Selexyz and Libris; the shops became larger; coffee and reading corners appeared: the bookstore became a ­cultural meeting place with lectures, book signings and book launches.

Book distribution was actively supported by a joint promotion policy of the publishers and book trade in the form of the Commissie voor de Collectieve Propaganda voor het Nederlandse boek (CPNB), founded as a continuation of the Commissie voor de Collectieve Reclame [Advertising] from 1933. Every year the CPNB organises a book week.

In this period, a number of factors have strongly furthered reading and the use of the book in general, and also that of the newspaper and the magazine. The working week shortened, prosperity increased, pension schemes improved and the level of education rose through longer and better schooling. The interest in reading for personal development and relaxation was matched by the growing supply of cheap books and the easy availability of books in numerous and well-stocked public libraries.

The literary paperback series were enormously popular among large groups of young readers in the 1960s and 1970s and became part of their reading culture. In the meantime, the book has experienced more competition from other leisure forms such as television and the Internet; a narrowing of the reading public has occurred, especially among young people for whom the new media are particularly attractive.(KT/CdW)


Over the course of half a century, the appearance of the book has changed in many ways. Only after the Second World War did the independent designers’ profession really arrive, while the printer became more and more purely the executor. In 1945 designer and museum ­director Willem Sandberg founded the union of ­designers (Vereniging van Beoefenaars der Gebonden Kunsten, GKf) and became its first chairman; graphic designers began to play a major role there. Classical ­typography was maintained for literature and scientific publications through the work of well-known names such as Helmut Salden and Harry Sierman.

The liberal approach of the Neue Typographie and the functionalism of the 1930s was mostly reflected in richly illustrated books and advertising. Dick Elffers was one of the ‘progressives’ and known especially for his photo-books. Wim Crouwel and his company Total Design produced functional typography that was widely used in museum catalogues. Graphic design in the Netherlands became an international hit with names like Anton Beeke, Studio Dumbar and Hard Werken. Irma Boom and Piet Schreuders occupied a class of their own.

The great variety of illustration techniques from the nineteenth and early twentieth century almost completely disappeared after the Second World War. Illustrations were now based on halftone photography and printed in offset in four (or more) colours. Techniques such as etching, engraving, lithography and wood engraving returned only in bibliophile editions.

The last new lead founts appeared in the late 1960s. Albertina (1965) by Chris Brand was the first new Dutch type to become available for the new photographic composing machine. In the 1970s and 1980s, new text type by Gerard Unger and Bram de Does followed. Then came the Macintosh computer and type design became ‘democratised’: the type designer was no longer dependent on a typesetting machine manufacturer. In the 1990s, graduates from the Graphic Design department of the Art Academy in The Hague (where Gerrit Noordzij taught) attracted international attention. There are now two Dutch digital type publishers who produce revivals and new designs: the Dutch Type ­Library and The Enschedé Font Foundry.

After the war, attention to book design was revived amongst the professionals. One of the earliest signs of this was the return of the award known in the 1930s as ‘the fifty best books’. In 1926, the Nederlandsch Verbond van Boekenvrienden had organized it for the first time with Sjoerd H. de Roos on the jury. The first post-war award ceremony of what later became known as ‘the fifty best designed books’ took place in 1949 for the books of 1948. The jury comprised five professionals, including the Utrecht bookseller Chris Leeflang, the CPNB on behalf of the organizer and Dick Dooijes (Amsterdam Type Foundry) more or less as the successor to De Roos. It came to an end in 1971 due to lack of interest. The tradition resumed in 1987 and in 1998 the organization was taken over by the foundation of the same name in which CPNB, the KVGO (Royal Association of Graphic Enterprises) and the BNO (Professional Association of Netherlands Designers) collaborated with the aim of keeping the discussion of book design alive. This was already frequently successful with the chosen books; in particular the often extravagant design of the annual catalogues provided designers with much to discuss. (KT/CdW)

The bibliophile book

Interest in the bibliophile book shortly after the war was limited to a small group compared to the various groups of enthusiasts, readers and collectors who bought similar books from bibliophile series of the 1930s. These series had mostly ceased before or during the war. The periodical Halcyon from the large bibliophile publisher Stols, who was internationally oriented in the 1930s, did not survive the war. Between 1945 and 1951, Stols released hardly any bibliophile editions. Only a few editions of the prestigious series The Halcyon Press and Helikonappeared. Stols did not have the money to start what he called a ‘pocket publishers’ and he was not able to compete with existing publishers such as De Arbeiderspers, Querido and Meulenhoff, and newcomers like De Bezige Bij, G.A. van Oorschot and Moussault, who all capitalized on market expansion and the new forms of publishing.

M.C. Escher, *Regelmatige vlakverdeling*. Utrecht, Stichting De Roos, 1958

M.C. Escher, Regelmatige vlakverdeling. Utrecht, Stichting De Roos, 1958, print VI and original wood block. MM: bb 001 B 008. (KB: JU)

M.C. Escher, *Regelmatige vlakverdeling*. Utrecht, Stichting De Roos, 1958

M.C. Escher, Regelmatige vlakverdeling. Utrecht, Stichting De Roos, 1958, wood block (detail) for print VI. MM: bb 001 B 008. (KB: JU)

The Folemprise series emblem

The Folemprise series emblem

In 1951 Stols moved to South America as an adviser to UNESCO, then spent some time back home but from 1954 was almost completely residing abroad. ‘It has become a nasty occupation’, Stols sighed in a letter to Greshoff on 24 December 1953: ‘There are no longer any bibliophile editions (my main profession) to speak of. I am redundant!’ Slowly but surely his publishing house faded away.

De Roos Foundation

The situation of the bibliophile book was not as dramatic as Stols suggested. As early as June 1945, Chris Leeflang, the typographic adviser to Het Spectrum Charles Nypels and the designer G.M. van Wees, had founded the De Roos Foundation. The name was a tribute to Sjoerd H. de Roos, the grand old man of Dutch graphic design and a tireless advocate for the well-designed book.

The aim of the foundation represents the definition of the bibliophile book well: ‘the making of books and printed matter solely out of pure and thus unselfish love for typography and art, in all conceivable forms in which they can combine’. The foundation has 175 members. Two to three editions are published annually exclusively for members. As many different people and firms as possible are engaged for design, illustration, printing and binding in order that the whole of the edition reflects contemporary possibilities in the Netherlands.

The first series of editions started in 1946 and by 2005 more than 160 titles had appeared. The most famous (and most expensive antiquarian) book of Stichting De Roos is Regelmatige vlakverdeling [Regular division of planes](1958), written and illustrated by Maurits Cornelis Escher. Known typographers and designers such as Jan van Krimpen, Willem Sandberg, Helmut Salden, Harry N. Sierman, Kees Nieuwenhuijzen, Irma Boom, Dirk van Gelder and Wim Crouwel designed editions for De Roos.

Netherlands Association for Print and Book Arts

Much earlier, in 1938, the Nederlandsche Vereeniging voor Druk- en Boekkunst (Netherlands Association for Print and Book Arts) was founded. This association did not have a strictly bibliophile nature. As the name indicates, notable advances in the printing trade were also brought to the attention of the members through special editions. The ambitions were never actually realized. First there was a false start caused by the difficult circumstances of war and later there were constant financial problems. The commitment to members, around 250 at its peak, that would receive two special editions for 15 guilders annually, could practically never be realized. In 1961 the club went into hibernation. This lasted until 1995 when, on the initiative of Jan Keijser, a group of marginal printers revitalized the affair. Since then, about 40 occasional publications and six ‘real’ books have seen the light of day, but recently it has been conspicuously quiet.

After the war, some commercial publishers began bibliophile series: usually thin stitched booklets with beautiful typographic design. De Bezige Bij began in 1945 with the series Periscoop and Tandem aliquando (as a continuation of the series Quousque tandem from the war years) and Het zwarte schaap [The black sheep]. For example, the Holland publishing company released the De windroos [The compass rose]series in 1949. The Hague bookseller and publisher L.J.C. Boucher managed to continue his bibliophile series Folemprise, begun in 1932, until 1955, with De blinde zwemmers,a prose poem by Bert Schierbeek with engravings by Jean-Paul Vroom as the last volume. In the present period, the bibliophile seriesDe Bantammerreeks(begun in 2001) from the publisher De Buitenkant of Jan de Jong deserves mention. (KT/CdW)

The private press in the 1950s and 1960s

The somewhat staid and elitist pre-war environment of the private press, focused especially on typography, changed rapidly after the war. There were two distinct movements in the lively world of craftsmen, amateurs and professionals in the 1950s and 1960s who printed books, prints and other publications for pleasure and distribution outside the commercial circuit.

One movement was reflected in the presses that focused on fine, well designed publications of a classical nature. Examples were the Zondagsdrukker/s, the Tuinwijkpers and Carlinapers, Jaap Meijer and the Renildis Handpers. The other group focused on typographic and printing experiments. Mostly these were artists who worked together and in printing workshops. The best-known examples are Typotent and the Werkplaats/Het Drukhuis with Frans de Jong, René Treumann and Emile Puettmann. Other printers that began work in the 1960s were Rinus de Vringer and Eric van der Wal.

The 1970s began with a stream of new printers. They had (and still have) different aspirations and motivations and the quality of their work varies. This is partly due to their profession and their ­training. The division between amateurs and (semi-) professionals is not easy to make but there are ­qualitative differences.

In the 1960s in particular an alternative circuit of graphic and literary products flourished outside the conventional publishers’ and booksellers’ worlds. ­Revolutionary graphic works (politically committed ­alternative graphics) and stencil and offset printing of a political protest nature appeared. In addition, debutant and amateur poets operated as publisher and printer and produced limited editions of books by simple means. These were released onto the market, but the established bookshops were usually not interested, despite their often clearly literary nature. And sometimes there was an eclectic mix of politics and literature, art and typography. (KT/CdW)

Typotent, Het Drukhuis and Frans de Jong

A clear exponent of this alternative graphics movement was Typotent. In 1965 Emile de Vries and Peter Brattinga opened the typography society Typotent in the attic of the printing shop of the Jesse brothers on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal in Amsterdam. It was a workshop in the true sense of the word: a printmaking studio where the members, mostly from the graphics world, could experiment.

The young but experienced printer and graphic artist Frans de Jong was the manager and the tutor for the inexperienced printers. Emile Puettmann, Chris Heeneman and later René Treumann were also regular visitors. The Jesses’ attic ultimately had 180 amateur printers who possessed a key and the freedom to print from ten in the morning until eleven o’clock at night. Later they moved to the Warmoesstraat and by 1971 Typotent was housed in the printing shop and graphics studio of Frans de Jong in Nieuwe Amstelstraat under the name of the Werkwinkel. Besides prints, Frans de Jong and René Treumann also made some bibliophile editions.

When the workshop had to move premises for the construction of the first Amsterdam underground line at the close of 1972, they occupied a basement and the back part of the house at 229 Herengracht together with Bart Boumans. New plans and a new name were thought of: Het Drukhuis. At the opening of Het Drukhuis in 1973, the equipment comprised three proof presses, three platen hand presses, two flat-bed presses and a 100-year-old Albion press: the beginning of a graphical-historical collection. There were also studios for artists and a ­library.

The foundation’s committee consisted of Bart Boumans, Frans de Jong, René Treumann, Frans A. Janssen and Huib van Krimpen. Het Drukhuis became a centre of typographic engagement and a school for amateurs: exhibitions were held and interested groups received. Printing also took place, producing limited editions, graphic works, broadsheets and occasional publications. The number of students per year rose to 175.

Het Drukhuis also hoped to become a living museum of typography; an institution striving to preserve what was left during the decline of traditional lead-type typography and relief printing. Under the learned guidance of Frans A. Janssen a replica of a seventeenth-century wooden hand press arose, which was inaugurated in 1980; it is now housed at the Book Studies Chair at the University of Amsterdam. Het Drukhuis closed at the end of 1980.

The influence which Het Drukhuis, and especially the tireless enthusiasm of Frans de Jong, had on a large group of young graphic and typographic artists and amateurs cannot be overestimated. Many of the ideas of the young marginal printers of the 1970s, when the genre experienced a rapid growth, originated in the vision held by Het Drukhuis.

Next to Het Drukhuis on the Herengracht, Ulises Carrión opened ‘Other Books and So’ in 1975. It was a bookshop for other-books, non-books, anti-books, pseudo-books, quasi-books, etc., focused internationally on the ‘MiniPresse’ and also selling private press publications by Tuinwijkpers and Carlinapers, Ger Kleis and Thomas Gravemaker.

Frans de Jong went his own way and over the years has produced an impressive graphic and typographic oeuvre of a completely unique character. Typical of his work is the use of all kinds of different materials, from foam-rubber and bricks to vegetables; an infinite number of print runs to obtain an exceptional colour pattern, the application of various techniques such as stencil printing and split-colour printing that give a wonderful colour transition. His motivation springs from a major commitment to his city of Amsterdam, a highly developed ideal of freedom expressed in creativity, and an inspiring humour: the master printer as passionate artist. The irregular periodical De laatste schreeuw [The last cry] constitutes one of the highlights. (KT/CdW)

*Drukhuis Herengracht 229*. Amsterdam, Drukhuis, c. 1973

Drukhuis Herengracht 229. Amsterdam, Drukhuis, c. 1973, p. ‘Lijnen van het drukhuis’. MM: pp ned Drukhuis z.j.004. (MM)

*Drukhuis Herengracht 229*. Amsterdam, Drukhuis, c. 1973

Drukhuis Herengracht 229. Amsterdam, Drukhuis, c. 1973, p. ‘vette Atlas 28 punt’. MM: pp ned Drukhuis z.j.004. (MM)

*Drukhuis Herengracht 229*. Amsterdam, Drukhuis, c. 1973

Drukhuis Herengracht 229. Amsterdam, Drukhuis, c. 1973, p. ‘Tartaar vet 40’. MM: pp ned Drukhuis z.j.004. (MM)

*Drukhuis Herengracht 229*. Amsterdam, Drukhuis, c. 1973

Drukhuis Herengracht 229. Amsterdam, Drukhuis, c. 1973, p. ‘randen en ornamenten’. MM: pp ned Drukhuis z.j.004. (MM)

Frans de Jong, *Waf. Blafoefening*. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1966

Frans de Jong, Waf. Blafoefening. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1966, p. 2-3. MM: pp ned Jong 1966.01. (MM)

Frans de Jong, *Waf. Blafoefening*. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1966

Frans de Jong, Waf. Blafoefening. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1966, p. 21. MM: pp ned Jong 1966.01. (MM)

Frans de Jong, *Prentenboek*. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1997

Frans de Jong, Prentenboek. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1997. MM: pp ned Jong 1997.01. (KB: JU)

Frans de Jong, *De laatste schreeuw*, 1. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1990

Frans de Jong, De laatste schreeuw, 1. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1990, omslag. MM: pp ned Jong 1990.02. (KB: JU)

Frans de Jong, *De laatste schreeuw*, 7. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1994

Frans de Jong, De laatste schreeuw, 7. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 1994. MM: pp ned Jong 1994.02. (KB: JU)

Frans de Jong, *De laatste schreeuw*, 10. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 2003.

Frans de Jong, De laatste schreeuw, 10. Amsterdam, Frans de Jong, 2003. MM: pp ned Jong 2003.01. (KB: JU)

De Zondagsdrukker(s) and Jaap Meijer

De Zondagsdrukker/s

Reinold Kuipers, a famous figure of the book world in this period, arrived in Amsterdam in the 1930s as a young typographer and advertising copywriter from Groningen (where he had contact with Werkman). He became the secretary of the Nederlandsch Verbond van Boekenvrienden and editor of the trade union journal Imp. (1940–1942) for which he frequently wrote articles about typography. He worked on a resistance newspaper, produced some broadsheet poems for the Resistance, printed three volumes of his own poetry under the imprint of De Boekvink, was a helping hand for the Vijf Ponden Pers and was involved with a number of small clandestine publishers.

After the war he became director of the De Arbeiderspers, which became one of the leading literary publishers in the Netherlands. In 1960 he moved to Querido where his wife, Tine van Buul, was co-director. Through him, the prestigious literary publisher’s list of Querido and the attention to typography was significantly increased.

Inspired by The Dolmen Press of Liam Miller in Dublin, which he visited in 1953, Kuipers began a private press. In 1954, in the printing shop of the Jesse brothers, he composed and printed the first book of what became De Zondagsdrukkers with Simon Carmiggelt. It was a small volume of their poetry entitled Twin set. In 1955, Simon Carmiggelt followed with Duiven melken [Pigeon fancying] and Ab Visser’s Recitatief.

In 1965 Kuipers bought a press and did his own composing but at first had printing done by Jesse, such as Het strikken van een das [Knotting the tie] by J. Bernlef. When Carmiggelt had no more time to collaborate, it became De Zondagsdrukker (without the ‘s’), but production was not high due to his own busy activities. After his retirement from Querido in 1979, this changed and two editions were published annually. He printed broadsheets and pamphlets, various literary works that might otherwise remain unpublished. In the 1980s, Jaap Meijer assisted him and the ‘s’ returned.

Jaap Meijer

During 1972, Jaap Meijer enjoyed the hospitality of the Jesse printing shop and in December he released his first book, Paul van Ostaijen’s autobiography (Zelf­biografie). When Jesse closed down in 1976, the bibliography of Jaap Meijer was up to 55 publications; by 1985 there were 100. Although his books were not always high points of typography, Meijer did have a very discerning sense for text selection.(KT/CdW)

Ab Visser, *Recitatief*. Amsterdam, Zondagsdrukkers, 1955

Ab Visser, Recitatief. Amsterdam, Zondagsdrukkers, 1955, p. 8-9. MM: pp ned Zondagsdrukker 1955.01. (MM)

Ab Visser, *Recitatief*. Amsterdam, Zondagsdrukkers, 1955

Ab Visser, Recitatief. Amsterdam, Zondagsdrukkers, 1955, colofon, met opdracht van Ab Visser aan Miep Diekman. MM: pp ned Zondagsdrukker 1955.01. (MM)

S. Carmiggelt, *Bezoek*. Amstelveen, Zondagsdrukkers, 1981

S. Carmiggelt, Bezoek. Amstelveen, Zondagsdrukkers, 1981, unopened copy. MM: pp ned Zondagsdrukker 1981.04. (KB: JU)

Renildis Handpers and Eenhoorn Pers

Renildis Handpers

In 1951 the young Dutch teacher Maurice Laudy and his girlfriend Diet van Dullemen bought an Albion hand press in Utrecht for 70 guilders. A year later they purchased type: five kilos of Grotius 10 pt and three kilos of semi-bold Garamont 10 pt. There were some occasional publications. In 1955 they married and moved to the building at 26 Achter de Dom where a printing press was set up in the attic. In 1953 the name Renildis Handpers was mentioned in the second book off the press, but the first official release with the press name appeared in 1957: Maastrichtse suite voor Fernand Lodewick by Pierre Kemp. Laudy numbered the De Renildis Handpers books starting with this edition. The colophon of the last printed book, Binnenhuisby Karel van de Woestijne in 1995, states: ‘This is the 76th book from De Renildis Handpers Achter de Dom’.

The print runs ranged from a minimum of two copies to a maximum of 32. As many as 24 of the 76 books are so-called hapax editions, books printed for a special occasion as one single copy, intended for and in the name of a certain person, together with an offprint for the printer. Over the years, more type was regularly purchased so that eventually Laudy had 33 different typefaces. In the period up until the 1970s he printed mostly modern literary texts. Of the 20 books before 1970, there were three by Pierre Kemp, four by J.H. Leopold and six by Kees Rood. In the following years he increasingly chose religious texts from the Middle Ages and the sixteenth century.

Eenhoorn Pers

Another press that seemed to be entirely independent and operated purely as a hobby was the Eenhoorn pers (Unicorn press) of C.J. (Karel) Asselbergs M.Sc., a director of the Breda Sugar Factory, a great collector of bookplates and prints and an active member of the Stichting De Roos. His Eenhoorn Pers, which began in 1944 and remained active for about ten years, brought out on average one or two publications a year, an unsubstantial but high-quality production. In 1949 and 1951, his New Year’s greeting card featured a wood engraving by the later world-famous Escher. (KT/CdW)

*Uit een vijftiende-eeuws Zuid-Nederlands liedboekje*.

Uit een vijftiende-eeuws Zuid-Nederlands liedboekje. Utrecht, De Renildis Handpers, 1984, MM: pp ned Renildis 1984.01. (KB: JU)

Dirk van Gelder, *Drie houtgravures: De morgen, De middag, De avond

Dirk van Gelder, Drie houtgravures: De morgen, De middag, De avond. Breda, Eenhoorn pers, 1950. MM: pp ned Eenhoorn 1950.01. (MM)

Tuinwijkpers and Carlinapers


In 1955 Sem Hartz, the graphic artist who worked under Joh. Enschedé in Haarlem, set up a 100 year old Albion platen press in the basement of his home at 22 Tuinwijklaan in Haarlem. In 1957 the first edition of the Tuinwijk Press appeared, Drie anonieme liedjes. Collaboration from 1964 with Cees van Dijk, director of the City Library in Haarlem, was the start of a fertile period. By the time the partnership dissolved in 1972, 20 editions had been published. They are distinguished by great typographic skill. In the tradition of the older private presses, Sem Hartz had his own type, Emergo, which he had originally designed in 1949 for Enschedé although it was never used (now in the ­possession of Jan Keijser of Woubrugge).


Cees van Dijk founded the Carlinapers in 1972 and it remained active until 1985. Many publications appeared, partly in classical typography, partly experimental with a special use of typographic elements. In 1983 he moved from Haarlem to Oosterhesselen in Drenthe. He worked there for about five years with an electronic typewriter and published around 40 small editions with the imprint Agri Montis Pers (named after the place of residence, Bergakkers). Later it ­became De Klencke Pers, operating since 2001 with computer and laser printer in Emmen.

More than 100 books were published in print runs of a few dozen copies. These were sometimes in series like De Kwartel, the Lettersnijder series, Lesturgeon series, Winckeldochters and Petits-paquets, each with its own character, and since 1997, the periodical Aold neiss has appeared irregularly. Since his residence in Drenthe, he has been considered to be the incunabula printer of the digital age amongst private press printers in the Netherlands. Literature, book history and typography are the favourite subjects of his printer’s list and, since 1983, Drenthe literature too.(KT/CdW)

Saul van Messel, *Bruid waar blijft je mond. Een bundel priapeeën*. Haarlem, De Tuinwijkpers, 1969

Saul van Messel, Bruid waar blijft je mond. Een bundel priapeeën. Haarlem, De Tuinwijkpers, 1969, p. 17 (detail). MM: pp ned Tuinwijkpers 1969.03. (KB: JU)

Cornelis Bellaert, *The sinner and God’s hand*. Haarlem, Carlinapers, 1980

Cornelis Bellaert, The sinner and God’s hand. Haarlem, Carlinapers, 1980, p. 13. MM: pp ned Carlinapers 1980.02. (MM)

P.N. van Eyck,*De tuinman en de dood*. Oosterhesselen, Carlinapers, 1984

P.N. van Eyck, De tuinman en de dood. Oosterhesselen, Carlinapers, 1984, drukkersmerk (colofon). MM: pp ned Carlinapers 1984.02. (MM)

Eliance Pers and Green Escape Press

Eliance Pers

One of the finest presses of the 1970s is Peter Muller’s Eliance Pers in Zandvoort. He was active as a printer/publisher from 1968 to 1980. For the first five years he printed on the hand press, but subsequently had most publications printed by professional printers (including Enschedé of Haarlem) according to his ­instructions. His books are characterized by interesting texts of major authors and beautiful typography. The editions were usually between 12 and 125 copies and ­in total 49 titles were published, including 30 in the Eliance series and eight in the Erotic panopticon series.

Green Escape Press

Besides his practice as a notary in Houten, Henk van Otterloo began a second life as a marginal printer and later as an antiquarian bookseller. The first edition of his Green Escape Press appeared in 1974 and contained a poem about Anne Frank’s house by Gerard Previn Meyer. The name of the press is derived from the home of the American poet Christopher Morley (1890–1957).

Most publications from this press focused on English-language literature. The print runs vary from 35 to about 100 copies. Together with the surrealist painter J.H. Moesman (1909–1988), between 1976 and 1982 Van Otterloo produced Het echte oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek [The genuine old Holland ornamental prints book]. The actual book consists of nine prints, for which the composed type is built up from of dozens of eye-catching ornaments from the typecase. Moesman carried out the composition in the printing studio of Van Otterloo. For this Moesman used an old pseudonym, Ton van Zuilen. The composed type for the Ornaprentenboek was kept and given to Museum Meermanno in 2006. The book was published in an edition of 100 copies.(KT/CdW)

Willem Frederik Hermans, *Machines in bikini*. Zandvoort, Eliance Pers, 1974

Willem Frederik Hermans,Machines in bikini. Zandvoort, Eliance Pers, 1974, p. 5. MM: pp ned Eliance 1974.04. (MM)

E. du Perron, *De koning en zijn min. Eroties gedicht in veertien zangen*. Amsterdam, Eliance Pers, 1980

E. du Perron, De koning en zijn min. Eroties gedicht in veertien zangen. Amsterdam, Eliance Pers, 1980; Cesar Bombay, Kloof tegen cylinder. Amsterdam, Eliance Pers, 1980. MM: pp ned Eliance 1980.01. (KB: JU)

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek*. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, upper cover.

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek*. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, title page.

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek*. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, colophon.

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek*. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, original type-material for p. [3]. MM: GV 3063. (MM)

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek*. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, original type-material for p. [4]. MM: GV 3063. (MM)

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek*. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, original type-material for p. [5]. MM: GV 3063. (MM)

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek*. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, original type-material for p. [6]. MM: GV 3063. (MM)

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek.* Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, original type-material for p. [7]. MM: GV 3063. (MM)

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek*. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, original type-material for p. [8]. MM: GV 3063. (MM)

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek.* Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, original type-material for p. [9]. MM: GV 3063. (MM)

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek.* Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, original type-material for p. [10]. MM: GV 3063. (MM)

*Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek*. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982

Het echte Oud-Hollandse ornaprentenboek. Houten, Green Escape Press, 1982, original type-material for p. [11]. MM: GV 3063. (MM)

After the 1970s (1)

Of nearly 20 presses begun in the 1960s and 1970s, a large number have produced work of a remarkably high graphic and typographic quality and at a high production rate. Through this they have exerted a great influence on the following generation and to a large extent determined the quality level of private press printing in the Netherlands.

Stichting Drukwerk in de Marge [Marginal Printing Foundation]

2010 marks 35 years of the existence of the Stichting Drukwerk in de Marge. On 22 March 1975, a rainy ­Saturday afternoon, the inaugural meeting was held in the Rotterdam art club. About 45 interested parties attended from the ranks of the ‘Sunday printers’, marginal publishers and small literary periodicals. In a publication to mark the tenth anniversary, Ernst Braches, the former curator of Museum Meermanno and one of the initiators, described the establishment and first decade in detail and with great verve.The first executive committee consisted of Emile Puettmann, Gerrit Jan de Rook, Ronald Breugelmans, Jana Beranová, Frans de Jong, Jan Keijser, Bas Lubberhuizen, Frans Mink and Klaas Woudt.

The foundation quickly manifested itself in May of the first year with a booth at the book market at the Museumplein in Amsterdam and in June at the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam. The founders defined the objectives as the furthering of contact between small printers and publishers, the discussion of issues such as the distribution of publications, the exchange of knowledge and materials, and the organizing of exhibitions and trade shows.

It is noteworthy that the origin of the foundation is closely connected with the ‘Minipresse’ movement that in the Netherlands mainly occurred in the form of small politically engaged or literary oriented publishers and (semi-) underground periodicals. They had already set up their own circuit around Poetry International and in Paradiso and when the foundation’s activities became more focused on the printers among its members, they further strengthened their own ranks. For many years now, the Book Art Fair has been held in November in the Pieterskerk in Leiden, and the small publishers’ trade fair in December at Paradiso in Amsterdam.

Communication with the contributors is conducted through the quarterly Nieuwsbrief and for more lengthy articles the Bulletin was created. In principle the Bulletin appears annually, but this frequency has proved unsustainable. In addition, the production had become more prestigious as it continued, so the impact on funds became too great. After the publication of Bulletin 23/24, ‘Hollandse hoogte’ (1997), the series ceased. As compensation for the loss, starting with no. 101, the Nieuwsbrief underwent a radical transformation into an offset printed A5 booklet. In addition, the contributors received an annual surprise of an attractive Lost Monday print.

The foundation grew rapidly and in 2010 has 560 contributors of which about 175 are active printers, mostly using letterpress. The creation of the foundation and especially the rapid growth in the number of donors were in part due to technical innovations which took place in the printing trade when lead type was replaced by film and many more typefaces became available. The executive committee has developed a large number of activities over the years. Individual members were also readily prepared to roll up their sleeves and so a sense of solidarity developed amongst participants, manifest in various collaborative projects.

The tenth anniversary was celebrated in 1985 with a double exhibition at the Museum Meermanno and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and the publication Drukkers in de Marge in which 61 present-day active printers were reviewed. The twentieth anniversary was followed by an exhibition at the Zeeuws Museum and the project ­Woordendoos for which 30 printers cooperated. Their work and photographs by Alexandra Verburg feature in the publication Pastei en hoerenjong [Pie and bad break]. The twenty-fifth anniversary in 2000 was celebrated with an exhibition at the Art Academy in The Hague and the publication of the book Lood en oud ijzer [Lead and old iron]. This time 117 presses featured in words and images, an unmistakable sign of the growing interest in composing, printing and the pleasure of book making.(KT/CdW)

Members of Drukwerk in de marge, 1 april 1995

Members of Drukwerk in de marge, 1 april 1995, Uitgeverij De Buitenkant, Amsterdam. Picture postcard. Private collection. (MM)

Members of Drukwerk in de marge, 20 april 1996

Members of Drukwerk in de marge, 20 april 1996, Uitgeverij De Buitenkant, Amsterdam. Picture postcard. Private collection. (MM)

Members of Drukwerk in de marge, 19 april 1997

Members of Drukwerk in de marge, 19 april 1997, Uitgeverij De Buitenkant, Amsterdam. Picture postcard. Private collection. (MM)

After the 1970s (2)

When in 1985 over 60 active marginal printers were asked about their motivations, most of the answers came down to ‘for my pleasure’ and also, ‘to spread my ideas, to spread beautiful graphics, to maintain a ­traditional craft, love for the technique’. Today is not so different.


As in the previous period, the more than 140 marginal printers in the last quarter of the twen­tieth century can be roughly divided into two groups whatever their background. One is interested in typography, works with type and is inspired by the text; the other consists of graphic artists, who work with colours and are inspired by the image. It ultimately remains an enthusiasm, not a profession, but a hobby that is practised with more or less dedication in basements, sheds, attics and sometimes the living room. Some presses produce ten or more books each year, others spend more than one year on one book, sometimes the press lies still for ages then it reactivates with new material, new inspiration or the arrival of a new partner. To be more precise, there are four distinct categories.

There is a group of printers with professional experience and interest because they work (or have worked) as a typographer or designer, or more broadly in the printing and book business. The earliest example is Reinold Kuipers’ De Zondagsdrukker, others are Bram de Does’ Spectatorpers, Roel van Dijk’s Presse d’Escargot, Huib van Krimpen’s Blauwe Maandagpers, Ben Hosman’s Regulierenpers, Rob Cox’s Veerpers, Ewald Spieker’s printing workshop and Karel Treebus’ De vergulde maatlat/Treemapers. They did not have to learn the trade and they printed for pleasure but high demands were usually set for the end result.

Then there is the group of artists who also regularly stood at the press to create graphics with text or books with original graphics. One of the first was Emile Puettmann of the Slofpers, soon followed by Frans de Jong and René Treumann, but also Peter Yvon de Vries (De Lange Afstand), Eric van der Wal, Dick Berendes (Typografiek), Peter Lazarov (Pepel Press), Typique, Weerdruk and many others with printmaking workshops can be included. They usually know how to handle machines and materials and use them in creative ways..

Another category covers printers who primarily have pleasure in working with type and are mainly inspired by texts and literature. They wish to distribute their own or others’ texts in their own manner and in a form they chose. They usually work exclusively with letterpress, have one or two presses and a few racks of type, and make print runs of 20 to 100 copies for a more or less regular group of clients. Often they have learnt by trial and error, observation and working with others or through a course. They seek illustrations for texts that are sometimes produced by artists, sometimes by themselves. One of the first and certainly the most famous press is the Avalon Press of Jan Keijser. Other examples are De Ammoniet, Augustijn Pers, Breukenpers, Bucheliuspers, Eikeldoorpers, Hein Elferink, Enkidupers, Hester Verkruissen, Kalamos­pers, Klaproos, Lojen Deur Pers, Mercator Press, Mikado Pers, Pastei, Pers No. 14, Triona Pers and De Uitvreter.

Not unrelated to this category is a group of printers who work in the tradition of the original private press and strive to create a book in which a carefully chosen text is accompanied by classical (or experimental) typography, on fine paper, possibly with illustrations in special techniques by independent artists, and part of the edition is expensively bound. They have mostly taught themselves, and often work only in letterpress printing; thus the printing of the illustrations is often carried out by the artist. The best known is Ger Kleis’ Sub Signo Libelli; however the Atalanta Pers of René and Tineke Bakker, Hans van Eijk’s In de Bonnefant, Jaap Schipper’s Statenhofpers and Ser J. L. Prop and his Tuinpers belong here as well.

Moreover, this characterisation should not be taken too absolutely. There is often overlap, and a press may show a playful, light-hearted side one moment and then a very classical, perfectionist side. Marlies Louwes and Hester Verkruissen demonstrate that playing with type to a high perfection level can be done. But a totally different perspective is also easy to defend. De Klaproos, De Zwaluw, De Eikeldoorpers and De Pepel Press belong to the group of ‘artists’ who happily combine a printing press with their graphic work. (KT/CdW)

Bram de Does,*Kaba ornament. Deel I, Vorm.* Orvelte, Spectatorpers, 2002

Bram de Does, Kaba ornament. Deel I, Vorm. Orvelte, Spectatorpers, 2002, p. 38-39. MM: pp ned Spectator 2002.01. (KB: JU)

Bram de Does, *Kaba ornament. Deel I, Vorm.* Orvelte, Spectatorpers, 2002

Bram de Does, Kaba ornament. Deel I, Vorm. Orvelte, Spectatorpers, 2002, p. 40-41. MM: pp ned Spectator 2002.01. (KB: JU)

Bram de Does, *Kaba ornament. Deel I, Vorm.* Orvelte, Spectatorpers, 2002

Bram de Does, Kaba ornament. Deel I, Vorm. Orvelte, Spectatorpers, 2002, cloth binding. MM: pp ned Spectator 2002.01. (KB: JU)

*ABC, schrift en alfabet.* Tweede oplage. Berkel en Rodenrijs, De vergulde maatlat, Treemapers, 1984

ABC, schrift en alfabet. Tweede oplage. Berkel en Rodenrijs, De vergulde maatlat, Treemapers, 1984, p. 8-9. MM: pp ned Treemapers 1984.03. (MM)

Jana Beranová, *Ars erotica.* Prenten van Emile Puettmann. Rotterdam, De Slof-Pers, 1985

Jana Beranová, Ars erotica. Prenten van Emile Puettmann. Rotterdam, De Slof-Pers, 1985. MM: pp ned Slofpers 1985.03. (MM)

Hella S. Haasse, *Yvonne de spionne en andere cabaretteksten.* Eefde, De Lange Afstand, 2000

Hella S. Haasse, Yvonne de spionne en andere cabaretteksten. Eefde, De Lange Afstand, 2000, p. 12-13. MM: pp ned Lange Afstand 2000.02. (MM)

Cees Visser, *Verstild. Gedichten.* Typografiek door Dick Berendes. Heerhugowaard, Dick Berendes, 2005

Cees Visser, Verstild. Gedichten. Typografiek door Dick Berendes. Heerhugowaard, Dick Berendes, 2005, p. 14-15. MM: Obj. 1191. (MM)

Peter Lazarov, *Shoji.* Groningen, Pepel Press, 2004

Peter Lazarov, Shoji. Groningen, Pepel Press, 2004. MM: pp ned Pepel Press 2004.03. (KB: JU)

Peter Lazarov, *Shoji*. Groningen, Pepel Press, 2004

Peter Lazarov, Shoji. Groningen, Pepel Press, 2004. MM: pp ned Pepel Press 2004.03. (KB: JU)

Gerard Post van der Molen, *Omdat het mooier is.* Leiden, De Ammoniet, 1999

Gerard Post van der Molen, Omdat het mooier is. Leiden, De Ammoniet, 1999, p. 4-5. MM: pp ned Herinnering 01. (MM)

Gerard Post van der Molen, *Omdat het mooier is.* Leiden, De Ammoniet, 1999

Gerard Post van der Molen, Omdat het mooier is. Leiden, De Ammoniet, 1999, drukkersmerk (title page). MM: pp ned Herinnering 01. (MM)

Alberto Moravia, *Zou het waar zijn, zou het niet waar zijn?* Den Haag, Mikado Pers, 2000

Alberto Moravia, Zou het waar zijn, zou het niet waar zijn? Den Haag, Mikado Pers, 2000, vooromslag. MM: pp ned Zoo’n uitvreter toch! 03. (MM)

Jan Sonntag, *Dante/Bacon; Dante/Bosch; Bante/Beuys.* Amsterdam, Pastei, 2003-2004.

Jan Sonntag, Dante/Bacon; Dante/Bosch; Bante/Beuys. Amsterdam, Pastei, 2003-2004. MM: pp ned Barbaix 2003.02-03; pp ned Barbaix 2004.01. (KB: JU)

Guido Gezelle, *De rave.* Jacques Hamelink, *Dode meeuw.* Amsterdam, Pastei, 1988

Guido Gezelle, De rave. Jacques Hamelink, Dode meeuw. Amsterdam, Pastei, 1988. KB: KW DPA 0073. (KB: JU)

Lucebert, *Acht brieven.* Terhorst, Ser J.L. Prop, 2000, titelpagina en frontispice

Lucebert, Acht brieven. Terhorst, Ser J.L. Prop, 2000, titelpagina en frontispice. MM: pp ned Prop 2000.02. (KB: JU)

Leo Vroman, *Twaalf psalmen*. Terhorst, Tuinpers, 1995

Leo Vroman, Twaalf psalmen. Terhorst, Tuinpers, 1995, colofon. MM: pp ned Tuinpers 1995.01. (MM)

Willem van Toorn, *Les très riches heures.* Terhorst, De Tuinpers, 2003

Willem van Toorn, Les très riches heures. Terhorst, De Tuinpers, 2003, p. 6-7. MM: pp ned Prop 2003.04. (MM)

*Tabula Smaragdina oftewel De smaragden tafel.* Delft, De Klaproos, 2007

Tabula Smaragdina oftewel De smaragden tafel. Delft, De Klaproos, 2007. MM: pp ned Klaproos 2007.01. (KB: JU)

Noor van der Brugge, *Sombere honden.* Utrecht, Noor van der Brugge, The Yeats Sisters Press, 2007

Noor van der Brugge, Sombere honden. Utrecht, Noor van der Brugge, The Yeats Sisters Press, 2007, omslag. MM: Ku 0176. (KB: JU)

After the 1970s (3)


The design, composing, printing and finishing of a publication is, in principle, relatively solitary work. Perhaps it is precisely for that reason that since 1980 the marginal world has seen a multitude of projects created. Most popular of these is the birthday box and it is no coincidence that two old hands of the trade, Emile Puettmann and Frans de Jong, were the first to taste the pleasure of such a gift in 1981.

The principle is simple: some printers from the immediate vicinity of the birthday boy/girl send invitations to a select group of colleagues, determine a theme and provide guidelines on format, deadlines and print run. The participants share the costs but as a reward they all receive a copy of the finished product, a box of single contributions or a book. In order to pay the box-makers and binders, extra copies are made which are offered to the trade.

To date, there have been about 25 birthday projects, each of which was a feast for the eyes. This is partly because those finishing the boxes love to do their best for the final result. For example, there is the clamshell case made by Erik Schots, De spiegel op het gemak. Veestschrift for Ronald Breugelmans op zijn vijftigste verjaardag. At the front there is door opening to an old bucket toilet, under the loose lid of which the reason for the creation is again exuberantly revealed.

The boxes made by Cor Aerssens are also spectacular. Pim Witteveen was surprised with a nineteenth-century writing case and Marlies Louwes with a ‘vase of tulips’ that makes the sound of rattling seeds when shaken. Frans den Breejen also put up a good show, as the sewing box with a voluptuous red lining for Kees Thomassen proved.

In general, the attainment of a fiftieth birthday is the minimum requirement for such a gift, but there is an exception. Ernst Boissevain of Pers No. 14 grumbled that by that age, most printers would have hung up their composing stick forever. So his fortieth was graced with a nice box Plop! of Flop? Moreover, gifts were not limited to birthdays; a press anniversary, the ­winning of a prize or retirement could also be suitable occasions.

Now this type of project does have one drawback: you have to be invited to take part. Very different are the five projects of De Blauwe Scheen, organized by Jan Keijser and Hans van Eijk. Participation was open to all printer members of the Stichting Drukwerk in de Marge. Three of them were: Een doos die eenmaal open nooit meer dicht (1985), Bladspiegeling (1989) and Minotauromachia (1994).

The very first project was Drukken in 1982. 25 printers put together a motley collection of books dedicated (the name tells all) to aspects of printing. David Simaleavich of the Binderij Phoenix made two boxes encased in Plexiglas that opened like a ‘travel ­library’ in two parts. The most impressive project was The great Dutch type specimen in which 60 prose fragments by Jacob Israël de Haan were brought together, each printed in a different type and in the form of a type specimen.

There were more projects focusing on a certain author. A group of printers from the Leiden area ­produced a full reprint of the Snikken en grimlachjes by Piet Paaltjens (poems from his student days in Leiden) and a box was made to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Hendrik de Vries on the initiative of the Typografentafel in Groningen. Birthday boxes sometimes have an author as theme (Jacobus van Looy, Franz Kafka, Paul van Ostaijen), but the nicest project of this type is that of Arjan van Nimwegen. It took him five years of lobbying and begging, but when finally De polyglotte melkboer entered the world in 1991: 86 translations of ‘Immortelle XLIX’ (‘Wel menigmaal zei de melkboer’) by Piet Paaltjens, including one even in Braille.

The odd one out was the DDVproject. This featured no author but an office, namely that of poet laureate. The assignment of the 31 participants was to make a book of the works of a past author who could have held this office if it had existed in their time.

In addition, there are small groups of printers that sometimes work together on a project. For instance ‘Corps 8’ has so far carried out (or began) seven projects, including one designed entirely in the old style Hornbook and Het koppermaandag prentenboek for all contributors to the Drukwerk in de Marge, for which 25 printers had to crank away at their presses more than 550 times. Another group is united under the name De Hanzepersen: to date five publications, including a cheerful leporello dedicated to the River IJssel, have seen the light of day.

There are even one-man projects. The best known is Het ambachtelijk groeiboek [The growing book] by De Ammoniet. Designed by Gerard Post van der Molen and edited by Bert van Selm, then Paul Hoftijzer, the Groeiboek draws attention to previously little known facts from book history in the Netherlands. The 150 subscribers receive chapters, all written by other book historians, as they are finished. The first chapter, written by Rudi Ekkart, appeared in 1988. It is a long-term project: 13 chapters of the planned 25 have since been published.

Even projects involving international cooperation are possible. Printing in Oxford & Leiden (1990) was fairly modest but that can certainly not be said of the Nederlands-Hongaarse biljetletterproef [Dutch-Hungarian poster type specimen] (2009). Led by Ronald Steur, 40 printers from both countries festively set sometimes monstrous wood type on paper. The size of the letters demanded a hefty paper format; the case was 480 x 330 mm. (KT/CdW)

*Groei en bloei. Een verjaardagsboeket voor Marlies Louwes.* S.l., s.n., 2005

Groei en bloei. Een verjaardagsboeket voor Marlies Louwes. S.l., s.n., 2005. MM: pp ned Groei & bloei 01. (KB: JU)

*Groei en bloei. Een verjaardagsboeket voor Marlies Louwes.* S.l., s.n., 2005.

Groei en bloei. Een verjaardagsboeket voor Marlies Louwes. S.l., s.n., 2005. MM: pp ned Groei & bloei 01. (KB: JU)

*Drukken. Een project van Nederlandse drukkende kunstenaars en amateurs in de drukkunst.* Banholt, In de Bonnefant, 1982.

Drukken. Een project van Nederlandse drukkende kunstenaars en amateurs in de drukkunst. Banholt, In de Bonnefant, 1982. MM: pp ned Blauwe Scheen 1.01. KB: ZD 1982/21. (KB: JU)

*Catten kinderen muisen gaern, en andere spreekwoorden.* S.l., Hanzepersen, 2005

Catten kinderen muisen gaern, en andere spreekwoorden. S.l., Hanzepersen, 2005, katern ‘Ben ik kat’ door Doortje de Vries, Eikeldoorpers. MM: pp ned Hanzepersen 2005.01. (MM)

*Catten kinderen muisen gaern, en andere spreekwoorden*. S.l., Hanzepersen, 2005

Catten kinderen muisen gaern, en andere spreekwoorden. S.l., Hanzepersen, 2005, katern ‘Water’, door Eierland Pers. MM: pp ned Hanzepersen 2005.01. (MM)

Adri K. Offenberg, *De verborgen schat van Athias.* Leiden, De Ammoniet, 2005

Adri K. Offenberg, De verborgen schat van Athias. Leiden, De Ammoniet, 2005. (Groeiboek, 12). MM: pp ned Ammoniet 2005.04. (MM)

After the 1970s (4)

Occasional publications

It is well known that the postal services have ­seriously suffered from the rise of various forms of electronic communication, but the tradition of the Christmas and New Year’s greeting card is still maintained. The New Year’s card is especially popular in the marginal world. Owning a press allows one to avoid conventional greeting cards and some presses make ­extravagant use of the opportunity. Even better (or ­unfortunately), there are even presses whose annual production is virtually limited to a New Year’s edition. One well known example is De vergulde maatlat/ Treemapers of Karel Treebus, whose New Year’s wishes are among the best designed marginal publications.The very colourful greetings for 2005 were issued in an edition of over 200 copies that required up to 17 print runs. Another example is Pers No. 14 that for 14 years has treated a small flock of lucky recipients to instalments of the witty Plop!, a magazine that aims to ­‘promote’ the coming year.

Earlier there were the usual printers who (according to a centuries-old tradition in the printing world) ­delivered a ‘Lost Monday Greeting’ each year on the first Monday after Epiphany, but many probably succumbed to the inviting postage discount at Christmas time and so switched to a New Year’s greeting. One of the tenacious devotees is Ser J.L. Prop who delighted fellow printers and friends with a beautifully designed, unpublished poem for the twenty-fourth time in 2010.

Press and type

During the 1970s and 1980s, printing materials were still in full supply, directly from mostly small printers who had changed to offset, or from scrap metal dealers like Toetenel in The Hague. This era ended in 2000: now presses, typesetting material and lead type comes onto the market only sporadically. It was therefore particularly important to inventory what still exists and remains in use.

Gerard Post van der Molen is the most aware of this necessity. The workgroup Techniek en Informatie was created at his initiative (although not without a struggle) and has made important achievements. One example was the so-called ‘roller campaign’ in which new rubber rollers for presses were made at an attractive discount for members. More important still was the contact that Post van der Molen managed to make with two old hands, Chris Schults and Tjitze Mast. In recent years, nearly every press in the Netherlands has been taken in hand with artisan-of-all-trades Mast reconstructing broken parts on his lathe with seemingly casual ease.

The workgroup also took on the inventory of existing printing material. In 2000 it could not be anticipated that this would eventually lead to a special book dedicated to the subject, De toekomst van ons grafisch verleden [The future of our graphic past]. For nostalgic reasons this was distributed as Bulletin 25 to contributors in 2004.In that year, the workgroup asked 120 active members what printing presses they used.One worked only digitally while the other 119 together had over 258 presses and four casting machines. The most used was the cylinder press (135) and of these the Korrex proof press was the most common (47). Platen presses were present at 97 premises and in addition there were 12 hand presses in use, including one wooden model, two Stanhopes and three Albions. The type was also inventoried.

Around 2000, 119 marginal printers had 329 different typefaces available between them. Of these, approximately one-third were reported as assorted, i.e. as a series within a type family, with or without variants like italic and semi-bold, and two-thirds as ‘some cases of’. The bread-and-butter typefaces of the marginal printers were Garamont/Garamond (available at 62 printers, 31 with an assortment) and Bodoni (at 61 printers, 26 with an assortment). With the sans serif, Nobel (51 printers, 25 with an assortment) and Gill (32 printers, 18 with an assortment) were the most popular. The classic Dutch letters were also well represented, such as Hollandsche Mediaeval (22 printers), Egmont (20), Grotius (8), Erasmus (14), De Roos (17), Cancellaresca Bastarda (9), Lutetia (14), Romulus (15), Romanée (11), Spectrum (13) and Lectura (18).

Although the list does not show which types were hand-made and which were cast from a Monotype ­machine, it does reveal that a good number of Dutch lead types were and still are available amongst the ­marginal printers. This inventory was updated in 2008 to show that there were 194 people in the Netherlands with presses and type of which 110 took the trouble to submit an overview of their material. The picture ­arising does not differ ­essentially from that of the 2000 inventory.(KT/CdW)

*Plop. Magazine ter bevordering van het nieuwe jaar*, 2005. Leiden, Pers No. 14, 2005

Plop. Magazine ter bevordering van het nieuwe jaar, 2005. Leiden, Pers No. 14, 2005, voorzijde omslag. Private collection. (MM)

*Plop. Magazine ter bevordering van het nieuwe jaar*, 2006. Leiden, Pers No. 14, 2006

Plop. Magazine ter bevordering van het nieuwe jaar, 2006. Leiden, Pers No. 14, 2006, voorzijde omslag Private collection. (MM)

After the 1970s (5)


In general, the publications of marginal printers are not only modest in print runs but also in size. It is no coincidence that poetry dominates. The existing type cases are generally not so well filled that the composing and printing of longer prose texts is possible unless the pages are printed in stages. Moreover, printing is practised as a hobby, so that only part of the available time can be spent on it.

That there are nevertheless printers who do ­produce longer works is partly due to the Monotype typesetting machine. Unlike line-casting machines such as the Inter-type and Linotype, the Monotype casts individual letters. This means that when correcting errors, only a few letters need to be replaced instead of retyping and re-casting the whole line (with the risk of making new errors!). There is another big advantage to the Monotype producing individual type: as many cases can be filled with brand-new type as you want.

The Monotype is technically a very complicated machine and requires extensive knowledge in addition to much space. They are still to be found in printing museums, but rarely in working order. Fortunately, the Stichting Lettergieten [Typecasting Foundation] in Westzaan, which originally mainly supplied bookbinders with large body sizes for the lettering of bindings, has been increasingly of service to marginal printers in recent years. John Cornelisse of the Enkidupers has been active in this field for several years, but the most important Monotype has stood for over 20 years at Jan Keijser’s Avalon Press in Woubrugge.

He was involved in the executive committee of the Stichting Drukwerk in de Marge from its inception, early on as secretary then as chairman from 1995 to 2006. His central role in the marginal world cannot be overestimated. Not only has he infected dozens of people with the printing virus, he has also helped many on their way by pointing out printers who had changed over to offset and wished to dispose of their moveable type material.

More importantly however, he managed to acquire a working Monotype (operational from 1983) and a supra caster (especially for large letter bodies; operational from 1991) from the lead type inventory of the Government Printing Office of The Hague and Brill of Leiden: and also a few old hands who knew the equipment inside out.

Of these, Harrie Saveur deserves an honourable mention. Year in year out, he was at Keijser’s farm on Saturdays and more after his early retirement in 1993. From the shed you could hear the characteristic pounding of the Monotype. Jan Keijser fully exploited this opportunity to be able to produce lengthy prose texts. The production of his press could have been much higher still, were it not for his generosity in making his printing facilities available to fellow printers, in the form of both completely cast texts and the casting of usually crammed-full typecases.

That a great deal of marginal printing work is not marred by worn-out type is partly due to ‘Woubrugge’. Unfortunately, the Monotype era there has since permanently closed.


As with any printing, the choice of paper for the private press is of great influence on the final result and it is for good reason that the colophon specifies not only the fount but also often the paper used for the text block and sometimes even the wrapper. This is important for the purchaser and collector, especially in the case of special editions on different types of paper, but simply to have a lovely, preferably handmade paper with a watermark, perhaps with deckled edges, lends a sense of pride to the printer.

During the second half of the twentieth century it became increasingly difficult to get authentic handmade paper. The old paper mills in France and Britain closed their doors (the famous Barcham Green ceased in 1987) and the famous ‘Hollandsch’ of Van Gelder is no longer made. Occasionally there are sometimes remnants of beautiful paper available from bankrupt printers but today one must rely on art material suppliers and a few paper wholesalers such as Jozef Vierhout of The Hague.

Beautiful (part) rag paper from the cylinder sieve machine (with or without artificial deckle border or watermark) such as that of Zerkall and Hahnemühle of Germany and Fabriano of Italy is not cheap but does have a better look than their ordinary laid and wove paper or fine acid-free paper for book printing. In the Netherlands, genuine handmade printing paper is still only manufactured by the De Middelste Molen in Loenen, where many customers’ wishes can be met even as far as a ‘personal’ watermark.

The wrapper has not yet been mentioned: a heavy handmade paper from one of the very few still operational traditional paper mills in the Netherlands, De Schoolmeester in Westzaan; a beautiful machine or handmade marbled paper; or sturdy exotic paper from Thailand. And then there are endpapers: machine-printed or hand-marbled, or lovely blank paper: the choice is endless and forms a large part of the pleasure of the craft. Just as it was for the first printers in the fifteenth century, the purchase of paper is the largest and most risky investment. Thus for today’s marginal printers, with every edition, the choice of the paper is not easy: beautiful and expensive, or simple and affordable, the final result strongly depends on this choice. (KT/CdW)

Jan Keijser, 1995

Jan Keijser, 1995 (photograph by Alexandra Verburg)

After the 1970s (6)


Often the printer easily finishes most products of the press in the form of a cahier stitch. Special printing ­requires well-designed and fine binding executed by a professional. Often a part of the edition is expensively bound in half or whole vellum or leather, with ­titles, gold or blind-tooled vignettes or edges, and ­encased in slipcases and boxes. The Phoenix Bindery of David J. Simaleavich,established in 1981 and led by Philipp Janssen since 1991, and the Eenhoorn Binderij of Hans van der Horst are renowned, but Frans den ­Breejen should also be mentioned along with Cor Aerssens, Pau Groenendijk and Erik Schots who have often worked for the marginal printers.


One of the objectives of the Stichting Drukwerk in de Marge was the making of a bibliography of marginal publications. Certainly no small ambition as two important conditions had to be met: capable cataloguers and the presence of all relevant publications. The Stichting thought these could be met by laying the responsibility for the bibliography wholly on the shoulders of the contributing printers. They would send in a pre-printed card for each of their publications, then the proposed bibliography would easily compile itself.

And so in January 1978 as instalment 6 of the Bulletin, the first part of a bibliography of marginal publications appeared and ran until 1 September 1977. The second part ran until 15 June 1979 and the third part until 1 July 1981. These three parts total 2162 numbers. The difficulties with the production are evidenced by the fact that the third part that was announced repeatedly from 1981 but did not finally appear until late 1983. Then silence fell. The enthusiasm and discipline required of the printers to faithfully send cards varied from the very beginning. As the years passed, the flow steadily decreased while at the same time, the number of printers, and, therefore the production of publications, increased.

In 1994, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek attempted to fill the ‘gap’ with one action. The starting point was the publications held by the depository of Dutch publications that were registered as a ‘limited edition’. Additions were obtained by comparing the basic database of cards submitted since 1983 with several published bibliographies of individual presses, and with the ‘Nieuwe uitgaven [New ­releases]’ column in the newslettersof the Stichting Drukwerk in de Marge. The result was a hefty tome in which 6030 publications were described. Obviously, this list is still not complete, if only because not all printers appreciate the ­importance of the Deposit ­Library and so do not submit all their publications. Above all, the compilation alone put so much pressure on library staff that there was no time for thorough research.

After 1994, silence descended once more and the idea that there will ever be a printed sequel to the bibliography seems barely realistic. Yet this does not mean that the overview of bibliophile production has become totally elusive. The online catalogue of the KB provides the search tool ‘publisher, printer’. This basically means that the production of every printer can be followed chronologically, provided that they have faithfully submitted a copy of all their publications to the KB. For those who failed to do so, the KB bears no responsibility and rightly so. Furthermore, presses can also be found by searching on the web catalogue of the Museum Meermanno.(KT/CdW)

Vergil, *The golden bough.* Translation Seamus Heaney. Banholt, In de Bonnefant, 1992

Vergil, The golden bough. Translation Seamus Heaney. Banholt, In de Bonnefant, 1992, binding by the Eenhoorn Binderij. MM: pp ned In de Bonnefant 1992.05. (KB: JU)

Willem Brakman, *Wit gepleisterd en met rieten dak.* Den Haag, Mikado Pers, 2003

Willem Brakman, Wit gepleisterd en met rieten dak. Den Haag, Mikado Pers, 2003, publisher’s devices on upper cover of half vellum bindings by Frans den Breejen. MM: pp ned Mikado 2003.03. (KB: JU)