Rijmbijbel of Jacob van Maerlant

In collaboration with the Manuscript Department of the Royal Library of Belgium, and the conservation studio of the KBR, Lieve Watteeuw starts in February 2017 an integrated research on the material characteristics of the “Rijmbijbel of Jacob van Maerlant”. Maerlant is one of the most important Middle Dutch authors during the Middle Ages. The Brussels manuscript is the oldest illustrated manuscript in the Dutch language. Since 2016, the manuscript is undergoing an intensive conservation treatment, funded by the Fund de la Serna of the King Bouwdewijn Foundation. With scientific imaging (the Micro-dome, the Hirox 3D binocular) and through Xrf mapping the project will reveal detailed information on production characteristics of this important 13th century manuscript and support the conservation treatment. The research is in collaboration with the Imaging Lab – KU Leuven and the laboratories of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage. 

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The ArtGarden research project tests and develops an efficient ("best practices") matrix (tool - protocol) for monitoring, imaging and documenting (art-technical), fragile historic mixed-media objects. This is used to facilitate decision making during conservation and preservation practice.

The casus in ArtGarden is the conservation and preservation of the unique collection of seven Enclosed Gardens from the Mechelen City Museums. Their condition is similar to that of a vast number of museum objects kept in the Belgian Federal collections and even worldwide. Due to the multimedia nature of the Gardens this case study generates new know-how that can be applied to the conservation of other complex heritage objects. The aim is to develop ArtGarden as an international benchmarking project for conservation & preservation of original multi-media artefacts in museum environments.

Promotors of the research project are the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, KIK-IRPA, the University of Leuven and the University of Antwerp, Axes


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For more information, please visit The ArtGarden research project website

RICH Project
RICH (Reflectance Imaging for Cultural Heritage, KU Leuven, 2012-2015) is creating a digital imaging tool for researching, studying, and exploring material characteristics of library materials. In 2005, the first generation of the module was created for reading cuneiform tablets in the department of Assyriology of the University of Leuven.
In Search of Utopia 1516

Leuven, M – Museum Leuven, 20 October 2016 - 17 January 2017


2016 will witness the 500th anniversary of the first publication of Thomas More’s Utopia in Leuven. More, humanist, statesman, and ambassador of Henry VIII of England, had his book published at the renowned printing house established by Dirk Martens in the university town – Erasmus acted as go-between. Utopia is, without doubt, the most influential new book ever published not merely in Leuven but in the whole of the Low Countries. More coined the word ‘Utopia’ himself. Derived from the ancient Greek it means ‘not-place’ or ‘Nowhereland’.

To mark the quincentenary of this milestone in Europe’s intellectual and cultural history the City of Leuven and University of Leuven are mounting a major exhibition: In Search of Utopia. It takes as its starting point a concrete fact in Leuven’s history – the printing, in 1516, of the first edition of Utopia. But the exhibition ranges far beyond that to explore the European fascination with the universe, with the globe, its parts and its inhabitants, and to delve into man’s dream of an ideal world.

The Enclosed Gardens of the Municipal Museums of Mechelen
In October 2014, a team of restorers started with the restoration of the seven Enclosed Gardens (Dutch: Besloten Hofjes) held by the Municipal Museums of Mechelen (Belgium). The collection of seven Enclosed Gardens dates from the 16th century and belonged to the former convent of Mechelen's Hospital Sisters. Enclosed Gardens were mainly fabricated in the city of Mechelen, though only a few survive. Because of its extraordinary coherence and uniqueness, this collection of seven Enclosed Gardens was recognised as belonging to the category of Flemish Masterpieces by the Flemish Government.
The Missal of Berchem
De provincie Antwerpen, het district Berchem en KU Leuven slaan de handen in elkaar om het Missaal van Berchem, ook gekend als het  Missaal van de Sint-Michielsabdij of het Wondermissaal, te conserveren en te digitaliseren. Al eeuwenlang wordt het boek bewaard in de Sint-Willibrorduskerk in Berchem. Het is het oudst bewaarde liturgische premonstratenzerhandschrift uit de Lage Landen. Het dateert vermoedelijk uit de elfde eeuw. De conservering en digitalisering is toevertrouwd aan Illuminare.
the Manuscript from Sawalo

Illuminare – Centre for the Study of Medieval Art at the KU Leuven is researching and exposing the 12th century Gospels from the abbey of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux. This unknown masterpiece is being kept at the Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp. In the months ahead Dr. Lieve Watteeuw and Bruno Vandermeulen will study, conserve and digitalize the manuscript. This project will be executed within the RICH Project (Reflecting Imaging for Cultural Heritage – KU Leuven).