The Chained Books of Zutphen


7th Jun, 2013

A spot of ‘book p0rn’ for you on this fine Friday, which takes us to the 16th-century chained library of Zutphen, in the east of the Netherlands.

Photos by Eric Wakkel

No need for a library card here, the Zutphen hasn’t updated its system for more than 550 years! Each book is fitted with a metal clasp to which a metal chain is attached and strung through a metal rod. The rod is locked in place to the bookcase. During the middle ages, people were starting to get the hang of the whole ‘reading thing’ but many couldn’t afford to buy their own books, which were very expensive at that time….

With the valuable collections locked to the lecterns, the public could come in and have free access without the risk of theft– kind of like a medieval Apple store!

In the floor under the reading desks there are tracks that are said to be the Devil’s footprints. “According to a poem by the 19th century poet A.C.W. Staring, the Devil caught the monk Jaromir eating a chicken in the ‘Librije’ during Lent! The Devil punished Jaromir by locking him up in the ‘Librije’ for one night.”

They look suspiciously more like doggy paw prints to me though…

Zutphen is one of three chained libraries still in existence in Europe (see the Library in Hereford, England and the Malatestiana Library, Cesena Italy.

Chained Books

via Book P0rn




You might also like


More in Comedic TherapyHow to start a subcultureLife is MessyLost & FoundNostalgiaObscure historyTime travel

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Your Office on Cloud 9 in Paris

I remember moving to Paris and not really knowing where to start. In fact, I probably took a lot longer than I should have to rev my engines because I just didn't have a place to go and plan worl...

Trending 1,376

The Messy Nessy Chic Holiday Book List

Don’t count on me as a book critic here and I’m certainly no literary connoisseur, but one thing you might be able to rely on is that I’m not bad at sniffing out a good story. And by now, I th...

Trending 2,061

The Fashion World’s Best Kept Secret

If you asked me to name three fashion photographers off the top of my head, I would probably say, Mario Testino (easy one), Annie Leibovitz ... and does that guy who photographs everyone on the st...

Trending 2,291

The Art of Homemaking in a World War Dugout

It all started with one photograph that caught my interest, and then through the course of today, I think I've easily gone through about 10,000 photographs, searching through various archives for ...

Trending 3,819