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Köln und die Ausbreitung der Buchdruckerkunst in den Niederlanden* II

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Ulrich Zell printed his first books at Cologne in 1465. During the next decade six more printing-offices were established in the same town, a remarkably large number for the time. The first Cologne printers obviously had some trouble in obtaining paper. Unlike their fellow-printers in Mainz and Strasbourg, they published to start with only quartos of limited length. On the other hand they benefited from the fact that Cologne's trade in those countries with which it had commercial relations was gaining momentum. The printers had to yield this advantage if they sought to make their own way in the Low Countries. Moreover as a result of the Cologne staple-policy there was a danger that they would be cut off from the supplies of paper from Southern Germany and from Italy. Nevertheless in 1473 a number of printing-establishments were being set up in the Low Countries. That this should happen now is no accident. As printed documents in the Cologne archives show, and as is confirmed by the output of the local printing-offices, the problem of paper supply had been solved. On the other hand the war brewing against the City of Neuss threatened trading relations with the Burgundian empire. 1473 - a year of crisis that precedcd the intervention of Charles the Bold in the affairs of the electorate of Cologne- saw the setting-up of a number of printing-offices in the Low Countries, all of them run by men who had come from Cologne. Their enterprise was fully rewarded in the years that followed when measures introduced by the Burgundian government greatly hindered the Cologne printers' ability to compete in the Dutch market. As a result the newly established businesses were able to achieve an exceptionally large output.


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