From Ghent to Aix

How They Brought the News in the Habsburg Netherlands, 1550-1700


Sixteenth-century Brussels and Antwerp in combination formed the northern linchpin of an international communication network that covered Western and Central Europe. In the seventeenth century both cities saw the rise of newspapers that compare revealingly with those produced in Germany, the Dutch Republic, England and France.
In From Ghent to Aix, Paul Arblaster examines the services that carried the news, the types of news publicized, and the relationship of these newspapers to Baroque Europe’s other methods of public communication, from drums and trumpets, ceremonies and sermons, to almanacs, pamphlets, pasquinades and newsletters. The merchant’s need for information and the government’s desire to influence opinion together opened up a space in which a new social force would take root: the media.
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Biographical Note

Paul Arblaster, D.Phil. (Oxford), is a freelance translator who teaches at the Maastricht School of Translation (Faculty of International Business and Communication, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences). He has published a History of the Low Countries and work on Early Modern translation, communication, exile and martyrdom.

Review Quotes

From Ghent to Aix is a gem of source-based historical research, and an exemplary study of the propaganda appeal and popular culture of religious antagonism in post-Reformation Europe. […] A very detailed and at times revealing account of early modern news culture that will be indispensable for anyone working with newspapers and related sources from now on.”
Michiel van Groesen, Leiden University. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (Fall 2015), pp. 1103-1105.

“The well-crafted research of Paul Arblaster gives remarkable insight into the practices of news publishing in the Southern Netherlands and explains how this relatively small area could develop such a profound importance as a news center.”
Jan Hillgaertner, University of St Andrews. In: Reformation, Vol. 20, No. 1 (May 2015), pp. 68-76.

Table of contents

List of Maps, Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations


1 Political, Legal and Urban Contexts
Confessionalisation and Reputation
The Regulation of the Book Trade
Brussels and Antwerp

2 Newsletters and Printed News, 1585–1620
Posts and Newsletters
Pamphlets and Prints to 1605

3 Abraham Verhoeven and His Tijdinghen, 1620–1632
Reputation in a Time of Crisis
Abraham Verhoeven
The Legacy of Lipsius
Verhoeven’s Local Sources
Reading the Nieuwe Tijdinghen
Frequency of Publication
Editorial Policy
The End of Verhoeven’s Career

4 Verhoeven and the News of Europe
International News in the Nieuwe Tijdinghen
Verhoeven’s Colleagues and Rivals
Types of News in 1623
Politics, Law and Government
Military News
Shipping and Finance
News Stories of 1623

5 The Explosion of News Publishing, 1632–1648
The Habsburg Netherlands, 1632–1648
Newspapers in the Habsburg Netherlands
The Year 1644

6 Managing Reputation and Controlling the Press, 1649–1700
Opposing Renaudot
The Relations véritables and Princely Reputation
The Relations véritables and the News of Europe, 1649–1659
The Litany of Antwerp
A Desultory Struggle for Control of the Press, 1660–1700




Anyone interested in the history of journalism and the press, or in the political and mercantile cultures of Early Modern Europe.


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