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Utrecht’s First Newspaper Re-Discovered

Adriaen Leenaertsz and the Nieuwe courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt ende Nederlant (1623)

Arthur der Weduwen

In April 1658 the Court of Holland banned Gerard Lodewijk van der Macht, newspaper publisher in The Hague, from Holland for ten years; Van der Macht settled in Utrecht, where he duly established the first newspaper published in Utrecht. However, a recent find reveals that another newspaper appeared in Utrecht as early as 1623: thirty-five years before Van der Macht’s arrival. This newspaper was the Nieuwe courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt ende Nederlant, published by the prolific newshound Adriaen Leenaertsz. A subtle combination of Dutch and German newspaper traditions, the Nieuwe courante was a product of the rage for newspapers sweeping across Europe in the first decades of the seventeenth century. The discovery of the Nieuwe courante highlights the importance of the ‘provincial’ periodical press of the seventeenth century, somewhat removed from the great European capitals and centres of news. Framing the Nieuwe courante not only in its local history but in a national and transnational perspective presents a more nuanced consideration of the emergence and diffusion of the early periodical press in the Dutch Republic.