Utrecht Psalter exhibited in "Heilig Schrift"

19 Oct 2016

For three months the Utrecht Psalter will be shown in the exhibition Heilig Schrift: Tanach - Bijbel – Koran (Holy Scripture: Tanakh - Bible - Qur'an). It is one of the highlights on display from 7 October 2016 until 7 January 2017 in Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht.

Comic artists inspired by the Utrecht Psalter

28 Jan 2016

Night of the Utrecht Psalter

21 Dec 2015

On 12 November Utrecht University Library and the Utrecht University Fund organised a programme on the Utrecht Psalter. This evening the museum was exclusively open to a party of Utrecht alumni.

Utrecht Psalter returned home safely

24 Nov 2015

Have a look at the Utrecht Psalter!

02 Nov 2015

Until the 22nd of November you can see the Utrecht Psalter for yourself at Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht.

Utrecht Psalter inscribed on UNESCO Register

10 Oct 2015

Decision by UNESCO about the Utrecht Psalter

01 Oct 2015

Reproductions of the Utrecht Psalter

28 Sep 2015

The website with an annotated version of the Utrecht Psalter, developed by the Utrecht University Library, follows the long tradition of making reproductions of the Utrecht Psalter. This turbulent history, which begins in the nineteenth century, is discussed by Bart Jaski, keeper of manuscripts, in an article which was published in the summer of 2015 in the journal Jaarboek voor Nederlandse boekgeschiedenis.

Utrechts Psalter in journal Quaerendo

17 Sep 2015

In the summer of 2015 an article of Bart Jaski, keeper of manuscripts, was published in the journal Quarendo entitled ‘The Oldest Datings of the Utrecht Psalter. Rudimentary Palaeography in the Early Seventeenth Century’.

UNESCO nomination Dutch morning paper Trouw

24 Nov 2014

About the Psalter

About the Utrecht Psalter

Journey of the Utrecht Psalter

A Psalter is a songbook from the Bible (Old Testament). Christians and Jews used it and still use it in their prayers and at their services. The Utrecht Psalter is world-famous for its spectacular illustrations. This masterpiece was produced around 830 in or near the French city of Reims and after many  journeys arrived in Utrecht in 1716.

Why is it a current topic now?

The Utrecht Psalter has been nominated for  UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. In 2015 the organisation will decide if the medieval manuscript will deserve a place on this register for documentary heritance. The prestigious register includes the Gutenberg Bible and the negative films of The Wizard of Oz. Well-known Dutch pieces are Anne Frank’s diaries and the archives of the VOC (The Dutch East Indian Company).

Introduction to the Utrecht Psalter

The Utrecht Psalter is the most valuable manuscript housed in a Dutch collection. No other medieval manuscript in Dutch hands has been written about so often or has seen so many reproductions. In the songbook each of the 150 psalms and 16 Biblical songs and prayers have  been illustrated in an exceptional way. The manuscript reads like a comic book in which parts of the text are depicted above the psalm.


The surrealistic and dynamic style of the drawings in the Utrecht Psalter was innovative. It is remarkable that a team of as many as six different draughtsmen worked on the illustrations. Here and there the drawings are reminiscent of the work of Jeroen Bosch. The style and the illustrations were to be imitated for centuries in France and England. So it may be safely said that the book was a real trendsetter.

How did it arrive in Utrecht?

Probably the Utrecht Psalter was commissioned by Archbishop Ebbo of Reims (816-835). Possibly it was a gift for the newborn grandson of Charles the Great. After many travels in England the book came into the hands of Utrecht citizen Willem de Ridder who donated it to the University Library which was then housed in St. John’s church. That is why it is called the Utrecht Psalter.

A new presentation

With the support of Utrecht University alumni the manuscript was digitized again in 2013.






Divine technology?


Focus on Christ

Digital edition


The fifteen chapters on this website offer a general description of the production, art, background, influence and history of the Utrecht Psalter. The chapters will be published in random order. 



1. The manuscript

2. The script

3. Psalm texts and titles

4. The sixteen canticles

5. The drawings

6. Historical context

7. Influences

8. The Reims school

9. Charles the Bald and the Utrecht Psalter

10. The Utrecht Psalter in Canterbury

11. Robert Cotton

12. Fragments of a gospel from Northumbria

13. From London to Utrecht

14. Donated by Willem de Ridder

15. Rediscovery and controversies