Medieval-era unique Psalter goes on display in Utrecht

The one-of-a-kind Utrecht Psalter is to be removed this week from its highly secure fireproof and waterproof vault at the Utrecht University museum, and will be displayed for a month at the Museum Catharijneconvent. The Psalter will be shown off in a glass case from October 21 until November 22.

A Psalter often includes the Book of Psalms from the Bible, and other collected material related to Christianity. Estimates are that the book dates from around the year 830 and includes contributions from eight artists in the monastery near Reims, France.

The medieval manuscript was added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in October. Items on the list include the original diary of Anne Frank, the music of Fryderyk Chopin, Nelson Mandela court records and the Magna Carta.

"The Utrecht Psalter is the most valuable manuscript to be found in any Dutch collection. There is no single other manuscript in a Dutch collection so much written about and of which so many reproductions have been published, both in print and digitally on the Internet," the Utrecht University Library wrote on its website.

The Psalms book will be displayed open to Psalms 148 through 150 at the museum. The Psalter contains 150 psalms, 16 biblical hymns and prayers as well as illustrated drawings. University curator Bart Jaski explained to AD that the handwriting reads like a comic.

Andree van Es, UNESCO chairman in the Netherlands, said the book is of world significance and that it was difficult to express its value in monetary terms. He does however see it as more significant than the two Rembrandt painting the country was going to buy, not so long ago.