Izaak Enschedé and his son Johannes established their printing-office and type-foundry in Haarlem’s inner city in 1703.
The company, later called Royal Joh. Enschedé, stayed active there until 1992. Then it moved to Haarlem’s Waarderpolder.
After three centuries the company is about 26.000 m2 in premises at the Klokhuisplein, Damstraat and Nauwe Appelaarsteeg.
After the foundation of the printing-office Enschedé quickly got an international reputation, because, for example, it printed religious texts in several languages and signs: The Bible, the Talmud, the Koran and songbooks.
Also the Oprechte Haarlemsche Courant, the one but oldest newspaper in the world, was printed by Joh. Enschedé from 1737 until 1940.
Apart from printing, the company was engaged in type-foundry as well. Lead characters were poured into iron matrixes and put on the presses of many printers in those times. Matrixes are hard to make and therefore very expensive. By buying an endless range of other type-foundries Joh. Enschedé was able to collect a lot of stamps and matrixes. The wide range of characters, stamps and signs made it possible to create very beautiful and complete publications.
During the nineteenth century the image of “special printer” was growing. Breakthroughs achieved in the field of the Japanese and Javanese writing, led to the fact that the first banknotes for East and West India were printed in 1810.
Little later, in 1814, Joh. Enschedé also printed the banknotes for the New Dutch Bank and in 1866 the company got the first order to print post stamps for the Dutch Postal Services.
From 1870 foreign post stamps followed, for example: Luxembourg, Persia and Transvaal. In the twentieth century Joh. Enschedé continued the tradition of letter design and gained international awards with, for example, the new type “Lutetia” (Jan van Krimpen 1925). The company invested heavily in expanding international activities and at the end of the century it printed post stamps for 65 countries. Apart from that fact Joh. Enschedé maintained his position as printer of banknotes.
Higher demands were made on the aesthetics and security of banknotes. The company got the contract for the world-wide security of Travellers Cheques and started co-operation with the national Dutch printing-house ‘SDU’ for printing passports and driving licenses. By that time the digital technology came up and Joh. Enschedé collected several patents in this matter.
Nowadays Joh. Enschedé prints Euro bank notes for five countries, but no longer from the Appelaar, as the former Joh. Enschedé premises is called.