Early Dutch Maritime Cartography

The North Holland School of Cartography (c. 1580-c. 1620)


Winner of the 2019 Menno Hertzberger Prize for Book History and Bibliography

This book is an exposition of an important, yet previously unknown chapter in the history of Dutch maritime cartography. While Amsterdam was developing into Europe’s most vital commercial hub in the seventeenth century, demanding and controlling the production of maps and sea-charts, a major School of Cartography was already flourishing in the so-called ‘Kop van Noord-Holland’ region just north of Amsterdam. This School specialised in the production of small-scale charts of larger areas, including the European coastlines and the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Its masters used to call themselves ‘caert-schrijvers’ or ‘map-scribes’ when clarifying their profession. The cities of Enkhuizen and Edam were important trading ports and as such provided an ideal environment for developing into centres of cartography, serving sea-borne navigation.
Apart from the well-known printed pilot guides by Lucas Jansz Waghenaer, the output of these ‘caert-schrijvers’ consists mainly of manuscript charts on vellum. Copies, though few they are, nowadays can be found across the globe. Sea-charts provided invaluable on-board navigation assistance to ship captains. However, another surprising contemporaneous purpose for financing these charts become popular. Rich ship owners and merchants would commission new charts to serve as wall-decoration as well as a reference point for their maritime-related conversations. They feature a decorative lay-out filled with magnificent colours. Moreover, many of these charts are embellished with miniature paintings, certainly making them some of the most beautiful exemplars ever produced by Dutch cartography during its Golden Age.

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Biographical Note

Günter Schilder (Vienna, 1942) studied geography and history at Vienna University from 1960 to 1967. He undertook two years of research in the Netherlands for his dissertation, and in 1970 he received his PhD from Vienna University. From 1971 he worked in the Netherlands at Utrecht University, researching the history of cartography. In 1981 he was appointed Professor of History of Cartography, a position he held until his retirement in 2005. Schilder is the author of numerous publications on the history of Dutch cartography and maritime discoveries, inter alia the books Australia unveiled. The share of the Dutch navigators in the discovery of Australia (1976); Voyage to the Great South Land. Willem de Vlamingh, 1696-1697 (1985); Wall-maps of the 16th and 17th centuries, published in The Netherlands, 4 vols. (1977-81); Sailing for the East (co-authored with Hans Kok) (2010). His nine-volume Opus Magnum, Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica (1986-2013) has substantially increased our knowledge of and appreciation for Dutch cartography in its Golden Age. In 1981, Professor Schilder founded the Explokart Research Programme at Utrecht University. This renowned programme was later (2013) relocated to the University of Amsterdam, Special Collections Department. Contributions made by the Research Group, which consists of academics and dedicated volunteers, are published in Explokart Studies on the History of Cartography, which enjoys both domestic and international esteem.

Review Quotes

'[...] this work is comprehensive, well organized, profusely illustrated and enjoyable to read. It is an absolute must for the reference shelves of any map library as well as for anyone interested in the lore of the sea.' Richard Pflederer, in: The Portolan, Winter 2017, pp. 74-75.

Table of contents

Foreword I Printed Dutch Rutters and Charts for European Navigation up to c. 1585: an Overview I.1 The Earliest Dutch Printed Rutters and Charts I.2 The Pioneering Work of Cornelis Anthonisz. I.3 The Leeskaartboek van Wisbuy I.4 The Rutters of Govert Willemsz. van Hollesloot I.5 The Cartographical Work of Adriaen Gerritsz. I.6 Aelbert Haeyen’s Amstelredamsche Zee-Caerten II Lucas Jansz. Waghenaer: Pioneer of Dutch Maritime Cartography II.1 Waghenaer and Enkhuizen II.2 The First Printed Sea Atlas: The Spieghel der Zeevaerdt, 1584/85 II.3 Waghenaer’s Charts of Europe, 1583 and 1592 II.4 Unknown Charts by Lucas Jansz. Waghenaer II.5 Chart of Europe in Four Sheets, 1589 II.6 A Pilot Guide in oblong: The Thresoor der zee-vaert, 1592 II.7 Waghenaer’s Enckhuyser Zee-caert-boeck, 1598 III Amsterdam: Distribution Centre of Geographical and Cartographical Knowledge IV A Landmark in Dutch Cartography: The Wall Map of the World by Petrus Plancius, 1592 V To Farther Horizons: A Set of Printed Dutch Charts with Coastlines beyond Europe (1592-1594) V.1 Map of the Azores, Canary Islands and Parts of the Iberian Peninsula and North-Western Africa V.2 Map of the Atlantic Ocean with the North-Western Coasts of Africa and a Part of Brazil between 31oN and 15oS V.3 Map of Southern Africa between 2oN and 44oS V.4 Map of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Philippines with Surrounding Regions V.5 Map of the Northern Atlantic Ocean V.6 Map of the Northern Part of South America down to 35oS V.7 Map of the Southern Part of South America and Magellanica V.8 Map of Europe VI Sixteenth-Century Dutch Cartography of the Mediterranean Sea VI.1 Ascendance of the Shipping through the Strait of Gibraltar ( Straatvaart) VI.2 Willem Barentsz. and his Nieuwe beschryvinghe ende Caertboeck vande Midlandtsche Zee, 1595 VI.3 The Overview-map of the Mediterranian Sea VII Jan Huygen van Linschoten: Forerunner of Dutch Activities in Oversea VII.1 Jan Huygen van Linschoten (1562-1611) VII.2 The Publication of Van Linschoten’s Itinerario, 1595/96 VII.3 The Maps in Van Linschoten’s Itinerario VII.3.1 Map of the Atlantic Ocean between 8oN and 35oS VII.3.2 Map of the Western Indian Ocean between 8oN and 35oS VII.3.3 Map of the Northern Indian Ocean between 0o and 43oN VII.3.4 Map of the Indonesian Archipelago and Far East between 20oS and 40oN VII.3.5 Map of South America and a Part of Central America with Adjacent Islands VIII Amsterdam Publications on the Art of Navigation and Cosmography VIII.1 Pedro de Medina and his Arte de navegar VIII.2 William Bourne and his A Regiment for the Sea VIII.3 Rodrigo Zamorano and his Compendio de la arte de navegar VIII.4 Thomas Hood and his The Mariner’s Guide VIII.5 Peter Apian and his Cosmographie VIII.6 Robert Hues and his Tractatus de globis IX The North Holland School of Cartography (c. 1580-c. 1620) X Cornelis Doedsz.: Caertschrijver woonende t’Edam inde Vierheems-Kinderen X.1 Life and Work X.2 A Chart for the Eastern and Northern Navigation, 1589 X.3 Two Manuscript Charts of Europe by Cornelis Doedsz. X.3.1 Chart of Europe of c. 1600 X.3.2 Chart of Europe, 1607 X.4 A Commercial Chart of Europe, 1602 X.5 Willem Jansz. [Blaeu]: Publisher of Charts of Europe by Cornelis Doedsz. X.5.1 Doedsz.’s Chart of 1605. X.5.2 Doedsz.’s Chart of 1606 X.6 Doedsz.’s Chart of Europe, Published by Dirck Pietersz. Pers, 1610 X.7 The Graetboeck Compiled by Cornelis Doedsz. X.8 The Atlantic Scene: The Chart of the Atlantic Ocean by Cornelis Doedsz., 1600 X.8.1 To New Horizons: Dutch Navigation to the West X.8.2 The Chart of the Atlantic Ocean, 1600 X.9 Chart of the Western Part of the Indian Ocean, [1601-1606] X.10 Following the Track of the Ship de Liefde: Three Dutch Charts in Tokyo X.11 A Chart of the Indische Noord, Attributed to Cornelis Doedsz., c. 1600 XI Evert Gijsbertsz.: Caertschrijver tot Edam in die Pascaert XI.1 A Masterpiece in Prague: Evert Gijsbertsz.’s Chart of Europe, 1598 XI.2 A Remarkable Chart of the North Sea, 1601 XI.3 Two Representation Charts in the Former Possession of Maurits, Prince of Nassau, [1596] XI.3.1 Chart of the West Indies and South America, Attributed to Evert Gijsbertsz. XI.3.2 Chart of Western Part of the Indian Ocean, Attributed to Evert Gijsbertsz. XI.4 A Show-piece in Sydney: Evert Gijsbertsz. ‘s Chart of the Indian Ocean and Far East, 1599 VII.5 A Navigation Chart of the Indian Ocean and Far East in Paris, 1599 XII The Manuscript Charts of the Atlantic Ocean by Jan Dircksz. Rijckemans and Claes Pietersz. XII.1 Chart of the Atlantic Ocean by Jan Dircksz. Rijckemans, 1599 XII.2 Chart of the Atlantic Ocean by Claes Pietersz., 1607 XIII The Harmen and Marten Jansz. Brothers: Caertschrijvers inden Pascarte Tot Edam XIII.1 Three World Maps in Manuscript by Harmen and Marten Jansz. XIII.1.1 The World Map in Paris, 1610 XIII.1.2 The World Map in Dresden, [1607-1610] XIII.1.3 The World Map in Greenwich, [1607-1610] XIII.2 The Charts of Europe in Manuscript and Print XIII.2.1 The Manuscript Copies XIII.2.2 The Charts Printed by Jan Evertsz. Cloppenburch XIII.3 Harmen Jansz.’s Manuscript Chart of the Atlantic Ocean, 1604 XIV The Edam Caert-Schrijvers as Chart-Suppliers for Voyages to the East XV At the Cartographical Cradle of New Netherlands XVI Joris Carolus: Stuyrman ende Caertschrijver tot Enchuysen XVI.1 Voyage of Discovery in 1614 XVI.2 Voyages to the North-West, 1615-1617 XVI.3 The Scientific Voyage of 1618 XVI.4 A Chart of the Danish Waters XVI.5 Charts of Iceland and the Northern Regions XVI.6 The Pilot Guide of 1634 Appendices 1 List of Charts in Waghenaer’s Spieghel der Zeevaerdt, 1585. 2 List of Charts in Waghenaer’s Thresoor der zee-vaert, 1592. Bibliography Index on Peronal Names


All interested in maps, sea-charts and early Dutch maritime cartography.

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