23.02.2023 News

Allard Pierson acquires unique 17th century wall map of Amsterdam

The Allard Pierson has acquired a unique copy of the first edition of the large wall map of Amsterdam made by Balthasar Florisz. van Berckenrode in 1625. The acquisition returns this world-famous and fabulously drawn map to the city where it was made.

This monumental city map measuring more than two square metres is the most detailed and reliable view of Amsterdam in the 17th century. The city is presented in an innovative manner: Amsterdam is for the first time shown orthogonally – directly from above. The buildings are drawn three-dimensionally, generating a vibrant and realistic image of the growing 17th century city.

An exceptional map

This copy of the Van Berckenrode map of Amsterdam was hand-coloured at the time of its manufacture. The wall map is complete. It is made up of nine engraved sheets and includes a woodcut strip with the title ‘Amstelredamum Emporium Hollandiæ Primarium Totiusque Europæ Celeberrimum’ [Amsterdam, the primary trading post of Holland and the most celebrated of all Europe].

Three different editions of the map were published: the first dates to 1625; the second, expanded and updated, to 1648; and the third, updated again, to 1657. There are only five other institutions in the whole world holding copies of the first edition of this exceptional wall map. The map acquired is, however, the only known copy that has been coloured in and that shows the title strip mentioned.

This new addition is the outstanding exhibit of the major cartographic exhibition Open kaart – from atlas to street map on show at the Allard Pierson from 2 March to 16 July.

Enrichment for the Allard Pierson

The Allard Pierson’s collection of maps and atlases is world class, reflecting as it does the incredible map and atlas production that flourished in Amsterdam from the end of the 16th to the end of the 17th century. It turned the city into the international centre of globe, atlas and map manufacture. This naturally finds expression in the form of maps of Amsterdam and its environs. The Van Berckenrode acquisition is a magnificent addition to the collection, and is also an enrichment of the Netherlands collection.

The purchase has been made possible by the Mondriaan Fund, the Jansonius Fund, P.F. Pauwels, the Steenbergen Fund, the Historical Cartography Fund, the Amsterdam University Fund and the Friends of the Allard Pierson.