Tijdschrift voor de geschiedenis van de kartografie in Nederland
Journal for the history of cartography in the Netherlands

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Inhoud 13e jaargang (1994)
Contents of volume 13 (1994)

no. 1     no. 2     no. 3     no. 4

Caert-Thresoor 13e jaargang 1994, nr. 1

1594 Gerard Mercator 1994

Caert-Thresoor 13e jaargang 1994, nr. 2

Caert-Thresoor 13e jaargang 1994, nr. 3

Caert-Thresoor 13e jaargang 1994, nr. 4


H.J. van der Pasch
Continuity and modernity of Mercator at Nijmegen University

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 1, pp. 2-4]

Nijmegen university has important international research projects with a European outlook. The university contacts are most frequent in the `Mercator region' of the rivers Rhine, Scheldt and Meuse. In Mercator's spirit Nijmegen university is also very active in research applications and in relations with industry and new technologies. 1994 will see the foundation of the 'Mercator professoral chair for science and entrepeneur ship', as well as the new Mercator Technology & Science Park Nijmegen at the university campus. It offers an ideal European location for high-tech companies and R&D organisations which co-operate with the university and the university hospital at Nijmegen. (back)

E. Okhuizen
The map of the North Pole in Mercator's Atlas of 1595

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 1, pp. 5-10]

The map of the Arctic regions in Mercators atlas of the world of 1595 is remarkable for the fact that it is the first time that an atlas contains a map entirely devoted to the Arctic. In this projection it is also without precedence among loose maps, the only exception being the inset of the Arctic in Mercators famous worldmap of 1569. The exactness of both projection and design were exemplary for Mercators scientifical approach of mapmaking. Among the maps in the atlas, the map of the Arctic was unparalleled for its fascinating combination of fact and fiction concerning geographical contents which made her most controversial and influential of all. The map reflects the geographical knowledge on the eve of the Dutch expeditions to the Arctic in search of a Northeast Passage at the very end of the 16th century. Nevertheless, results of the first expedition of 1594 and, at least on certain copies, probably also of the second one of 1595 have been incorporated, a fact which did not yet receive proper attention so far. In the 1606 edition of the atlas, published by Jodocus Hondius, the polar map was much adjusted for the part of Novaya Zemlya and the Barents Sea, making use of the same copperplate. It was not before the English edition of 1636 that a polar map of entirely new design was incorporated, reflecting accurately the most recently acquired new knowledge of the whole Arctic. (back)

P.C.J. van der Krogt & G. Schilder
The catalogue of Gerard Mercator's library

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 1, pp. 10-11]

Mercator's heirs auctioned his library on July 12, 1604, at the Leiden bookseller Jean Maire. The printed catalogue of this auction was in the hands of Jean van Raemdonck, who planned to publish a reproduction. For this aim he made a handwritten copy (this copy was found in 1988 and will be published in facsimile). A description of this copy was made in 1915/16 by Fernand van Ortroy, who did not mention the location of the copy. A handwritten note to a copy of this article lead us to Leipzig. We found out that the catalogue was in possession of the library of the Börsenverein at Leipzig, which was destroyed completely in World War II. (back)

P.G.M. Mekenkamp
Mercator and the exaggerated size of latitudes

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 1, pp. 12-17]

To the world at large, Mercator's name is identified with his projection, which he developed especially to aid navigation. His 1569 map is entitled: Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Discriptio ad Usum Navigantium Emendate Accommodata (A new and enlarged description of the Earth with corrections for use in navigation). Because of its improvement over previous methods, Mercator's map of nautical chart stands out as the greatest achievement in cartographic history.
The projection was easy to construct and had the additional advantage of being composed of straight lines of meridians and parallels at right angles to each other. It is the only projection on with the rhumb line or loxodrome on the earth is reduced to a straight line on the chart. A course can be laid off from the starting point and measured at any meridian along the line. This invaluable property of representing a ship's track under a constant course from any point as a straight line on the chart, and the ease with which the course may be laid off, distinguishes the projection from others and provides greater accuracy in the relative size and outline of countries. Since the projection represents the equator in correct length the parallels are considerably stretched in the higher latitudes. Therefore to ensure conformality the spacing of the parallels increases as the secant of the latitude. The poles themselves cannot be represented. Though it has not always been realized, the enormous areal exaggeration makes the projection unsuited for general purpose world maps. The misuse of Mercator's projection in atlas cartography and especially in school atlases still leads to a lot of geographical misconceptions.
Mercator was not the first to present a map with latitudes of exaggerated sized. The projection was apparently used by Erhard Etzlaub of Nuremberg on a small map on the cover of some sundials constructed in 1511 and 1513. The principle remained obscure until Gerardus Mercator independently developed it and presented it on his large world map of 24 sections totaling about 1.3 by 2 m.
Mercator increased the degrees of latitude toward each pole, in proportion to the increase of the parallels beyond the ratio they really have to the equator (AB/ab in figure 3). These values ( = sec f) directly show the amount of exaggeration on any parallel. In order to obtain the approximate distance of the particular parallel from the equator on the projection, the sum of the secants from the equator to that parallel must be found, and the result multiplied by 360/2p, resulting in lenght units of one degree.
Since the normal Mercator projection has little error close to the equator, it has been found very useful in the transverse form, with the equator of the projection rotated 90° to coincide with the desired central meridian. The Transverse Mercator projection was invented by J.H. Lambert (1728-77).
Nowadays the oblique Mercator is often used to show better geographical relations, for example the position of Vietnam related to Washington (fig. 5). In this century, Mercator's name is probably mostly used for the first system: The Universal Transverse Mercator.
Mercator stays alive, even after 400 years. His projection will continue to be available in computer programmes and Geographical Information Systems whenever we need it, if not for 'normal' navigational purposes. (back)

M.H. de Lang
Gerard Mercator's religious position

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 1, pp. 18-21]

Gerardus Mercator's views in the matter of predestination, free will and the Eucharist have been labeled by some authors as Catholic (Van Raemdonck, Opladen, Vermij), by others as Zwinglian (Averdunk, Van Durme). But the religious position held by Mercator was determined by the unique situation of the Church in the duchy of Cleve. From about 1525 onwards the Catholic Dukes of Cleve, influenced by their Erasmian advisors, had allowed the Church to reform itself gradually according to Lutheran views, tempered by the influence of Melanchthon. This Church comprised both people of traditionally Catholic conviction and people who were more inclined to the Reformation. When Mercator settled in Duisburg in 1559, the unity of this Church was threatened by the growing influence of Calvinism. Some Church members became Calvinists and formed their own congregations, whereas others preferred to remain within the existing Church. Mercator's writings demonstrate that he belonged to the latter group. He wished to restore the former situation: a Church which united Catholic and Reformed elements. This explains how it was possible for Mercator to hold traditional Catholic views as well as ideas influenced by the Reformation. (back)

L.N.J. Camerlynck
The language boundary on Mercator's map of Flanders (1540)

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 1, pp. 23-26]

Although the language boundary in Belgium was officially fixed in 1963, it dates back deep into the Middle Ages. We know that Mercator preferred to work with toponyms in the vernacular; this essay seeks to establish to what degree the course of the boundary may be told from his large map of Flanders (1540). The author intends to prove that Mercator's use of Dutch and French place-names on and in the vicinity of the language boundary, is in agreement with the results of linguistic and historical research. It is remarkable that the border has shown so little shift since. (back)

F. Westra
Jan Pietersz. Dou (1573-1635): influential surveyor of the High Office of Dike-reeves in Rijnland

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 2, pp. 37-48]

Jan Pietersz. Dou was an autodidact. He studied the practice of surveying from 1590 onwards. From 1594 on he became better acquainted with mathematics and surveying through his tutor Symon Fransz. van Merwen, who was appointed one of the first lecturers of Leyden university's school for engineers in 1600. Dou was admitted as surveyor at the Court of Holland in 1597 and together with his friend Johan Sems he published a handbook for surveying in Dutch in 1600, the first of its kind since 1547.
From 1600 till 1635 Dou produced over 1100 maps, most of them of parts of Rijnland (roughly western central Holland), as he was sworn as surveyor of Rijnland in 1605. Apart from map-making he published books and treatises, invented a surveying instrument - the so-called 'Circle of Dou'- and made plans for the purification of the water in the Leyden canals. He appeared before the Estates-General in order to give his judgment about inventions for which patents had been requested. He also made a plan for a waterway to the North Sea through the dunes west of Amsterdam, something which was realized only three ages later. Apart from a surveyor he was also a Leyden municipal gauger and since 1618 he had also become a notary.
His Remonstrant conviction brought him a few times in danger, but his excellent relations with prince Maurice proved to be very useful in these matters.
During the pest plague in Leyden in 1635 Jan Pietersz. Dou was contaminated and he died in the same year, leaving us an enormous heritage. (back)

L. Aardoom
The adventures of the Hattinga maps and atlases

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 2, pp. 49-54]

The history of the eighteenth century cartographic work by the Hattinga family has been amply documented. Yet some topics may be further elaborated. Interest is focused on the descent of the three known copies of the atlas the Hattinga's composed. Known sources have been re-interpreted and new are presented. It is stressed that the full 15-volume loose-leaved copy, now at the General State Archives in The Hague, was purchased in 1854 and not directly from the Hattinga family but most probably from the inheritance of J.W. baron Huyssen van Kattendijke. The remainder of the Hattinga collection was dispersed at an auction in 1860. It was found that in 1839 the famous collector J.T. Bodel Nijenhuis in 1839 had made an attempt to acquire this collection. Director-general Du Moulin of the Republican Fortification Department in 1788 disclosed how the late Anthony Hattinga used secret maps drawn from the Council of State collection to merge these with poldermaps and extend the originally 8-volume atlas to a commercial product. (back)

Jan Stehouwer
The work of the surveyor and his instruments during the cadastral surveying of the Netherlands

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 3, pp. 69-75]

In the years that the Dutch cadastre was founded, the Netherlands were a part of the French Empire (1810?1813). That explains why the surveyor had to work with instructions that originally were made for the French cadastre. These instructions, 'Recueil Méthodique', were published in 1812 and printed in two languages. On the left page the original French text was printed, and on the right page the Dutch translation. When in 1813 the Kingdom of the Netherlands was founded, the new government decided to continue the work, accepting the rules of the Recueil Méthodique.
In this article the author uses the Recueil Méthodique to discribe what kind of work the surveyor had to do, and what kind of instruments he was allowed to use, for example: the Surveyor's Chain, the Cross Staff, the Semicircumferentor, the Dutch Circle and the Plane table. Also the instruments he was not allowed to use are mentioned. (back)

Marc Hameleers
Adriaen van de Velde designed decorations for Frederik de Wit's plan of Amsterdam

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 3, pp. 77-79]

Frederik de Wit (1629/30-1706) published in 1671/72 a beautiful map of Amsterdam. Apart from the map and legend we see a profile (middle under) and two decorations (left and right under). The four women represent the four continents (Europe with bull (Zeus); Asia with a camel; Africa with a lion; and America with an alligator). The original drawings have been made by Adriaen van de Velde (1636-1672). They have been preserved and belonged to a private collection in the Netherlands. Recently the two original drawings could be bought by the Amsterdam Gemeentearchief. An exhibition on Frederik de Wit will be held in the University Library Amsterdam, Singel 425, Amsterdam (23 sept. - 4 november 1994). (back)

Peter H. Meurer
The suppressed 1572 first edition of Jaques de Surhon's map of Hainault

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 3, pp. 81-86]

The first surveys of the southern provinces of the Low Countries (Hainault, Luxemburg, Artois, Namur and Vermandois-Picardie) were executed between 1548 and 1557 by Jacques de Surhon and his son Jean. The only contemporary publication from this survey was Jean de Surhon's map of Vermandois, printed in 1558 at Antwerp, most probably by Plantin. The maps of the other provinces were regularly published not earlier than 1579 in the second supplement of Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. A copperplate for a map of Hainault was engraved by Frans Hogenberg already in 1572, but had to be destroyed by order of the Spanish authorities in Brussels.
However, a few prints from this plate with the signature Franciscus Hogenbergus ex archetypo cælabat 1572 have come on the market. One was sent by Ortelius to Mercator. The present article traces three copies, two of which are included (with the regular text on verso) in singular copies of the 1584 and 1595 Latin editions of the Theatrum. There also exists a state of the same copperplate without date. (back)

Lida Ruitinga & Jan Werner
Nico Israel: I have always done what I like best: An interview with the antiquarian bookseller Nico Israel on the occasion of his 75th anniversary

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 4, pp. 93-101]

Follows a.s.a.p. (back)

Marcel P.R. van den Broecke
Variability within editions of old atlases, illustrated with Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

[Caert-Tresoor 13(1994) 4, pp. 103-109]

It is commonly assumed that all copies of a modern book belonging to the same edition are identical. Old atlases, and detailed descriptions of their contents, such as occur in Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici tend to be regarded in a similar uniform manner. However, close comparison and inspection of two copies of Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Latin edition of 1570 and of three copies from the Latin edition of 1595 reveal numerous differences, not only in the order of maps and in? or exclusion of maps and textsheets, but also in the actual composition and typesetting of the text, and in the states of the plates used. It seems that these variations occur in other early atlases as well. The manual nature of atlas manufacture at the time, with high chances of mistakes, the use of material remaining from earlier editions, and the need to reset text sheets if a few more copies of such sheets were needed, seem to be responsible for this variability between copies belonging to the same edition. In the light of these findings, bibliographical descriptions of early atlases cannot be used as prescriptively as is commonly the case. (back)

© Caert-Thresoor and Peter van der Krogt