Exhibition at Koninklijke Bibliotheek

On occasion of the publication De geschiedenis van Nederland in 100 oude kaarten  [=The history of the Netherlands in 100 old maps], published by Lannoo Publishers in collaboration with de Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands and Allard Pierson, University of Amsterdam, the KB decided to organize an exhibition on the same subject.

40 themes of the book are covered in the exhibition by maps taken form the collections of the KB. Every map shows an aspect of Dutch history, such as the development of the Netherlands into an independent state in the sixteenth century, the never-ending battle against water, various wars and the colonial past. Other maps show social aspects, such as the spread of country houses in the seventeenth-century in Zeeland (Walcheren) and the growth of tourism on Texel in the beginning of the twentieth century.

The various maps show how for centuries, map makers explored the world to provide a better understanding of everyone’s surroundings. Maps set boundaries, show situations, explain and serve as support for great infrastructural undertakings such as the Afsluitdijk, the dike that turned the Zuiderzee in the middle of the Netherlands into the IJsselmeer. Other maps were used as means of propaganda, such as the Leo Belgicus by Pieter van den Keere from 1617.

The oldest map in the exhibition is the map of Magna Germania from the 1482 edition of the work of Ptolemy, on which the Netherlands is almost unrecognizable shown in a small corner. The most recent is a map of the North Sea flood of 1953, a disaster with great impact because many died and it was the onset of the Deltawerken. Outside the exhibition room, there is a mini-exhibition on the atlas that is common in every Dutch school, the so-called Bosatlas.

The exhibition is on show in the KB from 3 April to 17 July 2019, Monday to Friday: 10.00 – 17.00; Saturday: 12.00 – 17.00; closed on Sundays. Entrance is free.