The world of the sailor

Maritime charts and maps | What the Dutch were famous for

Maritime Museum Rotterdam

The Castle Rotterdam in Makassar, on South Sulawesi (1820) by Quirijn Maurits Rudolf Ver HuellMaritime Museum Rotterdam

A changing world

Through the ages, sailors have experienced many changes in their trade. First, they sailed along the coasts, using landmarks as beakens.

Coastal profiles of the West Coast of Australia (1696) by Victor Victorsz.Maritime Museum Rotterdam

A great diversity

With navigational instruments and charts, sailors travelled the world. The Dutch were famous for their maps. This is a watercolor, showing coastal profiles of the West Coast of Australia (1696/1697).

Itinerario. Voyage or Shipping by Jan Huygen van Linschoten to East or Portugals India (1596) by Jan Huygen van LinschotenMaritime Museum Rotterdam

The new standard

The 'Itinerario' (1596) was a Dutch standard work with new information, at the time, in text and images about products, plants, animals, cities and routes in the Indies and other Asian areas. This book was the basis of Dutch sea shipping to Asia.

View of the Bay of Nagasaki, Japan (1647) by unknownMaritime Museum Rotterdam

Differences in design

This is a map of the Bay of Nagasaki with ships from the Dutch East India Company. You can see differences in design between this map and the next examples. This one is a drawing (1647).

On the map, Japanse ships can be identified.

Along some Dutch vessels.

Manuscript chart of the Indian Ocean, from Cape of Good Hope to Sunda Strait (1669) by Joan Blaeu (I)Maritime Museum Rotterdam

Other maps are almost mathematical, like this manuscript chart of the Indian Ocean, from Cape of Good Hope to Sunda Strait (1669).

Wall map of the world in two hemispheres (1645) by Willem Jansz. BlaeuMaritime Museum Rotterdam

The maps of Blaeu

The wall map of the world in two hemispheres (1645) seems very complete. It is an improved edition of the world map of Willem Jansz. Blaeu from 1619 due to new journey across the globe.

World Atlas by Mercator himself composed of three copies of his world map (1569) by Gerard MercatorMaritime Museum Rotterdam

The maps of Mercator

In 1569, Mercator first applied his projection method to a map of the world: ‘New and extended description of the entire world, improved and modified for use by seafarers’. There are still three original copies of Mercator’s world map. The one at the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam is exceptional, because it is in the form of a nautical atlas. Mercator put it together by cutting and pasting pieces of at least three of his world maps.

The warship 'Eendracht' and other ships under sail or at anchor (1668) by Willem van de Velde the ElderMaritime Museum Rotterdam

This was our craft

While shapes and forms of the maps vary greatly, all the maps in this presentation, show the craftmanship of Dutch sailors. Only with these specific skills, they good travel the globe and gather more knowledge about the world.

Credits: Story

Maritime Museum Rotterdam

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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