The Nationaal Archief map collection
In addition to 110 kilometres of records, the Nationaal Archief also holds the biggest and most important collection of maps and drawings in the Netherlands. This collection comprises some 300,000 items spread over 100 archives and dating as far back as the late Middle Ages. You can use these maps to research the history of the formation of the Netherlands and its former overseas territories, e.g. a fort abroad, changes to the Dutch coastline or the land owned by a person’s ancestors. The possibilities are endless.
About half of the map collection consists of manuscripts, i.e. hand-drawn maps. The maps come from:
- the central government,
- the regional and provincial administrations in South Holland,
- private institutions and individuals.
Impression of the collection
It is impossible to provide a comprehensive overview of the whole collection on a single page. So here follows a brief summary of the most important sections.
Foreign and Dutch maps (pre-1900)
The collection centres around the Leupe collection, a collection of pre-1900 foreign maps. It includes maps from the Dutch East India Company (Dutch initials: VOC) and the Dutch West India Company (WIC). This collection has two important archive inventories: one focusing mainly on the 18th century, and one with 16th to 19th century items. A very important source of pre-1900 maps of the Netherlands is the Hingman collection, which contains maps from the States-General, the States of Holland and the Council of State. This collection has two important archive inventories: one with 15th to 19th century maps and a supplement with maps mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Other important collections are the maps and drawings from the Ministry of Colonies, the Ministry of the Navy and Rijkswaterstaat.
The map collections that are clearly of military origin, such as those of the Ministry of War/Defence and some Council of State material, are described in archive inventories organised in rough themes such as plans of fortifications, maps printed in the Netherlands and situation maps, including a series of Hottiger maps and Hattinga atlases.
Series of topographic maps, such as the Ferraris maps and the Topographic and Military Map of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, can be found in the archive inventory for the Topographical Service collection. There is also a collection of drawings from the Government Buildings Agency, and you will also find land registry maps from the South Holland land registry offices dating back to 1811.
Last but not least we have a collection of individual acquisitions, which is by its nature very wide-ranging. For a complete overview of all collections, please see the catalogue. For more information on how to access the maps, see also ‘Using this Site’.
Consult the collection
Only a small section of the collection is available in digital form for consulting online. To view these online items, go to ‘Collection’ and click on ‘Map collection’, and enter a subject, title or period in the search box. You can consult the other maps in the Nationaal Archief reading room. But you can use this website to find out what maps are in the collection. Go to ‘Collection’ and click on ‘Archive inventories’, and then search by theme, title or period.