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Amsterdam, by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg.

TRANSLATION OF CARTOUCHE TEXT: Amsterdam is a well-known city in Lower Germany that has arisen in recent times to accommodate merchants and is inhabited by people engaged in trade. It is almost impossible to think of a commercial activity that is not practised here. Hence profit seeking businessmen are drawn to this city from the most far-away lands and transship various goods, first and foremost grain, to Brabant and other parts of the world. Vast riches result from trade of this kind.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Holland is the most fertile part of the Netherlands. It is crossed by many waterways full of fish, which ensure that in the whole world there is no other landscape in which so many cities lie within such a confined area ... Amongst these, Amsterdam is the noblest ... It lies on the River Amstel, from which many canals lead into the city. About twice a year many ships arrive here from all over Europe, some 200 or 300 from the Netherlands, France, England, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the other countries of the North. ... There are also very good and experienced ship-builders here. ... This city is supported on large and sturdy wooden stilts that have been driven into the bed of the water. When you see the air, the sea, the dams and the many sluices, you can easily compare the city with Venice and consider it just as fortunate."

The plan presents Amsterdam in bird's-eye view from a northeasterly direction. On the left-hand side we can see how the mouth of the River Amstel has been dammed and its waters channelled into canals and made to pass through the city before flowing out into the Zuiderzee (today the IJsselmeer). The canals, which were used to transport imported goods to the counting houses located all over the city, are lined with private houses, commercial buildings and warehouses. In the centre of the plan, the old town hall (Stadhuis, 21) and the neighbouring Nieue Kerk (23) are also clearly recognizable. With its depiction of the heavy shipping traffic inside the harbour and on the Zuiderzee, the engraving conveys an impression of the contemporary scale of trade conducted in the continually expanding metropolis. In the 13th century Amsterdam was simply a small fishing port built on marshy ground. In 1300 it was granted its municipal charter and in 1369 became a member of the Hansa. Not until the beginning of the 1600s did the city finally establish itself as the leading centre of trade and the constantly expanding hub of a global financial and commercial empire. This Golden Age brought not only an economic boom but also a flowering of the sciences and arts, which lasted until the end of the 17th century: Between 1570 and 1640 Amsterdam's population grew from around 30,000 to almost 140,000; today it numbers around 750,000. (Taschen)


Braun G. & Hogenberg F. and the Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum, or the "Braun & Hogenberg", is a six-volume town atlas and the greatest book of town views and plans ever published: 363 engravings, sometimes beautifully coloured. It was one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Georg Braun wrote the text accompanying the plans and views on the verso. A large number of the plates were engraved after the original drawings of Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who was a professional artist. The first volume was published in Latin in 1572, the sixth volume in 1617. Frans Hogenberg created the tables for volumes I through IV, and Simon van den Neuwel created those for volumes V and VI. Other contributors were cartographer Daniel Freese, and Heinrich Rantzau. Works by Jacob van Deventer, Sebastian Münster, and Johannes Stumpf were also used. Translations appeared in German and French.

Following the original publication of Volume 1 of the Civitates in 1572, seven further editions of 1575, 1577, 1582, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1612 can be identified. Vol.2, first issued in 1575, was followed by further editions in 1597 and in 1612. The next volumes appeared in 1581, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1606. The German translation of the first volume appeared from 1574 on and the French edition from 1575 on.

Several printers were involved: Theodor Graminaeus, Heinrich von Aich, Gottfried von Kempen, Johannis Sinniger, Bertram Buchholtz and Peter von Brachel, who all worked in Cologne.

Georg Braun (1541-1622)

Georg Braun was born in Cologne in 1541. After his studies in Cologne he entered the Jesuit Order as a novice. In 1561 he obtained his bachelor's degree and in 1562 his Magister Artium. Although he left the Jesuit Order, he studied theology, gaining a licentiate in theology.

Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590)

Frans Hogenberg was a Flemish and German painter, engraver, and mapmaker. He was born in Mechelen as the son of Nicolaas Hogenberg.

By the end of the 1560s Frans Hogenberg was employed upon Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published in 1570; he is named as engraver on numerous maps. In 1568 he was bannend from Antwerp by the Duke of Alva and travelled to London, where he stayed a few years before emigrating to Cologne. There he immediately embarked on his two most important works, the Civitates published from 1572 and the Geschichtsblätter, which appeared in several series from 1569 until about 1587.

Thanks to such large scale projects as the Geschichtsblätter and the Civitates, Hogenberg's social circumstances improved with each passing year. He died as a wealthy man in Cologne in 1590.

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Amstelredamum, Nobile Inferioris Germaniae Oppidum ... - Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg, 1582.

€1650  ($1930.5 / £1485)
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Item Number:  26732
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Netherlands - Cities
References: Van der Krogt 4 - 107 State 1 (Without privilege); Taschen, Br. Hog. - p.78; DAilly - 38-40; Fauser - #360

Old, antique map - bird's-eye view plan of Amsterdam, by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg.

Oud stadsplan van Amsterdam in vogelperspectief, door Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg.

With key to locations.

Date of the first edition: 1572
Date of this map: 1582

Copper engraving
Size (not including margins): 34 x 49cm (13.3 x 19.1 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Original coloured, lower centrefold split reinforced, some browning along centrefold.
Condition Rating: B
References: Van der Krogt 4, 107 State 1 (Without privilege); Taschen, Br. Hog., p. 78; DAilly, 38-40; Fauser, #360.

From: Beschreibung und Contrafactur der vornembster Stät der Welt. [Part 1] Cologne, Gottfried von Kempen, 1582. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:2.1)

TRANSLATION OF CARTOUCHE TEXT: Amsterdam is a well-known city in Lower Germany that has arisen in recent times to accommodate merchants and is inhabited by people engaged in trade. It is almost impossible to think of a commercial activity that is not practised here. Hence profit seeking businessmen are drawn to this city from the most far-away lands and transship various goods, first and foremost grain, to Brabant and other parts of the world. Vast riches result from trade of this kind.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Holland is the most fertile part of the Netherlands. It is crossed by many waterways full of fish, which ensure that in the whole world there is no other landscape in which so many cities lie within such a confined area ... Amongst these, Amsterdam is the noblest ... It lies on the River Amstel, from which many canals lead into the city. About twice a year many ships arrive here from all over Europe, some 200 or 300 from the Netherlands, France, England, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the other countries of the North. ... There are also very good and experienced ship-builders here. ... This city is supported on large and sturdy wooden stilts that have been driven into the bed of the water. When you see the air, the sea, the dams and the many sluices, you can easily compare the city with Venice and consider it just as fortunate."

The plan presents Amsterdam in bird's-eye view from a northeasterly direction. On the left-hand side we can see how the mouth of the River Amstel has been dammed and its waters channelled into canals and made to pass through the city before flowing out into the Zuiderzee (today the IJsselmeer). The canals, which were used to transport imported goods to the counting houses located all over the city, are lined with private houses, commercial buildings and warehouses. In the centre of the plan, the old town hall (Stadhuis, 21) and the neighbouring Nieue Kerk (23) are also clearly recognizable. With its depiction of the heavy shipping traffic inside the harbour and on the Zuiderzee, the engraving conveys an impression of the contemporary scale of trade conducted in the continually expanding metropolis. In the 13th century Amsterdam was simply a small fishing port built on marshy ground. In 1300 it was granted its municipal charter and in 1369 became a member of the Hansa. Not until the beginning of the 1600s did the city finally establish itself as the leading centre of trade and the constantly expanding hub of a global financial and commercial empire. This Golden Age brought not only an economic boom but also a flowering of the sciences and arts, which lasted until the end of the 17th century: Between 1570 and 1640 Amsterdam's population grew from around 30,000 to almost 140,000; today it numbers around 750,000. (Taschen)


Braun G. & Hogenberg F. and the Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum, or the "Braun & Hogenberg", is a six-volume town atlas and the greatest book of town views and plans ever published: 363 engravings, sometimes beautifully coloured. It was one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Georg Braun wrote the text accompanying the plans and views on the verso. A large number of the plates were engraved after the original drawings of Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who was a professional artist. The first volume was published in Latin in 1572, the sixth volume in 1617. Frans Hogenberg created the tables for volumes I through IV, and Simon van den Neuwel created those for volumes V and VI. Other contributors were cartographer Daniel Freese, and Heinrich Rantzau. Works by Jacob van Deventer, Sebastian Münster, and Johannes Stumpf were also used. Translations appeared in German and French.

Following the original publication of Volume 1 of the Civitates in 1572, seven further editions of 1575, 1577, 1582, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1612 can be identified. Vol.2, first issued in 1575, was followed by further editions in 1597 and in 1612. The next volumes appeared in 1581, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1606. The German translation of the first volume appeared from 1574 on and the French edition from 1575 on.

Several printers were involved: Theodor Graminaeus, Heinrich von Aich, Gottfried von Kempen, Johannis Sinniger, Bertram Buchholtz and Peter von Brachel, who all worked in Cologne.

Georg Braun (1541-1622)

Georg Braun was born in Cologne in 1541. After his studies in Cologne he entered the Jesuit Order as a novice. In 1561 he obtained his bachelor's degree and in 1562 his Magister Artium. Although he left the Jesuit Order, he studied theology, gaining a licentiate in theology.

Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590)

Frans Hogenberg was a Flemish and German painter, engraver, and mapmaker. He was born in Mechelen as the son of Nicolaas Hogenberg.

By the end of the 1560s Frans Hogenberg was employed upon Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published in 1570; he is named as engraver on numerous maps. In 1568 he was bannend from Antwerp by the Duke of Alva and travelled to London, where he stayed a few years before emigrating to Cologne. There he immediately embarked on his two most important works, the Civitates published from 1572 and the Geschichtsblätter, which appeared in several series from 1569 until about 1587.

Thanks to such large scale projects as the Geschichtsblätter and the Civitates, Hogenberg's social circumstances improved with each passing year. He died as a wealthy man in Cologne in 1590.