Arnhem, Venlo, Gelre and Roermond, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg. 1581-88
Arnhemium (on sheet with) Venlonum (and) Gelria (and) Ruremunda.
Old map with four bird's-eye plans by Braun and Hogenberg: Arnhem, Venlo, Gelre and Roermond.
CARTOUCHE: Arnhem, town in Guelders on the Rhine.
COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Arnhem lies on the right side of the right arm of the Rhine, about half a mile from the point at which it divides into two. [...] The area is marshy, damp and forested, so that there is much to hunt here. It is bordered on the east by the IJssel, to the north by the Zuiderzee, to the east by the Vecht and to the south by the Rhine or Lek, which makes for excellent fishing."
Following the alteration of the course of the Rhine around 1500, Arnhem - here seen in plan view from the south, surrounded and traversed by canals - found itself on the Lower Rhine. In Braun's day it numbered almost 4,000 inhabitants. Visible in the southern part of the town is the church of Sint-Eusebius (Grote Kerk), whose foundation stone was laid in 1450. The city walls were also constructed in the 15th century.
CARTOUCHE: Venlo, fortified by nature and human skill, illustrious town on the Meuse.
COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Venlo is a town in Guelders that is well protected both by the works of man and by its natural location; it lies on the right bank of the Meuse, half a mile from Straelen and is an industrious city of commerce."
The bird's-eye view from the south shows Venlo nestled on the eastern bank of the wide River Meuse and surrounded by moats, canals and fortification walls. Its favourable location formarly made Venlo - chartered in 1343 - a Hanseatic town. In 1543 William the Rich, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, surrendered to the militarily superior Emperor Charles V following a war of succession; the subsequent signing of the Treaty of Venlo sealed the end of the Duchy of Guelders.
CARTOUCHE: The town of Geldern, which gave its name to the entire region.
COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "There are many old stories that tell how, in the time of Charles the Bald, a terrible and poisonous beast lived beneath an oak tree near the place where Geldern now lies. The Lord of Pont's two sons, displaying incredible courage, attacked this beast and finely defeated and filled it after fierce resistance. In commemoration of this feat they built a castle on the bank of the Niers, not far from the Meuse, which they named Gelre, after the many and piteous screams of this beast."
The bird's-eye plan from the north depicts Geldern - formerly anglicized as Guelders - situated between the arms of the Rivers Fliuth and Niers and behind the fortifications enlarged in the 14th/15th centuries. Prominent bottom left, on the two islands in the Niers, is the castle around which - so legend would have it - Geldern sprang up. The town received its charter in the 13th century. The parish church of St Maria Magdalena is visible on the market square. Geldern is located in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
CARTOUCHE: Roermond, city in Guelders.
COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Roermond is an important town in the Duchy of Guelders that was founded exactly on the spot where the Roer flows into the Meuse. It lies three miles from Venlo and was made a bishopric; D. Wilhelmus Lindanus, who became famous for his numerous theological writings, was the city's first bishop."
The Dutch town of Roermond lies just 25 km from Venlo, at the mouth of the River Roer, which here flows into the Meuse. Visible in the centre is the Munsterkerk (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk), originally part of a cistercian nunnery. When the region passed to the Spanish Netherlands after the treaty of Venlo, the diocese were reorganized, and the inquisitor Lindanus (Wilhelm van der Lindt), just 38 years old at the time, was installed as bishop at its head, but was rejected by the town's citizens.
The four town plans are engraved after designs by Jacob van Deventer.
Size: 37 x 49.5cm (14.4 x 19.2 inches)
Condition: Uncoloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Krogt 4, 250; Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.217.
From: Civitates Orbis Terrarum. . Liber tertius. Köln, G. Kempen, 1581-88. (Koeman, B&H3)