Land Ho! Vingboons maps

Detail of Vingboons mapJohannes Vingboons was a 17th century Dutch cartographer. He made beautiful watercolor manuscipt maps of the East and West Indies. His work can now be seen both in an exhibition in Rotterdam and online.

Johannes Vingboons

Johannes Vingboons was born in Amsterdam around 1617 and died there in 1670. He came from an artistic background: both his father and grandfather were painters, three of his brothers were trained cartographers and two of them later worked as architects.

Vingboons’ work

Between 1640 and 1667, Vingboons created hundreds of watercolors. There were based on drawings that captains and crew of the Dutch East Indies Company took home from their voyages. This allowed Vingboons a view of the world in his Amsterdam workshop.

Map of Colombo

The meticulous and beautiful maps of cartographers like Vingboons and Joan Blaeu were sought after by collectors and ended up decorating the walls and libraries of an international client base, including several royal families.

Vingboons’ works include city views, plats, profiles and sea maps of exotic regions which were important to the Netherlands’ position as a trade nation. The small forts and trading posts have since evolved into the largest metropolises we know today.


The Nationaal Archief, the National Archives of the Netherlands, and the Rotterdam Kunsthal have organized an exhibition called ‘Land Ho!’ which will run until April 15, 2007. The Nationaal Archief has over 100 works by Vingboons. A selection of 60 maps can be seen in the exhibition. Three bound Vingboons atlases have been borrowed from the Vatican library. Another 15 maps have come from the De Medici collection in Florence. Four signed maps have come from the Dutch Scheepvaartmuseum (shipping museum) in Amsterdam.

Viewing the maps online

The Nationaal Archief maps can be viewed online in their online image database. Instructions:

  • Click a thumbnail to go to the detail page. The ‘beschrijving’ field gives a description which mentions the location.
  • Clicking the map will give the option to zoom in to see more details. The left mouse button zooms in, the right mouse button zooms out.
  • Prints can be ordered and paid online, but the order information is available in Dutch only. If you want to order copies, send me an e-mail using the Contact function of this website and I’ll talk you through it.

View of Havana

Source: Press release Nationaal Archief

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for 20 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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