Map of the Week: Brielle circa 1566

Around 1566, Jacobus van Deventer was charged by the King of Spain and ruler of the Habsburg empire that included the Netherlands to create maps of all the major cities in the country. This was shortly before the outbreak of the Eighty Years War, which started when several noblemen abjured the King as their overlord to form the independent Republic of the United Netherlands.  Maps of Jacobus van Deventer can be found in collections of different archives in the Netherlands and Spain.

Among the maps created by Jacobus van Deventer was one of Brielle. Brielle became the location of a famous coup in the Eighty Years War, when the Dutch water troops (“watergeuzen”) conquered the town on 1 April 1572. This was the start of hostilities.

Map of Brielle, circa 1566

Map of Brielle, circa 1566. Credits: Jacobus van Deventer, facsimile in collection Streekarchief Voorne-Putten (public domain)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Matt Newbold says

    Brielle now has a distinct castellated shape with a canal/moat around the city center. This doesn’t appear on this map. Was that formed during the 80 years war?
    Matt Newbold,
    Syracuse, Utah

    • Yes, exactly. Most of Jacob van Deventer’s maps date from before the redesign of the fortifications to withstand cannonballs. That was done during the 80 years war.

  2. Martin Vlietstra says

    In 1972 my Uncle took me to visit Den Brielle and taught me the rhyme “Op 1 april verloor Alva zijn bril”. SInce I spoke Afrikaans, I recognised this as a pun on the word “Brielle/bril”. (FOr the benefit of those who do not read Dutch, the word “bril” translates to the English word “glasses”.

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