Blaeu’s map of Spitsbergen

By BLAEU, Johannes, 1665 


Europe Scandinavia
  • Author: BLAEU, Johannes
  • Publication place: Amsterdam
  • Publication date: 1665.
  • Physical description: Engraved map in contemporary hand-colour, heightened in gold.
  • Dimensions: 380 by 490mm. (15 by 19.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 9689


Based on the Muscovy Company’s map of 1625, Blaeu’s map of Spitsbergen introduces a number of new place names along the north coast and marks and names the Hinlopen straight.

The map appeared in the Atlas Major’, which, in its various editions, was the largest atlas ever published. It was justly famed for its production values, its high typographic standard, and the quality of its engraving, ornamentation, binding and colouring. The atlas frequently served as the official gift of the Dutch Republic to princes and other authorities. It is one of the most lavish and highly prized of all seventeenth-century illustrated books. 


  1. Van der Krogt
    • Koeman, C and van der Krogt, Pieter (2000–2010). Koeman’s Atlantes Neerlandici. MS’t Goy-Houten: HES & De Graaf Publishers. 9 vols.
  2. Shirley, British Library.
    • Shirley, Rodney. (2004). Maps in the Atlases of the British Library: A descriptive catalogue cAD850 to 1800. London: British Library. 2 vols.
  3. Brotton, 265–290
  4. S. Kramer, Ex bibliotheca Reisachiorum’, Scriptorium 34 (1980), pp.91–95