Fine manuscript plan of seventeenth century Maastricht

By Anonymous, 1655 

Plan de Mastricht.

Europe Low Countries
  • Author: Anonymous
  • Publication date: c1655
  • Physical description: Manuscript plan in pen and ink, with wash colour, watermark of bunch of grapes in a double circle with letters.
  • Dimensions: (image) 355 by 455mm (14 by 18 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 12633

Notes

The present and succeeding map show the Limburg town of Maastricht, where the Treaty of European Union was signed on 7 February 1992.

Due to the town’s strategic position straddling the river Maas, it has been under the control of not only the Dutch, but also the Spanish (1579–1632), and the French (1673–1678; 1748; and 1794–1815). Each subsequent conquest leading to the construction of ever greater fortifications.

This turbulent history, together with its close proximity to both the German and Belgium, amply demonstrates the fluid nature of the nation state within Europe. Even after the French occupation ended in 1815, when Limburg and Maastricht were integrated into the Netherlands, Maastricht retained a distinctly non-Dutch appearance and outlook, a flavour it keeps to this day. In fact it was only the presence of the Dutch garrison stationed in Maastricht, who remained loyal to the Dutch crown during the Belgium Revolution of 1830, that the city did not secede along with the other southern states to form the independent Kingdom of Belgium.

Maastriicht’s final occupation came at the hands of the Nazis, who controlled the town between 1940 and 1944. The horrors of that conflict would become the catalyst for the forming of the European Economic Community in 1957, and hence the European Union, when the then member states signed the Maastricht Treaty.

This French plan depicts the battlements and ramparts of mid seventeenth century Maastricht. Although is not dated the paper does bear a watermark of a bunch of grapes surrounded by a double circle with letters, which can be dated to around 1655.