The island of Jan Meyen

By BLAEU, Johannes, 1665 

Insula Quae A Joanne Mayen Nomen Sortita Est.

Europe Scandinavia
  • Author: BLAEU, Johannes
  • Publication place: Amsterdam
  • Publication date: 1665.
  • Physical description: Engraved map in contemporary hand-colour, heightened in gold.
  • Dimensions: 440 by 550mm. (17.25 by 21.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 9688


Map of Jan Mayen island located in the Arctic Ocean. Part of the Kingdom of Norway.

The volcanic island of Jan Meyen (originally named Maurits Island) first appeared on Willem Jansz Blaeu’s 1620 map of Europe, originally published by Cornelis Doedz in 1606. The island was named Jan Mayen” after captain Jan Jacobszoon May of the Amsterdam-financed Gouden Cath. Blaeu established its current name with the first detailed map of the island in his famous Zeespiegel” atlas of 1623.

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