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Description

Rare early 17th Century sea chart of Denmark's 'Great Belt', with Jutland, Funen Zealand and parts of Holstein and surround islands, published by Anthonie Jacobsz.

This attractive sea chart is a fine example of Dutch Baroque maritime cartography and it depicts an area that was then (as now), especially important to shipping. Running through the center of the map is 'Great Belt', or Storebaelt, the wide strait which separates the Danish islands of Funen and Zealand. Along with the Oresund, which runs between Copenhagen and Southern Sweden, it is the main artery connecting the North and Batlic Seas. While these waters hosted a great deal of traffic, they were known to be especially treacherous, due to shoals, changeable weather, and strong currents, making such a chart a vital aid. In particular, this chart would have been useful for merchants who imported vast amounts of timber out of the Baltic region. The chart would also have had a military utility, as Denmark and its arch-rival Sweden were often at war, while the Dutch were close allies of the Danes. Overall, such a chart would have been used by mariners from all European nations, due to the utter Dutch dominance of the printing industry at the time.

The important ports of Odense, Svendborg, and Nyborg, are labelled on Funen, while the key harbour of Aarhus is located along the northeastern shore of the peninsula of Jutland. Further south are the ports of Flensborg, Lubeck and Rostock, all now a part of Germany. Many of the smaller towns, including those located on the small islands such as Lolland and Falster, were vibrant trading communities.

Anthonie Jacobsz was among the earliest Dutch Sea Chart publishers. Jacobsz founded a printing and publishing business in Amsterdam in which he specialized in the production of pilot books and sea atlases. As he died at a comparatively early age, most of the numerous editions of his works appeared after his death, published by his sons, Jacob and Caspar, who took the name 'Lootsman' (sea pilot), to distinguish them from another printer of the name Jacobsz.

The present chart is extremely rare. We locate only one example of the map with a slightly different title (Pascaerte, rather than Pas-Caart), at the BIBLIOTHEEK UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM.