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A Map Celebrating Dutch Independence

Rare early map of northwestern Europe, published by Matthias Zundt in Cologne in 1568, with the addition of the name Joannes Bussemacher as the publisher of the map, making this the final state of the map.

The map is oriented with Northwest at the top. The map provides an a detailed treatment of the region from Bretagne to Bremen and the mouth of the Elbe River in the North Sea, including many details relating to the recent independence and unification of the 17 Provinces.  As noted by Spikmans:

[The map] is the work of an artist rather than a cartographer and consequently, the artistic element outweighs the accuracy of the map, which may explain why there is so little literature available. Nevertheless it is important for Dutch cartography because it is one of the first maps of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands and it depicts a critical period in Dutch history.

Zündt likely published this map in response to military and political developments in northwestern Europe. The map displays both the battle near Heiligerlee (May 23,1568) and William of Orange's crossing the Maas River (October 7, 1568) to meet the army of the Duke of Alba near Maastricht 

Similarly, the date 1543 is shown next to .the towns of Roermond, Gulick and Duren in Gelderland, celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Venlo in September 1543, which unified the 17 Provinces.  Earlier events are also shown, including the arrival of an army of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III to the area near Brugge and the end of the Anabaptist Munster rebellion of 1534-35.

‘Arx Britannica’ is still shown at the mouth of the river Rijn. the last visible ruins of the Roman fortifications and northern border of the Roman empire.

The sources of the map have been debated, but would seem to include Gerard de Jode's wall map of of Gallo-Belgica, published in 1566, which covers much of the same region.

States of the Map and Rarity

In his article on the map, Hans Spikman identifies 6 surviving examples of the map and a total of 4 states, as follows:

  • Proof State: Shows the Battle of Heiligree, but not the crossing of the Maas River (British Library)
  • First State:  Shows crossing of the Maas River (German National Museum-Nuremberg; Basel University and Wurzburg University)
  • Second State: Kempen and Kayserwer added.  Berru changed to Berck and Ayne fl added to a river in Champagne (private collection)
  • Third State:  Bussemacher imprint and many place names added (Private Collection).
Hans Spikmans, Matthias Zundt: New discoveries about ‘Tabula complectens totam Belgicam…, 1568, IMCoS Journal, Summer 2013 No. 133 (pp. 25-31)
Matthias Zündt Biography

Matthias Zündt  was an engraver, sculptor and goldsmith. His work was influenced by the ‘Little Masters’, a group of sixteenth-century printmakers, predominantly from Nuremberg, who specialized in producing very small prints. 

Zündt is famous for incorporating sea horses and satyrs in his work.

Trained in Nuremberg by court goldsmith, Wenzel Jamnitzer, he made many etchings that served as templates for gold and silversmiths. These appear in his specimen book Insigne Ac Planè Novum Opus Cratero graphicum (1551). Later in his career, between 1565 and 1571, Zundt tried other areas, including maps

There are eight known maps by Zündt and most are related to the Ottoman wars. In 1568 Zündt produced ‘Tabula complectens totam Belgicam, Flandriam, Brabantiam, Selandiam, Holandiam, Frisiam, Hannoniam, Gelriam…’.