Universiteit Leiden

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Maps and Atlases

The collection of maps and atlases consists of approximately 100,000 map sheets (including c. 3,000 manuscript maps), 3,500 atlases and 25,000 topographical prints and drawings.

The larger part was bequeathed in 1872 as a legacy of publisher Johannes Tiberius Bodel Nijenhuis (1797-1872). The maps are dating from the sixteenth century to the present-day. The emphasis lays on cartographic material of the Low Countries and western Europe and the regions of the Dutch East- and West-India companies (VOC and WIC) and the former Dutch colonies of present-day Indonesia, Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles. Accents and specialties are maps by Dutch mapmakers with special attention to cartographers from Leiden.

In the collection a great number of town plans, fortification plans, charts on paper and vellum, school atlases and drafts, proof prints and used maps with annotations are kept.


Search the online catalogue for item descriptions, digital versions and information about the collections they are part of (the collection guides). Search results can be restricted to maps only by selecting maps under resource type. Use Digital Collections to view digitised items. A subject guide is available covering our cartographic collections, providing a comprehensive overview of reference works, databases, websites, and all available collection guides. 

Other ways to browse our cartographic collections:

  • About 14,000 digital images of our topographical prints and drawings of the Netherlands are available on The Memory.
  • About 11,000 digitised map sheets of the Colonial Collection of the Royal Tropical Institute are available online via the separate map viewer Dutch Colonial Maps.
  • 171 maps of the Dutch East- and West-India companies are included in the Atlas of Mutual Heritage website.

The other parts of the collection are searchable via card indexes, ordered by region and alphabetically by mapmaker/publisher. Separate card indexes for topographical prints and topographical drawings are available. The card indexes are located in the catalogue room, room 211 (second floor entrance 3).

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