Utrecht 2019

Seas, Lakes and Rivers on Historic Maps and Charts

Workshop held before the 28th International Conference on the History of Cartography (ICHC)
Utrecht, The Netherlands
12 July 2019

It is a tradition that the International Cartographic Association and the International Conference on the History of Cartography jointly organize a pre-ICHC event. For the 28th ICHC they have teamed up with the Map Collection of Utrecht University and will together host a workshop focusing on the cartography of water.

Co-HostsInternational Cartographic Association, Commission on the History of Cartography
Utrecht University Library, Special Collections
28th International Conference on the History of Cartography
ThemeFresh and salt waters are a key lifeline for all civilizations but at the same time can also threaten human habitats. Over the centuries, people have ventured out to navigate and explore the waters, while also putting systems in place to manage and control them. This has resulted in numerous categories of water-related maps such as portolan charts, maritime and river cartography, hydrographic surveys, VOC charts, polder maps etc. The workshop will offer a forum to discuss this rich variety in cartographic heritage.
WhenFriday, 12 July 2019
Meeting of Map Curators will be on Saturday in Leiden
Sessions of the 28th ICHC will begin on Sunday in Amsterdam
WhereUtrecht University
Utrecht Science Park (Uithof)
University Library, Heidelberglaan 3, Boothzaal and Map Collection
By train and bus/tram about an hour from the city centre of Amsterdam

There will be a keynote address by Prof. Dr. Bram Vannieuwenhuyze (University of Amsterdam) on the display of waterways on sixteenth century town plans of the Netherlands.
The workshop will also be complemented by a special map exhibition from the map collection of the Utrecht University Library. Water management has played an integral role in the history of the Netherlands. For centuries the country has been crusading against sea and river water that threatens to flood the valuable land from all sides. This rich tradition has left a considerable legacy of early and rare cartographic publications, with the dynamics of the landscape being showcased on old maps, for instance of water control boards. The Utrecht University Library has a large collection of these early printed works, atlases and maps, which paint a telling picture of the – often difficult – relationship the Netherlands have with water. Some prime examples will be on display during the workshop


The workshop programme is provisional and might be subject to change.
10:00‑10:15Walk in with coffee/tea
10:15‑10:30Opening address by the organizers
10:30‑11:00Keynote address by Prof. Dr. Bram Vannieuwenhuyze (University of Amsterdam)
11:00‑11:20Coffee break
11:20‑12:35Session 1 (chair: Marco van Egmond)
Ferjan Ormeling - Charting tropical waters. The organisation of the Dutch hydrographic surveys in the 19th century
Imre Demhardt - Water as a scarce and contested commodity. Case studies from Namibia (German South West Africa) in the 19th and 20th centuries
Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann and Yulei Yang - Mapping the Chinese Empire through a Network of Communicating Waterways: Two Late Qing Dynasty Maps in the collection of the MPIWG (Berlin) and Their Origins
12:35‑13:35Lunch break
13:35‑14:50Session 2 (chair: Bram Vannieuwenhuyze)
Frank Gelaude - Looking for hydraulic engineering works in the city of Ghent between 1100 and 1300
Wolfgang Crom - Fossa Eugeniana or Catholic Spain’s attempt to run the rivers of the reformed Netherlands dry
Bas van der Meulen - Insights into fluvial morphological processes from historic maps of Rhine river branches
14:50‑15:10Coffee break
15:10‑16:00Session 3 (chair: Imre Demhardt)
Wolfram Dolz - The Official Map Series of the Elbe River in the Kingdom of Saxony in the 19th century
Martin Rickenbacher - Mapping the unknown. Depth soundings of Swiss lakes in the 19th century
16:00‑16:10Closing remarks
16:10‑17:30Drinks reception and map exhibition


The workshop is open to everyone with an interest in the history of cartography but requires participants to register. Registration will be open until the available seating is allocated and will be free of charge.
You can register for the workshop here.



Questions regarding the workshop can be directed to:
Imre Demhardt – Chair ICA Commission on the History of Cartography: demhardt(at)uta.edu
Marco van Egmond – Curator of Maps, Atlases and Printed Works at Utrecht University Library: m.vanegmond(at)uu.nl