The company of Blaeu was the biggest producer of maps in the seventeenth century. Blaeu’s maps were based on traditions passed down through generations, combined with the latest discoveries. The Blaeu firm’s bookshop was established ‘on the water’, on what is now the Damrak in Amsterdam. This location, so close to the port, was a smart choice: this was where new products and information would arrive from far-flung locations across the globe. Seamen, merchants, scholars and regents were drawn to Blaeu’s firm, fascinated by their knowledge and skills. The firm’s cartographical knowledge influenced the entire world’s view of itself, with many cartographers attempting to imitate or surpass founder Joan Blaeu. The maps of Blaeu continue to appeal to the imagination today, as evidenced by this beautiful stationery set.
The National Maritime Museum
The collection of The Dutch National Maritime Museum is one of the largest and most notable maritime collections in the world. Here, you can learn about 500 years of Dutch maritime history and discover its strong links with the society of today and the future. Admire its extensive collections of paintings, navigation instruments, ship models and maps of the world. The collection’s eye-catcher is undoutedly the replica of the East Indiaman moored in front of the museum building. Large cargo ships like this one were used to transport spices, porcelain, tea, silk and textiles from Asia to Europe. But the range of exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum is wider than simply showcasing artefacts of the past. Cotemporary art and photography, an exhibition about the whale and interactive and virtual reality experiences are also featured at the museum.
The National Maritime Museum boasts a large collection of historical instruments that were used at sea. You can buy replicas of many of these instruments in our museum shop. Have a look at the full collection and take your pick!