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The Blaeu Family of Cartographers: A Resource Guide

This resource guide compiles a list of maps, atlases, digital images and published reference sources at the Library of Congress about the 17th century Dutch publisher, Willem Janszoon Blaeu, and his sons Joan Blaeu and Cornelius Blaeu.


Willem Janszoon Blaeu, cartographer. Novio Magvm. 1652. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

The Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu was born in 1571. He founded his map publishing company in 1596. Blaeu was originally named Willem Janszoon; he later added the name Blaeu to differentiate himself from the mapmaker Johannes Jansonius. The Blaeu firm originally made globes and navigational instruments; it eventually expanded to publishing maps and sea charts. In 1633 Blaeu was appointed mapmaker to the Dutch East India Company. Willem Blaeu passed away in 1638 and his sons, Joan and Cornelius, inherited the family publishing firm. In 1638 Joan Blaeu succeeded his father as the official mapmaker to the Dutch East India Company. Cornelius Blaeu died at a young age and Joan Blaeu became the sole head of the firm. The Blaeu firm prospered for over 40 years until a fire destroyed most of their plates and equipment in 1672.

This guide offers links to resources pertaining to the Blaeu mapmakers that are held in the Library of Congress. These resources include links to catalogued records for maps and atlases that were published by the Blaeu company, selected reference sources, selected digitized images of their published works, and external links.