Schoemaker Atlas

Table of contents

Overview of the Schoemaker Atlas collection

  • Contents: the Schoemaker Atlas consists of a collection of manuscripts compiled by Andries Schoemaker (1660-1735), with descriptions and drawings of cities, towns, villages and hamlets from various provinces in the Netherlands.
  • Size: 11 manuscripts in 17 volumes.
  • Access: can be found in the KB catalogue. Some of the images from the Atlas are available in Het Geheugen. Some of Andries Schoemaker's topographical work is available in full on CD-ROM (colour) and microfiche (black and white) by MMF Publications in Lisse. View the microfiches in the micro room and Schoemaker’s other manuscripts in the Special Collections reading room.
  • More informationJeroen Vandommele.

About Andries Schoemaker and his atlas

Andries Schoemaker (1660-1735) was a wealthy textile merchant from Amsterdam. He was fascinated by Dutch history. In the early 18th century, he decided to collect historical and topographical information on all cities, towns, villages, hamlets, churches and castles in the Netherlands. To do so, he used many sources and visited various places.

Based on his research, he made a description of each place including many historical and cultural details. He also described all the provinces. He often illustrated his descriptions with drawings, usually in beautiful colours. In his ”atlas,” as such a work was called, he also included images of city and family coats of arms, tokens, seals, coins and historical costumes. By the time he finished, Schoemaker’s atlas consisted of several volumes and was about 9.000 pages thick, more than 2.600 of which included colour drawings.

  • ​​​​​​Johannes van Vilsteren after Norbert van Bloemen, Portret van Andries Schoemaker (1750). Collection: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Drawings in the Schoemaker Atlas

Schoemaker not only described the location and history of all the places he visited. He also added drawings or prints of key locations or buildings in the vicinity. He drew the illustrations himself or had them drawn by his good friend Cornelis Pronk (1691-1759). Pronk and his pupil Abraham de Haen (1707-1748) often travelled with Schoemaker. Andries’ son Gerrit Schoemaker (1692-1736) also sometimes made sketches when he accompanied his father.

  • Andries Schoemaker, Titelpagina van Korte Beschrijving van de Steden, Dorpen,Gehucten (...) der Heerlijkheid Vriesland (...).

History of the Schoemaker Atlas collection

After Andries Schoemaker’s death, the Atlas’ manuscripts became scattered. Many volumes found their way into the public collections of various Dutch museums, libraries and archives. Most of the Andries Schoemaker manuscripts held by the KB come from the collection of Leiden magistrate J. Romswinckel, which the KB purchased in 1807. The other volumes came into the KB’s possession through donations or purchases at auctions.

The KB owns a total of 28 manuscripts by Andries Schoemaker. 11 manuscripts deal with cities, towns, villages and hamlets. 11 other manuscripts provide descriptions and images of tokens and coins. The remaining 6 manuscripts deal mainly with genealogical topics.

Accessibility of the Schoemaker Atlas collection

The volumes of the Schoemaker Atlas Schoemaker can be consulted physically in the KB’s Special Collections reading room. Four volumes from the Atlas collection can be accessed via Het Geheugen (on the city of Utrecht and the provinces of Gelderland, Friesland and Zeeland). The Schoemaker Atleas is available digitally on the CD-ROM by MMF Publications in Lisse. The manuscripts can also be consulted on microfiche.

  • Andries Schoemaker, "Zierikzee". Beschrijving van Zeeland.

Relationship with other collections

The location of many of Andries Schoemaker’s manuscripts is unknown. They are either in private hands or lost. The known volumes of the Schoemaker Atlas are now divided between the KB and 8 other institutions:

  • Drents Archief (Beschrijving van het Landschap Drente, met Afbeeldingen der voornaamste Huizen / Description of the Landscape of Drenthe, with Images of the Principal Houses)
  • Groninger Archief (Afbeeldinge en Korte Beschrijving van Groningen en ommelanden / Images and Brief Description of Groningen and its Surroundings)
  • Historisch Centrum Overijssel (2 volumes, Korte Beschrijving van Overijssel der selven Steeden, dorpen, Vlekken, Buurten en Castelen alle desselfsverbeelding naar het leven geteekend, door C. Pronk en Anderen / Brief Description of Overijssel, its Cities, Towns, Villages, Hamlets and Castles with True-to-life Drawings, by C. Pronk and Others),
  • Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap (4 volumes: Beschrijving en Afbeelding der Steden, Dorpen, Gehugten Adelijke en andere Gebouwen in Westfriesland, Waterland, Kennermerland, en Aankleve van Dien / Description and Illustration of Cities, Towns, Villages, Hamlets, Noble and other Buildings in Westfriesland, Waterland, Kennermerland and Vicinity; 5 volumes: Beschrijving en Afbeelding der Steeden Dorpen Gehugten Aadelijke En Andere Gebouwen In Zuijt Holland / Description and Illustration of Cities, Towns, Villages, Hamlets, Noble and other Buildings in Zuijt Holland; 1 volume: De Kasteelen in het eerste gedeelte van de gezigten van Amsterdam / The Castles in the First Part of the Views of Amsterdam)
  • Museum Flehite (Beschreijvinge van Het Stigt van Utrecht Derselver Steeden, dorpen en Gehugten / Descriptions of the Province of Utrecht and its Cities, Towns, Villages and Hamlets)
  • Tresoar (Frisian Historical and Literary Centre) (Korte Beschreijving van de Steden Dorpen Gehugten en Heeren-huizen der Heerlykheid Vriesland / Brief Description of the Cities, Towns, Villages, Hamlets and Manors of the Lordship of Friesland)
  • University Library of the Catholic University of Brabant (Corte beschrijving van de steeden, enz. behorende onder de Generaliteit / Brief Description of the Cities, etc. Belonging to the Generality)
  • The Utrecht Archives (Beschrijving van Het Stigt van Utrecht derselver Steeden, dorpen en Gehugten / Description of the Province of Utrecht and its Cities, Towns, Villages and Hamlets)

Literature about the Schoemaker Atlas collection


  • Gevers, A.J. Over de hobbelde bobbelde heyde. Andries Schoemaker, Cornelis Pronk en Abraham de Haen op reis door Overijssel, Drente en Friesland in 1732, Alphen aan den Rijn: Canaletto, 1985.


  • Kolkman, B. ‘Andries en Gerrit Schoemaker’. Bijdragen tot de historische topografie van Nederland.
  • Nahuys, M. ‘Andries en Gerrit Schoemaker’ [I-IV]. Dietsche Warande. Nieuwe Reeks, 1 (1887-1888), pp. 158-164, 313-322, 426-439, 529-546.
  • Otten, J. ‘De Atlas Schoemaker’, Voor Nederland bewaard. De verzameling van het Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap in het Rijksmuseum. De Prom, 1995, pp. 179-189.