Acquired from antiquarian bookshop A.G. van der Steur, Haarlem.
Size: Book 20 x 13 cm; Map 60 x 49 cm.
Call number: 2287 E 29
This book by the German geographer Georg Hassel provides an overview of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It discusses issues like weather, water levels, trade, industry, science, religion and the colonies. Additional topographic and regional details are examined separately by province. It is interesting to note that the provinces known today as Noord and Zuid Holland are called Amstelland and Maasland. This was undoubtedly done to prevent any confusion with the national name of Holland. Georg Hassel also worked as a statistician and editor and co-publisher of other multi-part geographical references containing dozens of particulars about many different countries and regions.
The map shown, with the provincial borders coloured by hand, is attached to the back of the book, carefully folded. The map dates back to 1808 when the French ruled the Kingdom.
The king of Holland was Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, and it was he who gave the library the designation 'Koninklijk' [Royal]. Back then, Oost Friesland was still part of the kingdom while today's province of Limburg as well as Zeeuws-Vlaanderen were not. This is clearly indicated on the map. In addition to the map displayed here, the book also contains several illustrations of traditional attire and attractions, including the Dam Palace in Amsterdam and the Czar Peter House in Zaandam.
A work like this is an interesting, contemporary source for researching Dutch history, geography and culture. It fits well into the Koninklijke Bibliotheek's collection, much of which deals with national history. (RS)