A Delta of Time

Claes Jansz Visscher’s Updated News Maps of Spanish-Dutch Battles in the Scheldt River Area, 1627-1640





cartography, story maps, Dutch Revolt, temporality, Claes Jansz Visscher


In the early modern Low Countries, narrative cartography was a thriving new medium aimed at disseminating information about events concerning the Dutch Revolt. News maps combined spatial and narrative information in order to tell the story of a recent event to a large audience, representing actions, moments, and (spatial) change. They were in essence temporal products. To keep the maps topical, map publishers released new map states by modifying their copperplates and adding the latest news, sometimes multiple times. This article analyses the ‘updated’ map series by the Amsterdam publisher Claes Jansz Visscher that reported on events in the Scheldt river area between Bergen op Zoom and Antwerp (such as the 1631 Battle of the Slaak). The central question is how and why Visscher incorporated temporal information into his news maps. First, it shows the tools and strategies how Visscher, in comparison to other Northern and Southern Netherlandish news map publishers, added temporal information to his maps. Then, the rhythm of mapping and the map narratives are put in the context of real-time events and news culture, and the circulation and use of the maps are interpreted in the context of memory culture and historical consciousness. The article shows how news maps imply specific narratives of events and invite contemporary and later users to engage with and ‘navigate’ the past, present, and future in ways that transcend the limiting idea of time as a linear progress.


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How to Cite

A Delta of Time: Claes Jansz Visscher’s Updated News Maps of Spanish-Dutch Battles in the Scheldt River Area, 1627-1640. (2023). Early Modern Low Countries, 7(2), 154-189. https://doi.org/10.51750/emlc18374