Chart of Dalmatia from the 'Waterwereld'
By JANSSONIUS, Johannes , 1657

Iadera, Sicum et Aenona Vulgo Zara, Sibenico et Nona…

Balkans Europe
  • Author: JANSSONIUS, Johannes
  • Publication place: [Amsterdam
  • Publisher: Joannem Janssonium
  • Publication date: 1657].
  • Physical description: Engraved map in fine original outline hand-colour.
  • Inventory reference: 3607


Chart of northern Dalmatia including Zadar, Sibenik and the town of Nin. During this period this region was a prosperous region of the Venetian Republic, although it was constantly attacked by the Ottomans during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This conflict is represented in the title cartouche which is flanked by figures of Turkish and Venetian soldiers. The mileage scale is decorated with symbols of the Venetian Republic, including the Doge’s cap and the Venetian Lion.

The ‘Waterwereld’ was, Koeman states, the “first sea-atlas (in the real sense of the word) printed in the Netherlands”. It was first published in 1650, containing 23 charts and ten historical maps, and formed the fifth volume of Janssonius’ five volume ‘Atlas Novus’ . In 1657, Janssonius issued a new, six-volume edition of the ‘Atlas Novus’. For this edition he added nine new charts to the ‘Waterwereld’, removed the historical maps, and reset the text. As well as being issued within the ‘Atlas Novus’, the ‘Waterwereld’ was also issued separately.

One of the most important of the charts added to the 1657 edition was Jansson’s famous map of the New Netherlands, ‘Belgii Novi, Angliae Novae, et Partis Virginiae …’, here present in its first state. The chart was first issued separately in 1651 and later bound into only the Latin editions of the 1657 ‘Waterwereld’. Tony Campbell notes that this map was “the most up to date and detailed map of the region available.” It was the prototype of an entire series of maps of the Northeast that continued in print well into the eighteenth century.

Even if one accepts Koeman’s comments that “not all [of the maps] should be seen as charts”, and that “the elaborate printed text … is not pertaining to maritime affairs”, the 1657 incarnation of the ‘Waterwereld’, with its large double-page engraved charts, elaborate title, and high production values, should be seen as the progenitor of the Dutch sea atlases produced from the 1660s onwards by the likes of Colom, Doncker, and Goos.


  1. Van der Krogt 1:405.5T
  2. Burden 305
  3. Campbell nos. 1–3.