The Kuyper Atlas

Jacob Kuyper (1821-1908) was a Dutch geographer and cartographer that did pioneering work on Dutch cartography. He co-founded the Royal Dutch Geographical Society in 1873. This society's primary mission was to explore and map uncharted colonial territories. Kuyper's biggest achievement, however, does not lie in the mapping of Dutch colonies but in the maps he drew for all 1200 municipalities of the Netherlands between 1865 and 1870. The maps were published in 1871 by the Frisian publisher Hugo Suringar under the title "Gemeente-atlas van Nederland (Municipality Atlas of the Netherlands) and has become known as the Kuyper Atlas.

To the genealogist the Kuyper atlas contains a lot of invaluable information. It provides a snapshot of what towns and cities looked like on the map in the mid 1800s. It gets even better. All the maps have been scanned and made publicly available at If you want to compare these historical maps to the current situation you can do so with this beautiful interactive map made by Leen Kievit. Here you can make a Google Map with points of interest shine through a Kuyper map (select "Hybride afbeelding"; "wegenkaart" = Google's map mode; "luchtfoto" = Google's satellite mode). The points of interest feature old pictures of historical buildings and landscapes to give you a real feel for what the town(s) of your ancestors looked like!

Dig further:
Here you can find all the Kuyper maps:

Here you can play with Leen Kievits' map, currently including about 1/5 of all the Kuyper maps: