Maps and atlases

Utrecht University Library manages an appealing collection of cartographic documents. The majority of the most recent maps, charts and atlases are kept in the Map Room on the sixth floor of Utrecht University Library Uithof. Older documents and those that are consulted less frequently are stored in the depositories and can be requested using the catalogue. The items cannot be borrowed, but can be consulted in the reading room.

Search by author and/or title

Most of the maps, charts and atlases are included in the Utrecht University Library catalogue. You can search for maps in three ways:

  • The subcollection 'Kaart' includes mainly topographic and social-geographic maps. Click on the ‘Advanced Search’ tab in the catalogue. Under ‘Field to search’ select ‘Collection’ from the drop-down menu. Type ‘Kaart’ under ‘Type word(s) or phrase)’. Then type your search term (e.g. Surinam) in the field below, and click ‘Search’. Then click on ‘View’ next to the total number of titles.
  • The ‘Carto’ subcollection includes mainly physical maps, including soil maps and geological maps. To search this collection, go to ‘Advanced Search’, select ‘Collection’ under ‘Field to search’, then type ‘Carto’ in the field below.
  • You can also search by material type, i.e. ‘Maps’ or ‘Maps (series)’. Go to ‘Advanced Search’, select one of these options from the drop-down menu under ‘Material’, then continue your search. You cannot search for atlases in this way as they are considered books.

A full overview of the map collection (up to 2004) is available in the paper indexes, which include short title descriptions. These are kept in a cupboard in room 6.28 of Utrecht University Library and are available for inspection on request; please ask a librarian for assistance.

An increasingly large portion of the old maps, charts and atlases collection is being digitised and is available online.

Maps, charts and atlases in the Map Room

The Map Room holds cartographic items from 1900 onwards: atlases, reproductions, globes, broadsheet maps, folded maps, electronic maps and CD-ROMs. Most atlases and reproductions are kept in open stacks or shelves. For other items published after 1900, such as folded and broadsheet maps, please ask the librarians.  They can make these maps available to you.

You can also access a rapidly growing collection of digital and digitised maps from the computers in the Map Room. There are currently more than 300,000 digital and digitised maps available. While only a small portion of these maps are listed in the catalogue, they can be accessed locally using a Windows folder tree on the computers in the Map Room. A handbook is available in the Map Room.

Other map items

You can consult maps from before 1900 and modern cartographic documents viewed less frequently in the Special Collections Reading Room. These atlases and maps can be requested using the catalogue. Almost all modern cartographic documents are listed in the catalogue.
Requested cartographic items will be held for you behind the desk of the Special Collections department for seven days. If you would like the items to be held for longer, please consult with reading room staff.
Not all atlases and charts are automatically available for inspection. Special permission is required from a curator to consult very delicate or valuable materials. Sometimes special items are on loan or being restored.

Further reading

  • C. Koeman, 'De kaartenverzameling van de Universiteitsbibliotheek te Utrecht'. In: H.F. Hofman ... [] (eds.), Uit bibliotheektuin en informatieveld : opstellen aangeboden aan dr D. Grosheide bij zijn afscheid als bibliothecaris van de Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht, p. 358-372. Deventer [etc.]: Van Lochem Slaterus [etc.], 1978.
  • A. van Slobbe, De kaartenverzameling van het Geografisch Instituut der Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht. Utrecht: Geografisch Instituut, 1981. Unpublished master thesis.
  • —, 'Bibliotheekbeschrijving : de kaartverzameling van het Geografisch Instituut van de Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht'. In: Open 13 (1981), nr. 12, p. 601-609.
  • —, 'Kaartenverzamelingen in Nederland : het Geografisch Instituut van de Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht'. In: Kartografisch Tijdschrift, 7 (1982), nr. 2, p. 28-32.
  • R.P. Oddens, 'Maps in the Faculty of Geographical Sciences of the University of Utrecht'. In: The Map Collector 47 (Summer 1989), p. 28-32.
  • Marco van Egmond, 'Een nieuw onderdak voor de kaartenverzameling van de Utrechtse Faculteit Geowetenschappen'. In: Caert-Thresoor 24.3 (2005): p. 79-83.
  • —, 'Kaarten op koers : Kaartenverzameling Utrechtse Faculteit Geowetenschappen: een nieuw onderkomen en nieuwe ontwikkelingen'. In: Geo-Info 2.2 (2005): p. 72-76. See: pdf.
  • —, ''Een zaak van nationaal en wetenschappelijk belang' : de Utrechtse kaartenverzameling in historisch perspectief'. In: Marco van Egmond, Bart Jaski en Hans Mulder (eds.), Bijzonder onderzoek : een ontdekkingsreis door de Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht. Utrecht; Zwolle: Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht; Waanders, 2009. p. 90-95. See: pdf.
  • —, 'Kaartencollecties in Nederland : collectie kaarten en atlassen van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht'. In: Caert-Thresoor 29.1 (2010): p. 26-27. See:
  • —, 'Kartografische 'aardverschuiving' in Utrecht : geologische en bodemkundige kaarten verhuizen naar universiteitsbibliotheek' . In: Geo-Info : Tijdschrift voor Geo-Informatie Nederland 8 (2011) 1: p. 36-38. See: pdf.