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Fine early birdseye view of the Island of Middelburg.
From Braun & Hogenberg's Civitatus Orbis Terrarum, the most important book of town plans and views published in the 16th century.
This bird's-eye view from the southeast shows the capital of Zeeland province, on the Island of Walcheren. The favourable geographical location and an import monopoly on spices, silk cloth and French wines led to Middelburg being granted a town charter as early as 1217, and in the 16th century it was a prosperous trading city with a population of 30,000. The influential Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) had 336 ships built here between 1602 and 1795. The splendid town hall (Stathuys), built in the late Gothic style under Charles the Bold, can be identified on the market square. In front of it stands the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe abbey with the Choir Church (Koorkerk) dating from around 1300 with its 85-m-high tower, "De Lange Jan".
Georg Braun (1541-1622) was born and died in Cologne. His primary vocation was as Catholic cleric; he spent thirty-seven years as canon and dean at the church St. Maria ad Gradus, in Cologne. Braun was the chief editor of the Civitates orbis terrarum, the greatest book of town views ever published. His job entailed hiring artists, acquiring source material for the maps and views, and writing the text. In this role, he was assisted by Abraham Ortelius. Braun lived into his 80s, and he was the only member of the original team to witness the publication of the sixth volume in 1617.
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