Jaap Evert ABRAHAMSE
(Cultural Heritage Agency of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences of the Netherlands)
The seventeenth century was Holland’s “Golden Age”. According to the geographer H.J. Keuning, it could also be characterized as the “Age of Amsterdam”. In the period between 1578 and 1672, Amsterdam grew from a small harbour town, to one of the largest cities in Europe. This growth resulted in two giant city extensions, which were laid out and built in the years 1612-1620 and 1663-1682. These include the now famous canal belt, but also large mixed-use areas around it, and harbour areas along the IJ sea-branch. From these city extensions, a unique historical source was passed down: the cartographic and archival administration of the sale of building plots, mostly by auction. Most of the auction books and “uitgiftekaarten” (ground issue maps) have survived and are available for research. Together, they make up a detailed image of the development of Golden Age Amsterdam. The Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency and the Stadsarchief Amsterdam (the city’s archive), have taken the initiative of building a geographic information system, in which the layout, the buyers, the date of sale, the ground price per unit, and other data will be made available digitally. This system will be operational by 2011 and will play a role in the history of urbanism, but also in economic and social history.
multi-disciplined research, cultural heritage in urban environments, applied GIS in Urban social and economic history