The engraver Jan Wandelaar (1690-1759) can be credited with producing this beautiful wall map of the Zeeburg and Diemerdijk Water Board. He did this by order of the Hoogheemraadschap board. Wandelaar worked in Amsterdam, as an artist, engraver, writer and art collector, among other things. His name can be seen on the lower band of the beautifully engraved decoration with the eagle in the centre above.
It is unlikely that Wandelaar took measurements in the field. However, the detail and accuracy of the map show that a good surveyor must unquestionably have been involved. The map therefore offers a wealth of topographical and soil data and is an important source for the history of the area depicted.
The ownership situation of many plots is shown. In the case of wheels or gullies, the years of the relevant dike breaches are indicated. Naturally, the map provides an accurate picture of the many watercourses and water management in the polder area. The top left of the map shows a still empty and drained Diemer Lake. The Diemer or Watergraafsmeer Polder came into being in 1629 after the local lake was drained. During the Saint Peter's Flood in 1651, the sea dike broke and the Watergraafsmeer was flooded. The following year, the polder was reclaimed and parceled out. Subsequently, wealthy Amsterdammers would populate the Watergraafsmeer by building country estates, but this map does not show any evidence of that. At five metres below sea level, the polder is one of the lowest parts of Amsterdam.
At the bottom right of the map is the town of Weesp, surrounded by an almost perfectly circular circle. This circle, marked 'Banscheyding', indicates the jurisdiction of Weesp. Outside this area, the jurisdiction of Weesperkarspel applied. Next to Weesp, the overall image shows the Gemeenlandshuis, the building where the water board was based. At the bottom left, on either side of the column of arms bearing the words 'Stemmende Hollandse en Stigt-Utrechtse Districten', there are depictions of the new sea dyke completed in 1737 and - next to the allegory of Neptune - the former wooden pole dyke. At the foot of the new sea dyke on the map there is always a description of the local conditions of the sea bed; 'Peat soil', 'Seer weke & slegte derry', 'Klygrond', 'Zandgrond' and the like. The number of feet of approximately thirty centimetres also indicates the depth of the seabed near the outer dike embankment.
The detailed map with a scale of approximately 1:6,000 originated from a much smaller map before 1734. Originally, the map had only two sheets, which together with the title strip measured 80 x 103 centimetres. This section of the map appears again and again in later editions, but as a relatively smaller and smaller part of the total map.
At a later stage, the two-sheet map was expanded to a wall map in eight sheets, all of which are of a different size. The total dimensions of this mounted version are 122 x 177 centimetres. Subsequently, the eight-page second edition was changed to a ten-page third edition. At an even later stage, the map was enlarged to the final total size of 122 x 210 centimetres in thirteen printed sheets.
In the meantime, three more part editions were produced, each with their own titles. Two of these part editions followed the eight-sheet edition. Possibly, these map parts were published as separate editions. For this purpose, some existing copper plates were cut up and - in combination with some new copper plates - combined into a new volume. The prints of these new copper plates have some overlap with the remaining parts of the existing copper plates and have their own title. Moreover, it is indicated where the prints of these plates were to be cut up when these new sheets were to be included in a new large map of the entire district. This is clearly visible on the scans of the individually digitised map sheets. For instance, the top centre sheet has its own title, 'De Gebuurte van Overdiemen', just like the top right sheet, 'Stadt en Banne van Muyden aan de west sy van de Vecht'. The ten-page edition was also followed by a self-assembled edition of the top left map sheet, 'Kaart van Diemen, Diemer-Brug en Outersdorp', and the top half of the map sheet below it. When the map was converted into a wall map, these sections were cut off.
In the fourth edition, the ten-page map was finally expanded to a thirteen-page wall map with a series of weapons on both sides of the map image. A lot of cutting and pasting was required to get everything into place. The wall map presented here is an example of the thirteen-page edition known in various states. The Utrecht copy has in the edited, digital version a total of twelve coats of arms of 'Hoogheemraden', 'Dijkgraaf' and 'secretaris', ten coats of arms of 'Stemmende Hollandse en Stigt-Utrechtse districten' and nineteen coats of arms of 'Contribuerende districten'. The left-hand column of coats of arms shows the family coats of arms of the dike reeve, the dike councils and the secretary of the Water Board, as they were in office in 1749. The right-hand column shows the coats of arms of the officials who were added between 1750 and 1755.
Furthermore, there are 23 additional coats of arms of officials from the period 1732-1781, which were intended at the original final assembly to superimpose the coats of arms of ex-officers or to fill an empty coat of arms. The year 1781 is therefore leading for the publication date of this state of the thirteen-page wall map. In the digital montage shown here, however, the additional arms have not been incorporated because their final position on the map is unknown.