At the height of the Dutch Golden Age during the 17th century, The Netherlands flourished in art and science. Cartographers had access to a wealth of information due to successful Dutch voyages and business ventures, as well as impressive Flemish artistic sources created during the previous century. Amsterdam native Joan Blaeu, a representative to the famed Dutch East India Company, combined these bountiful resources when publishing his own work. Collaborating with dozens of artists, such as Dirk Janszoon van Santen and book binder Albertus Magnus, Blaeu published a comprehensive atlas, Atlas Major, widely considered to be his magnum opus. The wide scope and careful execution of Blaeu’s masterpiece prompted Atlas Major to be considered a cartographic standard of reference for decades to come.
Upon Blaeu’s death in 1673, his plates were distributed to other cartographers, among them, Frederik de Wit (sometimes spelled Frederick De Witt). De Wit integrated Blaeu’s compositions into his own designs and continued to refine his atlases until producing his most capacious work during the 1690s, also called Atlas Major. Like Blaeu’s work, de Wit’s work was highly regarded and his plates were eventually auctioned to other publishers for further printing. The posthumous collaborations exemplified by both Blaeu and de Wit are just two documented cases of the vast connections between early Dutch maps. Myriads of cartographic advancements, still prized today, sprang from the intellectually curious and intercollaborative nature of the Dutch Golden Age.