The Brussels Map Circle

Home → News


It is a tradition in Brussels: the Royal Palace opens its doors to the public, every summer. Visitors have access to certain rooms of the palace, and to exhibitions taking place there for the occasion.
This year one of them is about cartography and displays a number of old maps (none are very ancient) and related objects and instruments, illustrating the place and use of cartography in our world (see which gives the contents, with commentaries, of the cartographic exhibits).
Wulf Bodenstein, who is not only the founder of our Circle but also (benevolent) curator of the historical map collection of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, provided the three items from the Museum plus texts. He was duly rewarded by the privilege of a toast in royal company at the vernissage of the exhibition on National Day (21 July)!

Posted on

Our friend Francis Herbert turned 75 this past 25 July. He participated in the inaugural meeting of the then BIMCC (31 March 1998) when he was still Curator of Maps at the Royal Geographical Society and he has been a regular Speaker and participant in our many events since then, including the recent excursion to Rome last April.
He has engaged himself 100% as a member of the editorial committee of this magazine since last year and is a solid supporter of our Circle. As you know, he is a living carto-bibliographical encyclopedia, a unique species in the map world. And he is relentlessly helping everybody around the world who comes up with an interesting question to fill their knowledge gaps, large and small. He received the IMCoS Helen Wallis Award in 1995, quoted as 'probably the most helpful map librarian in the world'. By that time he had compiled the Imago Mundi bibliography for 20 years – an immense piece of work, if you have ever gone into it.

Posted on

The new issue of e-Perimetron, the international web journal on sciences and technologies affined to history of cartography and maps, is now on-line: e-Perimetron, Vol. 11, No. 2 (2016). URI:

Posted on

Newsletter No 55 cover
Newsletter No 55


  • Pictures at an Exhibition
    • The map: mirror of men, mirror of the world
    • The maps of the Hattinga family.
    • Cape Horn
    • Made in Algeria - Genealogy of a territory
    • Amsterdam's Maritime Museum revisited
  • Looks at Books
    • At the centre of the world: Namur
    • Metropolis, mapping the City
    • The Calanques and neighbouring massifs
  • History and Cartography
    • The Cologne publisher Gerhard Altzenbach
  • Interview
    • Interview with Desiree Krikken
  • Brussels Map Circle news
    • Conference Programme for 2016
    • 19th Annual General Meeting (AGM)
    • Map Afternoon
  • News and calendars
    • Mercator and Ortelius in Cassel
    • International news
    • Events calendar
    • Exhibition calendar
    • Auction calendar

Posted on

e-Perimetron, Vol. 11, No. 1 on-line The new issue of e-Perimetron, the international web journal on sciences and technologies affined to history of cartography and maps, is now on-line: e-Perimetron, Vol. 11, No. 1 (2016). URI:

Posted on

Claire passed away on Sunday 20 March 2016.
Born near Mons in 1931, she read history of Arts at the ULB (Free University of Brussels). Her first employments were in this domain, among them at the City Museum of Brussels, and so were her first publications. Getting to know Antoine De Smet, then Head of the Map Room of the Royal Library, she fell under the spell of old maps and their history. This became her field of research and she grew to be the most important author for the history of cartography in Belgium. She got her PhD, summa cum laudae, in 1984 with a voluminous thesis on military cartography in the South Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège in the 17th and 18th centuries. As Claire was an expert draughtswoman, she drawn several explanatory maps to the text. This work, somewhat simplified, became the first book of her trilogy on the history of military cartography, all published between 1984 and 1997 by the Royal Army Museum.
They cover: the service and the cartography in the South Netherlands, the cartography of the Belgian territory between 1780 and 1830, the map of Belgium and the Military Cartographic Institute. These much consulted works were not her only publications.
In collaboration, she wrote among others about Comines-Warneton, the fortifications of Mons, Belgian cartography in Spanish collections and several articles. Her contribution to the 2007 exhibition and book devoted to 'Images de Mons en Hainaut' were reviewed in BIMCC Newsletter No 27. Claire participated in a number of events of this Circle, in particular in the excursions to Bitburg (2005) and Middelburg (2010).
Claire’s keen intelligence, her capacity for pinpointing documents in archives gave birth to books that are a great help for the history of cartography. We are in debt to her for her pains-taking research and publications.
She will be sorely missed by her numerous friends. By Lisette Danckaert

Posted on

Recently published.
This volume gathers 19 papers first presented at the 5th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, which took place at the University of Ghent, Belgium on 2-5 December 2014. The overall conference theme was 'Cartography in Times of War and Peace', but preference was given to papers dealing with the military cartography of the First World War (1914-1918). The papers are classified by period and regional sub-theme, i.e. Military Cartography from the 18th to the 20th century; WW I Cartography in Belgium, Central Europe, etc.

    Part I - Military Cartography during World War I

  • Image of Belgium in WWI Through Maps by Wouter Bracke
  • The Postal Service of the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps (1917-1919): A Time-Step Analysis Using I-Iistorical Data Integration in a GIS Environment by Patricia Franco Frazäo, Sandra Domingues, Jorge Rocha and José Paulo Berger
  • Position Mapping: Cartography, Intelligence, and the Third Battle of Gaza, 1917 by Joel Radunzel
  • The Eye of the Army: German Aircraft and Aero Cartography in World War I by Jürgen Espenhorst
  • A Good Map Is Half The Battle! The lV[ilitary Cartography of the Central Powers in World War I by Jürgen Espenhorst
  • Military and Civilian Mapping (ca 1912-1930) of the Great War: A Selective Private Collection (Including Postcards) by Francis Herbert

  • Part II - Maps and the Aftermath of World War I

  • Mapping, Battlefield Guidebooks, and Remembering the Great War by James R. Akerman
  • The Peace Treaty of Versailles: The Role of Maps in Reshaping the Balkans in the Aftermath of WWI by Mirela Slukan Altić
  • The Role of Ethnographical Maps of Hungary and Romania at the Peace Talks After the Great War by János Jeney
  • Ideological Changes in Ethnic Atlas Mapping of East Central Europe During the Twentieth Century by Marcus Greulich
  • A New Kind of Map for a New Kind of World: 1919, the Peace, and the Rise of Geographical Cartography by Peter Nekola

  • Part III - Military Cartography on Various Fronts

  • Military Mapping Against All Odds: Topographical Reconnaissance in the United States from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War by Imre Josef Demhardt
  • The Peninsular War 1808-1814: French and Spanish Cartography of the Guadarrama Pass and El Escorial by Pilar Chias and Tomas Abad
  • Partisan Cartographers During the Kansas-Missouri Border War, 1854-1861 by Karen Severud Cook
  • Mapping for Empire: British Military Mapping in South Africa, 1806-1914 by Elri Liebenberg
  • From Peninsular War to Coordinated Cadastre: William Light's Route Maps of Portugal and Spain, and His Founding of Adelaide, the 'Grand Experiment in the Art of Colonization' by Kelly Henderson
  • Contours of Conflict: the Highs and Lows of Military Mapping at The National Archives of the United Kingdom by Rose Mitchell
  • Whose Islands? The Cartographie Politics of the Falklands, 1763-1982 by Benjamin J. Sacks

Editors: Elri Liebenberg, Imre Josef Demhardt, Soetkin Vervust
ISBN: 978-3-319-25242-1 (Print) 978-3-319-25244-5 (Online)

Posted on