A rare map of the Dutch former colony Suriname in the decades before the abolition of slavery has been bought by the University of Leiden library for an undisclosed amount.
The map, which dates from 1830 and measures 2.5 metres in length, was virtually unknown because it was never published. It was hand drawn by Helmuth Hendrik Hiemcke, who was a surveyor employed by the colonial administration.
“I was astounded by the size and detail of the map when I first saw it,” curator Martijn Storms said. “It shows the country when the plantation society was past its peak, a period which we know relatively little about.”
The map, which was spotted at antique bookshop in Maastricht by Suriname expert Carl Haarnack, will be added to the Caribbean map collection of the library, which contains a large number of maps showing Suriname from the time it became a Dutch colony in the 17th century until the present day.
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