VU Geoplaza

This Map of Monasteries is based on the Census ‘Medieval Monasteries in the Netherlands’ which has been compiled at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The map is interactive: the situation is shown as it was in a year of choice, and it is possible to present the data according to a specific selection of monastic orders. The option of a specific year is done with the aid of the gliding scale at the bottom of the map or by entering a year in the window at the top. The orders are visible as layers on the map. Each order follows a monastic rule, mostly supplemented by a set of constitutions regulating the life of the members of the order. The number of ecclesiastically approved rules is small: therefore the orders are grouped according to these rules, each of which has received a colour of its own. Within these groups, the variety of orders is indicated by the use of icons. The orders become visible by clicking the legend. A click on the symbol of an individual monastery shows the corresponding record of the Census.



The Census which is at the basis of the Map contains elementary data on each of the 700-odd monasteries and comparable institutions which existed in the Netherlands during the Middle Ages. The Census has been composed in the Faculty of Humanities (formerly: Faculty of Arts) of the Vrije Universiteit and may be consulted as a separate database: Prof. dr. Koen Goudriaan was responsible for its content; the ICT was done by drs. Ben Stuyvenberg. The original version of the Census was launched in 2008; since that moment several updates have taken place. At this moment work is in progress in order to systematically insert data on archaeological findings in the database. The Census consists of several subsets of data and is preceded by an ample Introduction. The main database in the Census contains articles (records) on each of the over 700 monastic institutions in the medieval Netherlands. Inasmuch as traces of these monasteries are visible in the public realm, photos have been added..


This Map has been devised by the University Library of the Vrije Universiteit, department of Geoplaza, under the direction of drs. Lida Ruitinga, Curator Maps and Atlases; the programming and design was done by Peter Vos. The map replaces the map of monasteries published by S. Muller Hzn a.o. in 1921-23 in the Geschiedkundige Atlas van Nederland by A.A. Beekman. In 1941-42 the Monasticon Batavum by M. Schoengen, P.C. Boeren and D. de Kok was published, which comprises a complete survey of medieval monasteries of the Netherlands but without accompanying map. Since that moment research has been continued. The most important publications with respect to each monastery are referred to in the Census; they have also been taken account of in the Map. In addition, the urban maps made by Jacob van Deventer around 1560 (modern edition by C. Koeman and J.C. Visser, 1992-2001) have systematically been consulted. For the northern provinces recourse was possible to the HISGIS website of the Fryske Akademy at Leeuwarden. The map ‘Kloosters omstreeks 1300’ [monasteries around 1300] in Bosatlas van de Geschiedenis van Nederland is based on the data in P. de Nijs & H. Kroeze (red.), De Middeleeuwse kloostergeschiedenis van de Nederlanden (2008-2011), for which recent research could not systematically be consulted..


The plan has been conceived to systematically insert the seventy collegiate churches existing in the Netherlands during the Middle Ages.


Cartographic Resources:

  • De kerkelijke indeeling omstreeks 1550 tevens kloosterkaart / S. Muller Hzn., J.G.S. Joosting, J.S. van Veen en A.A. Beekman. In: Geschiedkundige atlas van Nederland. Eerste Deel. Begin – 1561.
    ’s-Gravenhage : Nijhoff, 1920.
    UBVU LA.08744gk: 162 en LK.11862gk: (mag) 162
  • De stadsplattegronden van Jacob van Deventer / [voorw.] C. Koeman ; [inl.] J.C. Visser ; [eindred.: P.C.J. van der Krogt]. - Landsmeer : Robas, 1992-2001. - 12 dl.
    UBVU LK.10466gk: 162.s.
  • Kloosters in laat-middeleeuws Nederland. Kaart 23 in: Atlas van de Nederlandse beschaving / J.J.M. Timmers. – Amsterdam [etc.] : Elsevier, 1957.
  • Kloosters omstreeks 1300. In: De Bosatlas van de geschiedenis van Nederland / [red. en cartografisch ontwerp: Noordhoff Atlasproducties]. - Groningen : Noordhoff Atlasproducties, 2011.
    UBVU LK.11933gk: 162.
  • Website:
    HISGIS :