Koelen Johann van

(1654 - 1715)


Dutch cartographer of the 17th century. He published the famous nautical atlas Zee-Atlas (sea atlas) and the Zee-Fakkel handbook (sea torch).

Born in Deventer.

In 1678/1679, Johann van Köhlen moved to Amsterdam, and in 1680 he received a patent from Holland and West Friesland (Eng.), Allowing him to print and publish marine atlases and shipping directories. These were books of maps and route descriptions used by helmsmen for safe navigation. The patent was a kind of protection against illegal copying of issued books and maps. This was especially important for atlases, which were created with large initial costs. Johann van Köhlen called his company “In de Gekroonde Lootsman” (Crowned Pilot [clarified]). Soon he took to his company cartographer Klaas Janssoona Voogt (niderl. Claes Janszoon Vooght). .

Since 1681, the Nieuwe Lichtende Zee-Fakkel has been produced - a five-volume atlas for which Voogt made maps and which was illustrated by Jan Leuken. The five-volume atlas, published between 1681 and 1684, contained more than 130 new maps and brought fame to Johann van Kelen.

His son, Gerard van Koelen (1678–1726), continued his work and prepared new editions of the atlas. The grandson Johann van Kuelen II (1704-1755) published a new edition with maps of Asian waters, first published in 1755. Great-grandson Gerard Hülst van Koelen (1733-1801) has released the latest edition of Zee-Fakkel.

He died in Amsterdam.

The fjord between the Nathorsta Land in the north and the Wedel Land Jarlsberg in the south, West Svalbard Island. The coordinates are 77° 34'N   15° 20'E.

Bay on the north bank of the western part of the Van Kelen Fiord,  West Svalbard Island. The coordinates are 77° 36.6'N    14° 57.5'E.


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