Very detailed chart of the treacherous passages and approaches to Singapore, highlighting the western passages, southwards between the Malacca peninsula and Sumatra and northwards between the islands of Banca and Sumatra, with large numbers of soundings and notes, detailing the rocks and shoals. Surprisingly, there is little information on the ownership of the various islands and harbours, or even of colonial trading posts, except that an English factory is marked on Sumatra, in the region of modern Selat Panjang.
This rare collector's map that was published only in the secret atlas of the Dutch East India Company, for internal use. The map played an essential role in the 1980s in locating VOC ship 'Geldermalsen, that was shipwrecked on January 3, 1752 on Geldria's Droogte. The ship was on its way from Canton to Batavia fully loaded with porcelain and gold. The cargo was recovered by divers and auctioned in 1986 by Christie's in Amsterdam to fetch record prices.
This map is almost never available in the market.
The van Keulen family,
The van Keulen family operated a chart-making and publishing firm in Amsterdam for nearly 200 years (1680 – 1885). It was founded by Johannes van Keulen who registered his business as a “bookseller and cross-staff maker in 1678.” By this time, most of the Amsterdam chart makers and instrument makers, like Blaeu, Janssonius, Hondius, Goos, and Doncker, had either closed down or were at the end of their fame. As a result, Johannes van Keulen had the opportunity to obtain copperplates, privileges, and stocks of many of his former competitors. Under his management the Nieuwe Lichtende Zee-Faakel (New Shining Sea Torch) was begun in 1681. It was expanded to five volumes, and then finally to six volumes, with the addition of material from the secret files of the East India Company. In 1693 van Keulen acquired the stock of Hendrik Doncker.
Gerard van Keulen, son of Johannes, born 1678, took over from his father in 1714 and continued to expand the flourishing firm. Gerard’s accomplishments include hundreds of manuscript charts, which are now kept in a number of European collections. In 1726, Johannes van Keulen (II), son of Gerard, took over the business and was appointed "Official Chartmaker of the Dutch East Indies Company” In 1743, a title that appeared to be nothing more than a formality since the firm had been supplying charts to the East Indies Company for many years.
Gradually, when a policy of secrecy was no longer of use because English and French charts of Asian waters had already appeared in print, Johannes finished his grandfather's work, by publishing the sixth volume of ZeeFakkel in 1753. This volume contained the previously kept 'secret' cartography of The East India Archipalago collected and used by the V.O.C. Jan de Marre, examiner of the Amsterdam Chamber of the East Indies Company, provided van Keulen with the data for the ZeeFakkel sixth volume. These maps were distributed only within the company and never sold. Merchants were required to return the maps after each journey in order to keep trade routes secret. Until van Keulen II printed the Atlas in 1753, the Dutch East India Company used costly manuscript versions prone to errors. Part VI of Zee-Fakkel is considered by many to be the most beautiful pilot-guide ever published in Amsterdam.