Tube Lines Luggage Racks

The London Transport Museum has been busy celebrating 150 years of the London Underground. They’ve now launched this great range of coloured luggage racks. The luggage racks come from the decommissioned Metropolitan line Tube trains, were cleaned and powder-coated in colours based on the twelve metro lines of the London Underground. Oh oh, they do international shipping…


London Transport Museum photo on their Facebookpage

London Transport Museum rack

The colours in the range:
Blue – Piccadilly Line
Sky Blue – Victoria Line
Mint Green – Waterloo & City Line
Red – Central Line
Orange – Overground
Yellow – Circle Line
Pink – Hammersmith & City Line
Purple – Metropolitan
Green – District Line
Grey – Jubilee Line
Black – Northern Line
Bronze – Bakerloo Line
Gold – to celebrate 150 years of the underground (and Silver)
White – for the map background

(Photos: from the website and Facebookpage of the London Transport Museum)

A Map of the World

Gestalten recently added a new beauty to their range of impressive map books. ‘A Map of the World’ showcases contemporary maps by designers, illustrators and mapmakers from all over the world. As the publisher states: ‘Maps help us understand and navigate the world. For centuries, maps have become better, more refined, and more precise—there are no blind spots anymore. While Google Maps and GPS systems have become our tools of choice for navigation, contemporary maps have evolved into platforms for cutting-edge illustration, experimental data visualization, and personal visual storytelling.’ Couldn’t agree more! ‘A Map of the World’ consists of a great collection of maps, varying from very personal narrative maps to accurate street plans. Full of cartographic experiments, bright colours and enough pretty maps to look at once in a while: this book will make a great addition to your book collection. Oh, and do you remember the Cosmographies by Carlos Romo Melgar I blogged about last year? He is one of the featured artists in this book!

A Map of the World cover

A Map of the World

Map of the World page

Maps of Amsterdam

You know I live in Amsterdam. A great city to live in, also because of the charming canals that give the city its beauty and historical feel. In the Stadsarchief Amsterdam, an exhibtion called Booming Amsterdam just opened. The expo is about the building of the canals in the Golden Age. In 1613, Amsterdam was growing quickly and expansion was needed to house all people living in and coming to Amsterdam.The city council decided to build city canals. Booming Amsterdam gives you a great overview of 400 years of urban development. You will find maps, architectural plans and cityscapes to tell the city’s story. And it is quite the story!


And of big importance to me: two books were also recently published: Kaarten van Amsterdam (Maps of Amsterdam), Part 1: Amsterdam from 1538-1865, Part 2: Amsterdam from 1866-2012.

Part 2 is an updated and extended version of a book published in 2002, Part 1 is completely new. I had the honour to speak with the author – Marc Hameleers- a few weeks ago and he told me the project has been a part of his life for the last 20 years. The base for these two books is a catalogue written by D’Ailly in 1934. Marc Hameleers: “A.E. d’Ailly was working at the Stadsarchief of Amsterdam (the municipal archives) and he wrote a very thorough, detailed catalogue of the maps of Amsterdam. Unfortunately not very exciting to read, but the content is impressive. Don’t forget: D’Ailly didn’t have the resources we have nowadays to research the existence and availability of maps. His research is really impressive.”

Obviously, there are some big differences between the catalogue from 1934 and these new books: D’Ailly included the maps in a chronological order of its content. This means a map from the 19th century would be found in the beginning of the overview because it presented Amsterdam in the 17th century). Hameleers decided to follow the chronology of the map itself, making the overview also useful to study the cartographical developments and focus. Another big difference: Hameleers included all different versions, fascimiles etc of one map in one catalogue number. This makes the overview the books offer much more useful and practical. The Stadsarchief Amsterdam has a huge collection of maps of Amsterdam, but research was also done in other collections worldwide to get closest to a complete overview as possible.
The result of these years of work by Hameleers? Two beautifully designed books (by Ronald Boiten and Irene Mesu) with almost 1100 images. The books are intriguing because of their massive amount of great content, super printing quality (the maps look great) and the information they provide about the development of my lovely city. A must have if you ask me!


Information about the exhibition Booming Amsterdam:
15 February – 26 of May 2013
Admission adults: 6 euros
Adress: Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Vijzelstraat 32 Amsterdam

Information about the books:
Publisher: Thoth
ISBN: 978 90 6868 620 3 (part 1) and 978 90 6868 621 0 (part 2)
Price € 69,50 (per book)



Couch Material: Soft Cities

Thanks for your topic suggestion Jeroen! These map blankets are great. Especially since it started snowing again here in Amsterdam! Oh well. It is not that bad if you cuddle up under one of these blankets and wait for spring to arrive…

Soft Cities is a San Francisco-based company that sells blankets and napkins featuring a map of your favorite location. You can pick the location yourself, Soft Cities makes the map using open source data provided by Open Street Map (Soft Cities collaborates with Stamen Design,, and Cloudmade, under the creative commons license SA-by-SA).
Oh and as said, they also do ‘ mapkins’. Love it!

Soft Cities newlyweds

SoftCities blanket water colour

SoftCities blanket2

On the Map

To me On the Map by Simon Garfield is a great addition to the world of map books. ‘Why the world looks the way it does’ suggests this book will entertain the reader. And it does.

The book wanders through history in a relaxed way, and Garfield really takes the reader along on the discovery journey he takes. You can almost hear him speak out loud about every map. Whether it is about the Vinland map -and the discussion about it in the cartography field- or about Google Maps, Garfield gives you the feeling that each map story is a very special one. Of course I was happy to see a chapter included on stereotype mapping in the nineteenth century (my own thesis subject).

The part about women’s inability to read maps was also fun to read. Usually I get in defense mode the minute someone starts that discussion, but that proved not to be needed with Garfield. He does have a point though when he says women usually rely on landmarks to find their way, and men are slightly better in using spatial clues to find their way. Fair enough.

This book is a perfect gift for anyone intrigued by maps. I can’t say I read a lot of map topics that were new for me, but I like the broad variety of maps that are included. The fact Garfield even included the recent Apple Maps developments makes this book very up to date. That completeness of the book (plus the over 60 illustrations in it) makes it your perfect partner for a cold winter day on the couch.

On the Map by Simon Garfield

‘A pub quizzer’s dream . . . Rather than over-romanticise the experience of map-reading, Garfield allows his varied, expertly researched stories to speak for themselves, and in so doing helps us see that there are fewer things in life more useful, rewarding and beautiful than a map that does what it’s supposed to. Perhaps if Apple had read the book a few months ago, today’s iPhone users would have a much better idea of where they’re going.’, David Clack, Daily Telegraph

On the Map
Simon Garfield
Profile Books
ISBN 978-1846685095

(In Dutch: Op de kaart will be published in June by Podium, ISBN: 978-9057595714)

Atlas de Wit

Have you seen the beautiful recent Atlas De Wit publication yet? This book should definitely be on the wishlist of map lovers. The Atlas De Wit is a historical atlas with 158 city plans and bird’s eye views of towns in the Northern and Southern Netherlands in the seventeenth century, by cartographer Frederick de Wit. The fascimile offers you the opportunity to wander through Dutch (and Belgian) cities: take a step back on these gorgeous handcoloured maps and get lost in the 17th century. The atlas was presented with the tagline ‘Discover the Google Earth of the Golden Age’, a smart move.

Atlas de Wit
M. van Delft & Peter Van Der Krogt
€ 119 (introduction: € 99 until 31/12/12)
ISBN 978 94 014 0189 0
Issued in three languages: Dutch, French, English

About the Atlas (in Dutch):

Woodcut Map Coolness

It is absolutely great that people share stuff with Maps and the City (thanks for this one Tomislav)! Check out these woodcut maps. Based on a specific location, you can order a woodcut map of a place of importance to you. Frame a composition around any special spot in the world, choose from the various exotic hardwood veneers, and preview your design instantly. Each map has a unique pattern of wood grain. It takes a few weeks but then you receive a hand-crafted wood-inlay map of your own design. Worth the wait I would say.

Smooth Operator Mapstyle

If you ask me, Fashion & Maps are a great match. Another (actually quite tight) example is this collection of Black Milk Clothing. They have all kinds of cool prints but this one is obviously my favourite. I like the leggings most! Great description in the webshop: “I designed these leggings after getting a lot of complaints from girls that they didn’t have any clothes that would allow them to relate to pirates and other mariners from the 17th century – in the event that they were accidentally transported back in time. So I made these. Now all is well.” (Oh and they have free shipping throughout November, hooray!).