'Wereldkaart der christelijke zendingsposten', 1851

This map shows the Western and Eastern Hemispheres, with inserts of the West Coast of Africa, India (‘Hindostan’) and South Africa. The title is Wereldkaart der christelijke zendingsposten (‘World Map of Christian Missions’), but in fact missions are not marked on the map, just names of places where missions are said to be. It is hardly an elegant map. Europe, for example, is very distorted and carelessly designed.

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Typical of missionary cartography are the mottos. This map depicts a Bible opened at Matthew 28: 18-20, the famous verses in which the so-called ‘great commission’ is formulated by Jesus - a favorite text in missionary cartography:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’. [NKJ translation]

The map shows, according to the otherwise unknown J.A. Groen, ‘the expansion of God's Kingdom across the whole earth’, thus visualizing the global ambition of the nineteenth-century missionary movement.

This map of Groen was made in 1851 and appears to be a preliminary study for his magnificent and very large colored eight-part wall map from 1854, of which only the University of Amsterdam still has a partial copy. This small map could be folded and probably was inserted in a book. However, the very extensive Guide to the Christian missionary map of Groen did not appear with the large version of the map until 1854.

Unlike later Dutch maps, there is no particular interest in the Dutch East Indies, although more missions are marked there than in, for example, British colonies. From the founding of the first Dutch mission association in 1797, the vast majority of Dutch missionaries were active in the Dutch East Indies, but this map does not focus on this. This can be explained from Groen's explanation that the map is based on the German Planiglob der Erde (1848) and the British Protestant Missionary Map of the World (1846) by Edward Gover, elsewhere in this exhibition. It makes clear that missionary cartography is already a truly international affair during this period. The map appears to be an ‘equal area’ projection, doing justice to the size of the continents, less to the distances.