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Shanghai Library Acquires the Blaeu-Van der Hem Facsimile Atlas from Brill

The Rare Books Collection of Shanghai Library acquires the facsimile edition of the famous Blaeu-Van der Hem Atlas, produced in a limited 8-volume edition, distributed by Brill.

Leiden, The Netherlands  ()

The superbly produced facsimile edition of the famous Blaeu-Van der Hem Atlas ( is unique for several  reasons. The original, without doubt one of the most significant and unique atlases in the world,  is kept at the Austrian National Library in Vienna. In 2004, UNESCO added it to the tangible listing of World Heritage, also referred to as the ‘Memory of the World', to preserve it for the future. The facsimile edition contains the most important volumes: the so-called four ‘secret VOC atlases', volume 42 on China, and notably other parts of Asia, Africa and America.

Shanghai Library in more than one way is a deserving location to house one of the copies of this  atlas, particularly the volume on China. The festive launch took place in the Bibliotheca Zi-Ka-Wei, or Xujiahui Library, which was established by the Jesuits in 1830 and contained many of the published writings of the Jesuits who were based in Mainland China. One of these was the work from Martino Martini (1614- 1661) ??? (Wèi Ku?ngguó). Professor Ma Yong, a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said about Martini: "Martini was the first to study the history and geography of China with rigorous scientific objectivity; the extent of his knowledge of the Chinese culture, the accuracy of his investigations, the depth of his understanding of things Chinese are examples for the modern sinologists".

At the festive launch the deputy director of Shanghai Library, Professor Zhou, and Brill's Representative, Mrs. Kanis presented the atlas and held speeches on the importance of this acquisition. The presentation was attended by management and staff of Shanghai Library as well as library representatives of the various Shanghai Libraries, including Fudan University, Shanghai University, Shanghai Normal University, Jiao Tong University, the District Library, etc.

For more information on this acquisition or the atlas, contact Ms. Liang Su at Shanghai Library (, +86-21-54560585) or Ms. Liesbeth Kanis at Brill (, +65-82981548).

About Brill
Founded in 1683 in Leiden, the Netherlands, Brill is a leading international academic publisher in 20 main subject areas, including Middle East and Islamic Studies, Asian Studies, Classical Studies, History, Biblical and Religious Studies, Language & Linguistics, Biology, and International Law. With offices in Leiden, Boston and Singapore, Brill today publishes 265 journals and close to 1000 new books and reference works each year, available in both print and electronic form. Brill also markets a large number of primary source research collections and databases. The company's key customers are academic and research institutions, libraries, and scholars. Brill is a publicly traded company and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam NV. For further information please visit

About Shanghai Library
Shanghai Library was founded in 1952 and holds more than 53 million volumes-one of the richest collections of Chinese literature and historical documents. It merged with the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of Shanghai in 1995 to become the first library in China to combine public library services with science, technology and industry research functions. For more information, visit

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