Werbata, J.

WERBATA historical topographical maps

In 1911, J. Smeulders & Co. at The Hague published the “Topographic map of Curaçao” in 18 pages, measuring 46 x 46 cm; nowadays known as the “Werbata maps”. These beautiful and very detailed maps in color have never been improved, with regard to accuracy, by later topographic maps of the island, made with the help of aerial survey. An example of how detailed Werbata worked appears, among other things, from the manner in which he indicated buildings. By means of color and manner of drawing, he made a distinction between ‘stone buildings’, ‘wooden buildings’ and ‘clay cottages’. For enclosures or boundaries, he made a distinction between ‘stone walls’, wooden fences, stone hedges (slave walls) or ‘live hedgerows’. The maps are therefore extremely informative for historical research.

What makes the Werbata maps also important is the fact that they were drawn just before the oil industry came to Curaçao and drastically changed the picture around Schottegat with its many country estates and plantations. Except for the whole island, Werbata also made a map of the city, on which the city districts of Punda, Pietermaai, Scharloo and Otrobanda are recorded. It appeared in 1912 to a scale of 1: 5,000 in 2 pages.

In that same year, the topographic map of Aruba appeared to a scale of 1 : 20,000 in 8 pages; in October 1915, that of the Dutch part of St. Maarten in 2 pages and that of St. Eustatius in 1 page. Finally, in 1916, the topographic map of Bonaire appeared in 10 pages. Unfortunately, no map was made of the island of Saba.

All the Werbata maps were put on 2 CD Roms by Harrie Verstappen. They can be obtained at the Maritime Museum, Mensing’s Caminada and Harrie Verstappen. Selling point at: The Werbata Maps.

Please contact the DCBD administratorfor more information and availability.

Data type
Maps and Charts
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
St. Eustatius
St. Maarten