Lecturer: Henny Savenije, PhD

Old maps are fascinating since they don’t depict the world as we see it nowadays. Dr. Savenije will show about 75 maps (with and without Korea) to show what the west knew about the Korea going back to about 1500.

He will also talk about the importance of classifying these maps based on the shape they had from this.

Japan and Korea have been arguing for a long time which name of the East-Sea/Japanese sea is the correct one, Dr. Savenije will show that these arguments are invalid for many reasons. There’s even a group of people who argues that Korea should be written with a C as in Corea, he will also show why these arguments are wrong.

Dr. Savenijewill show in a selection of about 60 old maps dating from about 1568 to 1894 to make my point. Showing the earliest map from Van Langeren in Van Linschoten (1595) and an odd exception by the Portuguese cartographer Vaz Dourado which was only discovered in the last century, till the pretty accurate German map of 1894 of Carl Flemming.

Based on the available information you could see the shape of Korea evolving from a circle island, an upside triangle attached to China, a pendula shaped peninsula which sometimes was attached to and sometimes separated from the mainland, then for a short time a square to a peninsula in the shape approaching the real shape. Till when finally the French procured a map which was based on a map stolen by a Chinese general and given to the Jesuits who were mapping China. The last shape lasted the longest, for about 100 years till the Germans started making maps which finalized in the map above and which was pretty accurate.

Henny Savenije hails from the Netherlands and was always fascinated by history, maps and Asia (in that order). Strangely enough he first got a masters in math and a PhD in psychology but after his first visit to Korea he seriously started to do research into the early Dutch documents of Korea.


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