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Dataset Open Access

Viabundus map of premodern European transport and mobility

Bart Holterman; Maria Carina Dengg; Maartje A.B.; Kasper H. Andersen

Friederike Kaplan; Alexina Ludorff; Vivien Möller; Leendert van Prooije; Afra de Mars; Annemarie de Vreese; Natalie Rudolph; Friederike Holst; Peter Jensen Maring; Simon Harritz; Casper Skaaning Andersen
Project leader(s)
Niels Petersen; Angela Ling Huang
Stephan Freund; Pierre Fütterer is a freely accessible online street map of late medieval and early modern northern Europe (1350-1650). Originally conceived as the digitisation of Friedrich Bruns and Hugo Weczerka's Hansische Handelsstraßen (1962) atlas of land roads in the Hanseatic area, the Viabundus map moves beyond that. It includes among others: a database with information about settlements, towns, tolls, staple markets and other information relevant for the pre-modern traveller; a route calculator; a calendar of fairs; and additional land routes as well as water ways.

Viabundus is a work in progress. Version 1.0, released on 19 April 2021, contains a rough digitisation of the land routes from Hansische Handelsstraßen, as well as a thoroughly researched road network for the current-day Netherlands and the German states of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. The pre-modern road network of Denmark will be added soon; the inclusion of other regions is currently being planned. Additions to the dataset will be released as new versions in the future.

The project's homepage contains a web map application to explore the data. To allow for more advanced spatial and historical analyses, the underlying dataset is available for download under the CC-BY-SA license.

The dataset is designed as a network model and therefore consists of two main elements: 1) a relational database of nodes, i.e. geographical places, with historical information about settlements, towns, tolls, staple markets, fairs, bridges, ferries, harbours and shipping locks; 2) a database with edges, i.e. the geospatial representations of the land and water routes that connected these nodes. The entire database is available in CSV format (with geospatial geometry as WKT); the edges and the outlines of towns in the 16th century are also separately available as geojson and GML files. For more information about the structure of the dataset, theoretical considerations and sources, please consult the enclosed documentation file.

Viabundus was made possible by Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (Pro*Niedersachsen), Kulturministeriets Forskningsudvalg (DK), Friedrich-Christian-Lesser-Stiftung, Radboud Institute for Culture and History (RICH).
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