Anno 1562,

Marcus Gerards (also written Gheraerts), draws this map of the city of Brugge, as an order from the council of the city of Brugge.

For more information about Marcus Gerards, see at the bottom of this page…

Anno 1985,
Like every other day, i am making my way to work (on my bike). Like every other day, i am driving through one of the town city gates (dating from the Middle-Ages). Like every other day, i am impressed about this building, as i am always impressed about my city’s history and its beautiful buildings which are still standing in full glory up to today…
Like every other day, i am dreaming away thinking about how lovely it would be to rebuild Brugge how it must have looked like in the Middle-Ages, realising this is an impossible task, there just is not enough money and place in the world to make this happen…. so i just continue my way to work feeling sad….
One day during this year, i have to visit a friend who was an antique dealer and who also sponsored the football team i was playing for at that time.
To my surprise,hanging on one of his shop walls, there was a map of the city of Brugge in the Middle-Ages (see picture above).
Then an idea started to occur in my mind, what if i tried to rebuild my lovely city as a model, so if not in reality, people would be able to get an bit of idea how it must have looked like in 1562…
So i went to a bookshop, i found a copy of  Marcus Gerard’s map, bought it, went home and started to think how to handle this…
Anno 1986
I decided i was going to realise the idea i had the year before when i’ve seen this map in my friend’s shop.
First thing i did, i took photocopies of the entire map, when i finished this, i taped all the A3 format papers together, and when i finished, i had the entire map of Brugge  lying in front of me.
Secondly, i put tracing-paper on top of the map and started to trace every single waterway, every house district, every landscape, on this tracing-paper.
Next, i’ve bought two wooden boards, one 12 mm, the other 8 mm thick. I put the tracing-paper on the thinnest one and copied my previous tracing onto the wooden board.
So now i had the complete outline of the city on the board. To make sure the penciltrace did not fade or vanish, i traced everything again with a black marker.
Then, with the help of a sawing-machine, i cut out the outlines of every canal/river that was marked on the map. Once finished, i glued all these seperate parts of the city on the thicker board, which as a result, it looked now i had real waterways running through my model/map.

The beginning of building

Anno 1986 – 1994
So, with a lot of patience, between 1986 and 1994, i’ ve been working on this model, every day coming closer to what i dreamt of all these years….. Brugge in 3D !!!
Why did it so long to build ?…
Considering the size of the city, and i wanted the whole city in my model, it was inpossible to build this on a large scale.
So i followed the same size of the map,
The showcase where my model is now put in, measures 1.80 m by 1.20 m.
Every single house is not higher than 0.8 cm, and the highest building measures 12 cm, which is the Church of Our Lady.
To simplify my work a little bit, i decided not to build house by house, but district by district.
The material i used is called “Balsa”-wood, and comes from South-America.
To be able to work on such a small scale, this wood could not be thicker than 1 mm. This i used to build the walls of the buildings.
For the roofs, i used hard drawing-paper.
Choosing the Colours (painting) of the houses and churches was a personal choice, and is therefore not how it was at that time in 1562,
but i know that they used a lot of different colours (like the ones i used) for their homes at that time.
The trees are made of matches and green moss.
So, as an exeption for the cows and horses, every single item on the model is hand-made by myself. (for the trees, i’ve got a bit of help from my girlfriend at that time  (Debbie) and daughter (Maria), for which i am still very thankfull…. Lots of sticky fingers hahaha…
Anno 1994
Finished my dream !!!!!! So pleased with the results, after years of hard (pleasant) labour, with succes and sometimes with failure, but never losing the courage to realise my dream…
I was very proud when i could see this dream of mine appearing in the newspapers, and i was so happy to be able to go on Local, as well on National, television, for people to be able to see what i realised. This was for me a big big reward…
I was also able to put it on exposition for one month long in one of the oldest buildings of Brugge, “Ter Buerse”, where stock exchange as we know it now, realy began all these long years ago.
So i hope you will all enjoy the pictures following below, as well as the article on Marcus Gerards.








Het laatste nieuws 02.12.1994




Marcus gheeraerts (Brugge, ca. 1521-probably London, ca. 1590) made especially in Bruges city map with his name that he was in 1561-1562 drew and painted and whether or not itself on copper engraved, commissioned by the City Government.
1 early life
2 a map of Bruges
3 the waarachtighe fabulen der dieren
4 to England
5 Literature
Life Course
Egbert Gheeraerts, probably from North Netherlands, came as a painter in Bruges draw and appeared in 1516 to the craft of the images makers and painters. He married, around 1520, with Van der Antonine Weerde († 1580). In the same year 1521 son Marcus was born and died the father. The widow remarried after a short time with the painter Simon Pieters († 1557), probably also from northern Netherlands. They had six children.
Not until 1558, six and thirty years old, married Marcus Gheeraerts the younger married Johanna Struve and they got Marcus and Esther as children. In the same year of his marriage was Marcus Gheeraerts the younger member of the Guild of the images makers and painters, in which he repeatedly would exercise directorships. In 1557 he was known for his halbroers guardian and half sisters, after the death of Simon Pieters.
As the son of a master from his fifteenth member of the craft could be, it remains a question mark why Marcus Gheeraerts beware his 36th became a member. The explanation is probably that he was given his training elsewhere. It is possible that his stepfather Peter’s was his first teacher. His biographer Albert Schouteet has expressed the hypothesis that he would have run school with Bernard van Orley. There are two possibilities in that direction: Bernard van Orley was reformist and Gheeraerts may join him in that direction have evolved; After the death of Bernard van Orley was entrusted to Gheeraerts the completion of an altarpiece where the master to was working and which one might be preferably in the hands of an employee vote. It is also possible that Gheeraerts for a time lived in Antwerp, the city par excellence to engraving to learn.
During his period of Bruges Gheeraerts painted in a variety of genres. His contemporary Karel van Mander has described as follows: he was versatile in painting figures, landscapes and buildings. He placed In his landscapes often a squatting and urinerend female, such as Adriaen Brouwer in his Inn views like a pisser fielded against the wall. Also in the techniques Gheeraerts was versatile: painting on canvas, drawing, etching and illustration of books.
Of his paintings remain in Bruges a few testimonials. In the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Church is a large triptych with Calvary preserved. Above the main altar is the painting by Bernard van Orley by Gheeraerts was completed.
A map of Bruges
It was in 1561 that Marcus Gheeraerts was commissioned by the City Government to the city of Bruges and to show how well their city accessible was by sea. It was the sea drawn closer to downtown than the reality on the fine that one mercken mach the good navigation. It was a poster to advertise with the outside world and to promote economic revival. It was only in second place that the city government ended up with him, after first negotiations with the Antwerp printer William Sylvius, which, however, remained without result. The agreement with Gheeraerts was closed on 27 June 1561 and al on september 9, 1561 he could carried out surveying and drawing work to city magistrate proposals.
With this card brought Marcus Gheeraerts a masterpiece, unique in its kind. Even though it was when fashion in many cities to create a floor plan, could not yet compared with the work of the Bruges master. Viewed from the Northwest, gave it in bird’s eye view, view on all historic buildings, city gates, canals, streets, squares and ordinary houses from the 16th century. Still, the map can serve as signpost a walk.
The map was 100 cm high and 185 cm wide and 10 was engraved on copper plates. Until today this is the most reproduced map of the city, which many Locals in possession. Not a book that deals with Bruges or this map, or details thereof, is reproduced. A copy of the first printing in the Gruuthuse Museum in Bruges. The coppers were property of Gheeraerts who acquired the exclusivity to print to sell. After his departure from Bruges, they were held by his half-brother Gerard Pieters in 1600 to the city of Bruges sold. They are currently still in the city archives preserved. They were up in the nineteenth century regularly for reprints: in 1640 (busier brothers Van de Kerckhove, editor Olivier de Wree), in 1750 (printer Pieter De Sloovere), in 1762 (ditto) and in 1840 (Buffa and Roulman. The prints, in 1881, in 1896, in 1909 (busier Beyaert) were no longer on the basis of the coppers but based on lithography or lithograph. The stones were by lithographer Auguste Ancot engraved. Still in 1941, with the stones of a reprint Ancot carried out on the initiative of the Bruges Guides bond (lithography Édouard Isselée), for the same association in 1964 (Litho offset Deboo). In 1972 and 1980 a reprint was carried out by the printing company Pauwels in Eeklo. Since then more modern reproduction techniques used. The map was commissioned by the society for Brugse zeevaartinrichtingen, in 1985 in offset and reprinted in black and white by Beka-screen in Kapellen, on the basis of an eighteenth-century pressure. The Royal Guides Association of Bruges and West Flanders gave a new jewel-toned reprint.
The waarachtighe fabulen der dieren
In 1567 was released by printer Pieter De Clerck in Bruges a richly illustrated book under the title De warachtighe fabulen der dieren, in which the moralistic Fables of Aesopos free were retold by the Bruges Chamber of rhetoric Edouard de Dene. The work was dedicated to the engraver and printer Hubert Goltzius and contained an introduction in verse written by the Ghent painter Lucas de Heere. The Dene and De Clerck sympathized with the new thoughts of the reform, whereas Goltzius and the Lord switched to Protestantism. Marcus gheeraerts yielded 108 engravings, nearly a full page engaging. Gheeraerts performed himself on as Publisher.
The work meant, aside from the quality of the drawings, a milestone because the woodcut decoration was abandoned to the (copper) engraving. The engravings of Marcus Gheeraerts were later taken over by others, at a time when neither copyright nor resale right existed. So took Christoffel Plantijn in 1577 107 drawings about in the book Mythology Ethica of Arnold Freytag. In Cologne they used Georgius Mutingen in 1594 as illustration for the book Viridiarum moralis philosophiae. Appeared in Amsterdam In 1617 a book written by Joost van den Vondel, under the title Vorstelijcke warande der animals (…) verciert with hundred twenty five aerdige images in copper carved by Marcus Gerard.
To England
When the reform started to get a foothold in Bruges, joined Marcus Gheeraerts joined the Protestant commune and became a member of the consistory. A short time, he became, with others, for the municipal court, under the accusation that he was a heretic, heretic trapped had defended and caricatures had created and spread from the Pope, the King and Catholicism.
Gheeraerts was on 1 december 1568 to eternal exile was condemned and his assets confiscated. He had not waited and was with his son departed to England. His Catholic wife remained in Bruges live and opposed the confiscation of their possessions, in the first place of the furniture that belonged to her.
She Was already died or it is not attracted to Gheeraerts, the fact is that in 1571 he married Suzanna the Crits, daughter of the Antwerp painter Jan de Crits and belonging to the Protestant community in London. Their children were born in 1573, 1575 and 1576.
Marcus gheeraerts was a successful painter in England, which commands received from Royal circles. There is a portrait of Queen Elisabeth (dating to ca. 1578), probably created in command of her favourite Robert Dudley, as in the background his estate. A second portrait of the Queen, surrounded by her court, with, in the background, the castle of Kenilworth, dates probably from 1575
In England made his son Marcus gheeraerts the younger (1561-1636) name as a portrait painter.


  • W. H. J. WEALE, Marcus Gheeraerts, in: The Burlington Magazine, 1906, 418.
  • Reginald LANE POOLE (Mrs.), Marcus Gheeraerts, Father and Son, Painters, The Walpole Society, 3 (1914), 1-8.
  • A. F. MIRANDE & G. S. OVERDIEP, Het schilderboeck van Carel van Mander in hedendaagsch Nederlandsch overgebracht, Amsterdam, 1936.
  • Arthur Ewart POPHAM, The etchings of Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, Print Collector’s Quarterly, 15 (1928), 187-200.
  • Albert SCHOUTEET Marcus Gerards, Brugge, 1941 (reprint 1985)
  • Edward HODNETT, Marcus Gheeraerts the elder, Brugge, Londen en Antwerpen, 1971
  • Albert SCHOUTEET, Marcus Gerards, the 16th century painter and engraver, Brugge, 1985
  • William B. ASHWORTH, Marcus Gheeraerts and the Aesopic connection in seventeenth-century scientific illustration, Art Journal, 44 (1984), 132–138.
  • Mikael Lytzau FORUP, 125 fabler med illustrationer af Marcus Gheeraerts den Ældre, Odense, 2007.
  • Brecht DEWILDE, Het sociaal kapitaal van Marcus Gerards, in: Handelingen van het Genootschap voor Geschiedenis te Brugge, 2009, blz. 309-346.