If you are a fan of railways and cartography, the field of railway cartography must be the best thing there is. And so for many people collecting such maps is a thoroughly addicting hobby! The NVBS Library must therefore be a major Walhalla for anyone who has this hobby, including me.
The NVBS Library has a lot of railway related material in store. I myself are part of a group within the NVBS, the Railatlas Bureau. More information on both the NVBS and Railatlas can be found on the internet, but when I was at Amersfoort Station, the location of NVBS since a few months, I made some pictures to give an idea of the number of maps and the type of material we have.
Have a look at for instance this picture:
Boxes etc. filled with drawings, endless series of them.
A lot of these maps were at one time or another drawn by maps of the NVBS, one of which was accidentally a highly professional Dutch mapmaker (see the Railatlas for these maps). But besides creating our own maps we also collect official maps, as background information in case we need to know about (former) railways and tramways. So, one can also find a lot of other maps.
I opened a box just randomly and I discovered an almost complete set of Finland in detailed maps, dated 1946! Only one out of a set of 8 was missing. And I am pretty sure it must be somewhere else (or it had no railway on it of course…).
Have a look at this picture: if you desperately want to rebuild a former custom’s house at Enschede, look no further, here is the drawing! The read stamp at the bottom of the drawing actually says “demolished” in Dutch, but we still have the drawings.
The NVBS has even more drawings: open any drawer and you will find dozens of maps. Or open any of the tubes on top of the drawers: maps. Hundreds and hundreds of them, some dating back well into the 19th century. Especially the blue maps are valuable: they are originals. There are even (almost) complete sets of original drawings of tramway lines long dismantled.
So, if you happen to look for railway related maps of the Netherlands, look no further than this. That includes maps of the former Dutch colonies, especially the East Indies!