Abraham Ortelius’s Map of Utopia listed as ‘Topstuk’ (masterpiece) in Flanders

20th of February 2020

The Map of Utopia by Abraham Ortelius, acquired thanks to the Charles Vreeken Fund at the end of 2018, has been listed as a ‘Topstuk‘ (masterpiece) by decree of the Flemish government. The King Baudouin Foundation is proud to see the Flemish government acknowledge its efforts to preserve heritage of this calibre.

‘Topstukken’ are movable pieces of Flemish culture that have been selected thanks to their unique archaeological, historical, cultural, artistic or scientific character. The aim of this decree is to ensure the sustainability of such works, notably by respecting certain conditions for their conservation.

The Map of Utopia was made in 1595-1596 by Abraham Ortelius and illustrates the utopian island imagined by Thomas More in his famous literary work. The map was printed in twelve examples and the only one to have been preserved is that present today at the Plantin-Moretus Museum.