Google Maps for 14th to 17th century trade routes

Date of news: 20 September 2022

If you would like to know how long it took to get from Eindhoven to Deventer around 600 years ago, the updated version of Viabundus - which is like a variation of Google Maps for the 1350-1650 period - can be used to calculate just how much time was needed. One of the things that the project’s researchers managed to achieve this year was a more accurate map of Brabant’s road network.

These days, it is quite common to spend 30 to 60 minutes each day travelling to work, either by car or by public transport. But not so long ago, it was practically impossible to work 100 kilometres away from where you lived. The Viabundus web app shows you which route you would have needed to take in 1500 to get from one place to another and it will also tell you how long it would have taken you to reach your destination. For example, if you were on foot but you were not carrying any merchandise, the Eindhoven-Deventer route would have taken more than three days; however, if you were travelling with a pack mule, the same distance would have taken you nine days.

Researchers from the Viabundus project are mapping through roads that served as important trade routes in northern Europe between 1350 and 1650. At the end of September 2022, they will be launching an updated digital map.