Viabundus 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. Currently, it contains a rough digitisation of the land routes from Hansische Handelsstraßen, as well as a thoroughly researched road network for the current-day Netherlands, Denmark, the German states of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Hesse and North Rhine-Westfalia, and parts of Poland (Pomerania, Royal Prussia, Greater Poland). The pre-modern road network of Denmark will be added soon; the inclusion of other regions is currently being planned. Take a look at our Documentation for further information about what Viabundus is and can do. Do you have questions, comments or do you wish to contribute to Viabundus? Don't hesitate to contact us.
The data collected for the compilation of the Viabundus map is available Open Access (CC-BY-SA) and can be downloaded in various formats below.
For a better understanding of what Viabundus is and how it works, please consult the documentation files below. As Viabundus is a work in progress, the data will be made available as new versions of the dataset, which can be found under Downloads. With each new version, the documentation will be updated as well. The version numbers below therefore correspond to the version numbers of the dataset. The Online map always uses the latest version, but older versions will remain available for download as well.
Latest version (1.2)
Viabundus documentation, Version 1.2 (published 21-9-2022) - PDF (English).
Viabundus documentation, Version 1.1 (published 5-12-2021) - PDF (English).
Viabundus documentation, Version 1.0 (published 19-4-2021) - PDF (English).
The Viabundus online map offers a number of tools to explore the pre-modern town and road network of northern Europe, including a basic route calculator and a fair calendar. For more advanced digital analyses, however, it is possible to download the data for further use in research. These are released under the CC BY-SA license, which allows the free use and transformation of the data, as long as the correct attribution is provided. The data are accessible in CSV (for the nodes database) and GML (for the GIS data) formats. For more information about the structure and sources of the provided data, please consult the Documentation files.
As Viabundus is a work in progress, new information will be added continuously, which will be released as new versions of the Viabundus dataset. The map always uses the latest version of the dataset, but for reference purposes, older versions of the dataset will be provided as well in the future. These are also available at Zenodo.
We would welcome any kind of feedback that helps us to improve and expand Viabundus. Did you find bugs or errors? Want to cooperate with us or help us with volunteer work? Have any other questions? Please let us know at: (we're also happy to receive praise).
Blog and Twitter
On the Viabundus blog, we regularly post short stories about the reconstruction of pre-modern roads, various features of the road system and life on the road. Also take a look at the Viabundus Twitter account, theroadsproject.
Viabundus was created by: Bart Holterman (design, programming, research and mapping Lower Saxony, Holstein and other regions); Maria Carina Dengg (research and mapping Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt); Maartje A.B. (research the Netherlands); Kasper H. Andersen (research Denmark); Peter Jensen (mapping Denmark); Friederike Kaplan (general GIS mapping); Alexina Ludorff (database editing, mapping Schleswig, Estonia, Latvia); Vivien Möller (database editing, mapping German coastlines); Simon Harritz (database editing Denmark); Caspar Skaaning Andersen (mapping Denmark); Hjalte Wadskjær Mølgaard (database editing Denmark); Bart Ibelings (research and database editing the Netherlands); Leendert van Prooije (research and database editing the Netherlands); Afra de Mars (database editing, mapping the Netherlands); Nathalie Rudolph (database editing); Friederike Holst (database editing); Annemarie de Vreese (database editing)
Project coordination: Niels Petersen; Angela Ling Huang; Stephan Freund; Pierre Fütterer
In memory of Hugo Weczerka, co-author of Hansische Handelsstraßen, who passed away on 2 April 2021.
How to cite Viabundus
Bart Holterman et al. (ed.), Viabundus Pre-modern Street Map 1.2 (released 21-9-2022), https://www.viabundus.eu.