Imagine a world without GPS, without satellite images, even without radios or telephones, but with modern compasses, sturdy steam ships and a keen sense of adventure. This is what the world looked like in the second half of the nineteenth century. Soon, people all over the world gave in to temptation and ventured out to explore previously unknown lands. Their discoveries were an immense boost for the field of geography and the organization of its scientific community.  

This web exposition aims to illustrate these "Geographical Initiatives" and the way they came about in Antwerp. It features the most prominent figures and objects of the first Congrès international des Sciences géographiques, cosmographiques et commerciales (1871) and the ensuing Royal Antwerp Geographical Society, (in Dutch ‘Koninklijk Aardrijkskundig Genootschap van Antwerpen’ or simply ‘KAGA’.)

This website is a collaboration between the Special Collections department of the University Library of Antwerp and the Antwerp City Archives (FelixArchief), and was created on the occasion of the 26th International Conference on the History of Cartography (ICHC 2015).

For comments or questions, please contact Tom.Deneire@uantwerpen.be or stadsarchief@stad.antwerpen.be.