This map is made by Thomas Witteroos in 1568 and depicts a river island in the Betuwe, in the center of the Netherlands.

the Maneswaard in 1568, GA 0012: 1413-0001

At the bottom Witteroos draws the Rhine flowing from left to right, which means that the North is below. The bigger curve is an older meander of the same Rhine: the Rhine had it cut off after a winter with high water level: during the winter the whole area gets flooded, and in the spring, when the water lowers, the river cuts off some meanders in search of the most efficient route. This is a normal and natural process for meandering rivers. What is left is an oxbow lake and a river island. The central part of The Netherlands is full of oxbow lakes and river islands.

This river island is part of the Municipality of Wageningen and it is the only part of Wageningen at the southern side of the Rhine. And this map shows exactly why: when drawing the borders of the municipalities, the Maneswaard laid at the nothern side within this meander of the Rhine. After a flood it became an island and nowadays it is just a piece of land at the other side of the Rhine. Oxbow lakes tend to draw up and that is exactly what happened here as well.

Witteroos draws one farm on the island

Maneswaard in 2018 bron: Topotijdreis

The second map is the same area, also with the North below. With a blue line I have indicated the oxbow lake that has dried up. This farm is still the only building there, but it evolved into a brick oven. The oxbow lake has disappeared. The small village just outside the island in the top right corner called Hoesden has grown into the village Opheusden. The river island called Maneswaard is more water than land: large areas have been excavated in search for building sand. The Dutch are proud of their man made land, but along the rivers we mainly eat it away.

Location of the map in The Netherlands: