1568: The Maneswaard by Thomas Witteroos
This map is made by Thomas Witteroos in 1568 and depicts the river island Maneswaard in the Rhine opposite of Wageningen. At the bottom the Rhine is 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 on the south bank of the Rhine. And this map shows exactly why: when drawing the borders of the municipalities, the Maneswaard laid at the nothern side within an inside bend meander of the Rhine. But when the Rhine had cut it off, it became an island and nowadays it is just a piece of land at the other side of the Rhine. Oxbow lakes tend to dry up and that is exactly what happened here as well. This meandering process and the formation of oxbow islands caused long and serious disputes about the ownership of the land.
Witteroos depicts both arms of the Rhine even wide, but the ships use the new shortcut. The old curve is still full of water, although he depicts sand in the inner bends: it is drying up.
Witteroos draws one farm on the island and various agricultural fields.
1614: The Essenveltswaard by Bernard Kempinck
In 1614 Bernard Kempinck made a map of the other flood plain of Wageningen. North is left. In the center you see the Rhine flowing from top to bottom. On the right the south bank, on the left the floodplain that he calls the Essenveltswaard. Nowadays we call it the Triangel.
1668: The map of Isaac van Geelkercken
This map from 1668 shows both river islands. The map is made by Isaac van Geelkercken, one of the three sons of Nicolaes van Geelkercken, who all three stepped into their father’s footsteps and made beautiful maps. It is 60 * 142 cm and made on sheets of paper that have been glued together.
The north is below. Just outside the map Wageningen is at the bottom left. The Rhine flows from left to right.
The floodplain on the right is the Maneswaard (see the map of Thomas Witteroos). The other is the Essenveltswaard that we nowadays call the Triangel
2020: The Maneswaard and The Driehoek nowadays
Nowadays in 2021 the Maneswaard is hardly visible. It is more water than land, excavated in search of sand, clay and pebbles. But it it still defines the border of the Municipality of Wageningen. 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.
The Triangel has never been changed.
Location of the maps in The Netherlands: