Grand plans, the cadastral atlas of Belgium


Used database



January 2018




The atlas by P.C. Popp is a commercialised version of the cadastre which brings together different information about property from large parts of the country. It consists of more than 41 000 pages and over 2 300 maps, where buildings, plots and owners are described separately. The publication is one of a kind. There are no publications that can match Popp’s work in terms of scale, wealth of information and level of detail.

Today researchers are grateful for the opportunity to use this unique reference work. If you are looking for solid information about people, buildings, landscapes, housing, agriculture, industry, spatial planning or local history in 19th-century Belgium, then this is the publication for you.

Although the atlas has long enjoyed fame among historians and geographers, the publication is still largely shrouded in mystery. What motivated the creators is a matter of conjecture. Nor is it known why there are no similar reference works in Belgium and its neighbouring countries.

In addition to the history of the publication’s origins, Grootse Plannen also contains a detailed description of the atlas itself. All 1 735 of the issues published are described individually in the book and (often for the first time) dated. Moreover, Grootse Plannen gives a methodological explanation of house research with the help of Popp’s atlas.

The POPPKAD database, which is managed by the Quetelet Center, also opens up access to the extensive reference work of P.C. Popp.

Would you like to start working with this data yourself? Then be sure to consult the POPPKAD page.

Sven Vrielinck
Amsterdam University Press
164 pages,
ISBN 978 94 6298 785 2
Price: 29,99 €