Contact address | Imprint

Cartographica Helvetica


Jean Dubas and Hans-Uli Feldmann:

The first map of the canton of Fribourg by Wilhelm Techtermann, 1578

Cartographica Helvetica 10 (1994) 33–40


Until the middle of the 16th century the western regions of Switzerland with the canton of Fribourg were not always shown on maps. In 1577 Thomas Schoepf published a map of the whole canton of Berne including the neighbouring Fribourg.

As a medical doctor, Schoepf was not allowed to leave the town of Berne because of a severe plague epidemic. He needed therefore many trustworthy people to supply him with the information necessary to complete such an ambitious mapping project on such a large scale. The map was finally engraved in copper and printed in 18 sheets.

Schoepf received the required topographic details of today's canton of Fribourg most probably from Wilhelm Techtermann (1551–1618), who worked in Fribourg for 42 years as a state employee in numerous positions, including state chancellor. Techtermann, himself an excellent draftsman, designed a map of the entire canton of Fribourg in 1578 using Schoepf's map as base. It is a colored drawing on paper for which he made a large wooden frame which he then decorated himself with the coats of arms of the different counties.

The map by Techtermann is drawn at a similar scale to the one published by Schoepf, but it shows quite a few changes in the French and German nomenclature, some corrections in the hydrology and much more accurate representations of the villages and towns.

Bibliographic note

  • Article translated from French by Hugo Raetzo, Marly.
  • Also published as: Typvs Agri Fribvrgensis: Die erste Karte des Kantons Freiburg von Wilhelm Techtermann 1578 = La première carte du canton de Fribourg de Guillaume Techtermann 1578. Murten, 1994. (Cartographica Helvetica Sonderheft 7).

© 1990–2022 Cartographica Helvetica (Imprint)

Logo Valid HTML 4.01 Logo Valid CSS