Records show that Van derAa, born in Leyden in 1659, was apprenticed to a bookseller at the age of nine. He started his own business as a book publisher by the time he was twenty three. During the following fifty years he published an enormous amount of material including atlases and illustrated works in every shape and size. Two of these works consisted of no less than 27 and 28 volumes containing over 3,000 maps and plates. Most of the information on his maps were not original however they are often very decorative and very collectable.