Born in Leyden, Pieter (1659-1733) was apprenticed to a bookseller at the age of nine and started his own in business as a book publisher by the time he was twenty-three. As a publisher his output was varied and prolific with his main interest in the production of maps and atlases.
His publications include an Atlas Nouveau completed in about 1710, and the Galerie Agreable du Monde, consisting of 66 parts in 27 volumes, completed in 1729. The latter contains over 3,000 maps. Parts 61—63 deal solely with Africa.
Van Der Aa was a very successful merchant, however as a geographer, he was poorly regarded. His maps are collected predominately because of their decorative qualities, reflecting his eye for that which was salable. Many of his maps were engraved by well-known Dutch engravers such as Luiken, Goeree and Stoopendael, and are fine examples of early eighteenth-century map productions.