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Maps from outside Germany

Shortcuts to Aral sectional maps from Germany, Aral atlases and Scenic Maps (Freizeitkarten)

At its peak, Aral maintained service station chains in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Eastern France and Northern Italy, as well as a single station in Greece to protect its trademark. The Italian chain was the first to go, sold to Aral's partner (and 30% shareholder) Mobil. The small French chain soon followed, being sold to Total. In the late 1980s, the Dutch chain was swapped for Mobil's Belgian sites, and a few years later the Belgian chain was sold to Q8. Switzerland survived until 2000, when it was sold to local firm Migrol. However in the meantime, Aral had been building small chains in the newly liberated economies of Eastern Europe, including Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Hungary. However with the BP takeover in 2001, the Polish and Austrian chains were switched to the BP brand, and the Slovakian and Hungarian ones sold to Austria's OMV, which later added the Czech chain in 2005. This leaves the Aral name in use in just Germany and Luxembourg.

Although most Aral maps from outside Germany initially matched the German Busche maps (below left), this local production from Aral's newly established Italian subsidiary was an exception. This was a high quality map by Hallwag covering Northern Italy and Switzerland at the scale of 1:600,000; the front cover explains that it was given free to members of the Automobile Club of Milan in 1964 (although the map is dated 1963/IV). The rear cover carried an advert for Aral fuels; its motor oils were advertised on a large panel inside.

1963 Aral map of Northern Italy for ACM members Rear advert from 1963 Aral map of Northern Italy for ACM members
ca1963 Aral map of Switzerland A typical dark blue Aral map of Switzerland from the early 1960s

Aral's recent sets have included a number of maps of countries where Aral has never had a retail presence, including Britain, Spain and Southern Scandinavia (all in the 97-98 set). Other titles have included Europe, France, Italy, Czech Republic/Slovakia/Hungary (97-98), and Poland with Kaliningrad (97-98). The 97-98 set had 15 as opposed to 14 maps, with Germany covered on 4 double sided sheets; next year Germany was on 8 sheets with town plans on the reverse.
By 2013, the set contained only maps of Benelux, France, Italy and Austria/Switzerland in addition to the German titles.

1997 Aral map of South Scandinavia

2000-1 Aral map of Britain

A 1997 South Scandinavia map and a 2000 British Isles - both outside Aral's marketing territory.

As of 2012, Busche continues to sell some non-German maps in Aral card covers. As well as those in the boxed set listed above, they include Denmark (shown left), Poland (with Kaliningrad) and Czech Republic/Slovakia/Hungary on a combined map. The series also includes separate maps for Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland: the combined titles do not appear to be sold in card covers, although the major countries are available. Other titles, including both those shown above right, have now been discontinued.

Recent Aral maps can be misleading to date; those in the 2013 box (which was on sale in mid-2012) carry no copyright date, but a code of a form ITAL/20BL120->2016 (taken from the Italian map). As with Mairs maps, the year quoted is the latest for which the map may still be sold, not the year of its creation.

2012 Aral map of Denmark
1970 Aral map of Netherlands The 1970 Aral map of the Netherlands

Aral has also produced maps that are externally similar to its domestic series for sale at service stations in some of the other countries where it was active.
Aral's Austrian subsidiary issued maps produced by Ed. Hölzel of Vienna for free distribution to customers, at least in even years, as well as selling road atlases of Austria and town plans.

Aral's Eastern European operations started enthusiastically selling maps and atlases: this 1998 map of Poland (below left) was locally produced by Daunpol and printed the 50 Aral locations on the inside of the card cover attached to a stock map at 1:750,000.

1998 Aral map of Austria
1998 Aral map of Poland

The 2000 map of Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, marked Aral stations on an outline plan on the rear cover. As there were no stations in the Balkans, none can be shown on this Czech Aral map of the region, created by Mairs (GeoMap). Czech & Slovak Aral stations sold a wide range of Aral branded maps, city plans and atlases.

2000 Aral street plan of Bratislava 2001 Czech Aral map of Balkan States

Aral has also produced a map of the USA for sale domestically, with Busche and Canada's MapArt collaborating on the design.

Top of PageNo maps are known for other predecessors of Aral, such as Erpag in Switzerland.

Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 1999-2014

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.