Advertisement

The Economic Miracle — and its Limitations

Chapter
  • 34 Downloads
Part of the European History in Perspective book series (EUROHIP)

Abstract

The rise of the Dutch Republic to economic dominance in Europe was astonishingly rapid; its decline a slower, less obvious, though perhaps equally inexorable process. The spectacular growth of the Dutch economy helps to explain why these few provinces in the northern Netherlands could establish their independence against the might of Spain; and this success provided the financial strength that was necessary to sustain the Republic’s position as a major power throughout the seventeenth century. Even the cultural triumphs of this period were, if not caused, then shaped by this prosperity and the social changes which came with it. However, if the seventeenth century witnessed the heights of Dutch success, the stagnation and economic contraction of the last decades of the century heralded the beginnings of decline. Thus the economic history of the seventeenth century is less of a story of unblemished success than used to be thought; in consequence it requires a discussion not only of the causes and nature of Dutch success but also of the later contraction, and of the possible links between the two processes.1

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Indispensable to any discussion of the Dutch economy in this period is now Jan de Vries and Ad van der Woude, The First Modern Economy. Success, Failure, and Perseverance of the Dutch Economy, 1500–1815 (Cambridge, 1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 4.
    J.I. Israel, Dutch Primacy in World Trade (Oxford, 1989), pp. 379 ff. It should be noted that Israel is concerned primarily with trade, not the economy as a whole.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    J. Bieleman, Boeren op het Drentse zand (Wageningen, 1987), esp. pp. 665–71, shows how profoundly the Amsterdam market affected the agrarian economy of this relatively poor region.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    J.L. van Zanden: The Rise and Decline of Holland’s Economy. Merchant Capitalism and the Labour Market (1993), pp. 30–1.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Jan De Vries, The Dutch Rural Economy in the Golden Age,1500–1700 ( New Haven, CT, 1974 ).Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Cf. E.A. Wrigley, Continuity, Chance and Change: the Character of the Industrial Revolution in England (Cambridge, 1988 ), p. 49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 13.
    The classic work on this system is T.P. van der Kooy, Hollands stapelmarkt en haar vernal (Amsterdam, 1931).Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    The French minister Colbert estimated the Dutch merchant fleet at 20 000 ships: J.L. Price, Culture and Society in the Dutch Republic during the Seventeenth Century (London, 1974 ), p. 43.Google Scholar
  9. 16.
    R.A. Stradling, The Armada of Flanders: Spanish Maritime Policy and European War,1568–1668 (Cambridge, 1992 );CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 16.
    R. Baetens, The organization and effects of Flemish privateering in the seventeenth century’, Acta Historiae Neerlandicae, 9 (1976), 48–75;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 16.
    but see also J.R. Bruijn, ‘Dutch privateering during the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars’, The Low Countries History Yearbook 1978/ Acta Historiae Neerlandicae, 11 (1978), 79–93.Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    Cf. Jan de Vries, Barges and Capitalism. Passenger Transportation in the Dutch Economy (1632–1839) (Wageningen, 1978 ), pp. 19, 31–2;Google Scholar
  13. 17.
    on economic conflict between the towns of North Holland, particularly centring on transport by water, see Diederik Aten, Als het gewelt comt…’. Politiek en economie in Holland benoorden het If, 1500–1800 (Hilversum, 1995).Google Scholar
  14. 18.
    A.M. van der Woude, Het Noorderkwartier (Wageningen, 1972), pp. 50–5.Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    See for the effects on a village in the Schermereiland, A. Th. Van Deursen, Een dorp in de polder. Graft in de zeventiende eeuw (Amsterdam, 1994 ), pp. 52–5.Google Scholar
  16. 21.
    V. Barbour, Capitalism in Amsterdam (Baltimore, MD, 1950) is still the classic study.Google Scholar
  17. 22.
    The classic contemporary statement of this resentment was Thomas Mun, England’s Treasure by Forraign Trade (Oxford, 1959), pp. 74–81 (first published in 1664).Google Scholar
  18. 23.
    See Jan de Vries, The Economy of Europe in an Age of Crisis (Cambridge, 1976), ch. 1.Google Scholar
  19. 24.
    C.M. Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution (London, 1976), pp. 231–3.Google Scholar
  20. 25.
    Cf. G. Parker, ‘War and Economic Change: the Economic Costs of the Dutch Revolt’, in Spain and the Netherlands (London, 1979 ), pp. 178–203.Google Scholar
  21. 27.
    J. Lucassen, Naar de kusten van de Noordzee. Trekarbeid in Europees perspektief 1600–1900 (Gouda, 1984); see also his, ‘The North Sea: a crossroads for migrants?’, in The North Sea and Culture (1550–1800), ed. Juliette Roding and Lex Heerma van Voss (Hilversum, 1996 ), pp. 168–84.Google Scholar
  22. Its importance has been stressed in numerous publications by J. Briels, including De Zuid-Nederlandse immigratie 1572–1630 (Haarlem, 1978) and Zuid-Nederlanders in de Republiek 1572–1630. Een demografische en cultuurhistorische studie (Sint Niklaas, 1985).Google Scholar
  23. 29.
    Lotte C. van de Pol, The lure of the big city. Female migration to Amsterdam’, in Women of the Golden Age, ed. Els Kloek, Nicole Teeuwen and Marijke Huisman (Hilversum, 1994 ), pp. 73–81.Google Scholar
  24. 30.
    See S. Hart, ‘Onderzoek naar de samenstelling van de bevolking van Amsterdam in de 17e en 18e eeuw, op grond van gegevens over migratie, huwelijk, beroep en alfabetisme’, in Geschrift en getal (Dordrecht, 1976), pp. 115–81.Google Scholar
  25. 31.
    The classic survey is still C.R. Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire (London, 1965 ).Google Scholar
  26. 33.
    J.M. Postma, The Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade 1600–1815 (Cambridge, 1990 ).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 34.
    See F. Braudel, Civilisation matérielle, économie et civilisation, 15e-18e siècle (Paris, 1979), vol. 3, pp. 118–29, 145–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J. L. Price 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HullUK

Personalised recommendations