The Economic Miracle — and its Limitations

Part of the European History in Perspective book series (EUROHIP)


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


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  1. 1.
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Copyright information

© J. L. Price 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HullUK

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