Research School for Economic and Social History


30 June 2023
13:00 - 17:00
University of Antwerp, Brantijser building, Sint-Jacobsmarkt 13, Antwerp, room s.KS.203

Workshop ‘Pioneers of Capitalism in the Low Countries’

On 30 June 2023, the Center for Urban History of the University of Antwerp and the Antwerp Interdisciplinary Platform for Research into Inequality (AIPRIL), in cooperation with the N.W. Posthumus Institute, will host a workshop that is dedicated to the brand new book by Maarten Prak and Jan Luiten van Zanden, published in 2022 under the title Pioneers of Capitalism: The Netherlands, 1000-1800.

To frame the long-term socioeconomic history of the Northern Netherlands, the book employs the terminology of ‘varieties of capitalism’, which revolves around the idea that the balance between market and state differs in time and space. While capitalism in the colonies remained extractive, the intervention of the state in the economy fostered the rise of a resilient and inclusive market economy within the Netherlands. Assessing the societal impact of the idiosyncratic development of Dutch capitalism, Prak and Van Zanden refer to a group of Flemish historians who recently drew attention to the paradoxical confluence of rising middle classes and increasing social inequality that went hand in hand with economic growth in the Low Countries.

This workshop reflects on the ‘varieties of capitalism’ and ‘Low Countries paradox’ concepts and assesses their strengths and limitations for future research into the socioeconomic history of both the Northern and Southern Netherlands. Please register prior to the event by e-mail with PhD candidate Bas Spliet at the University of Antwerp.