On February 11th, 2014, Christiaan Bochove, assistant professor at Radboud University Nijmegen, will give a lecture on Integrating markets in the Dutch Republic.
During the early modern period goods, labor, and capital moved freely from one part of the Dutch Republic to the other. While this likely contributed to the Republic’s remarkable long-term economic development, little is actually known about the mechanisms that made this integration possible. This paper addresses one mechanism by analyzing how financial flows – more particularly: transferring money and collecting wage, interest, and dividend payments – between the various parts of the Republic were organized. It will be argued that in addition to organizing such flows “on paper” there existed a broad and previously unknown system of skippers, wagon drivers, and messengers for arranging cash transactions. The services of these unlikely intermediaries contributed to the integration of (financial) markets in the Republic by enabling people to arrange transactions with small towns and of small amounts. More generally, these intermediaries also reduced the scale and necessity for a more formalized banking sector to emerge.