Financing Germany: Amsterdam’s role as an international financial centre, 1914-31

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After Germany’s defeat in 1918 by the Entente, the economic prospects of the country were dire. High in ation, political turmoil, famine, the loss of signi cant areas of high industrial and agricultural importance, and the prospect of punitive damages to be paid to the victors - the height of which were being discussed at Versailles - weakened the German economy. To the Netherlands, the German economic di culties threatened to have disastrous consequences. Since the start of industrialization in both countries during the 1860s they had become economically dependent upon one another. e Ruhr area in Germany - near the Rhine, close to the border with the Netherlands - had by the start of the war become Europe’s most important industrial region.1 For the transportation of the raw materials it needed and the products it exported, it relied on shipping along the Rhine and railroad transportation. In the Netherlands, the transport sector - sea shipping, Rhine shipping, railroad tra c, transhipment and related activities in the Dutch ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam - relied on the Ruhr industry. e densely populated Ruhr also needed to import foodstu s, and a large portion of Dutch exports were shipped there. e importance of the Netherlands as a supply route and supplier to the Ruhr is illustrated by the fact that Germany decided to respect Dutch neutrality during the Great War. As the German Chief of General Sta, Helmuth von Moltke, put it as early as 1909: ‘it will be of great importance to have in the Netherlands a country whose neutrality allows us to import and export. It has to remain our windpipe, allowing us to breathe’.2.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConvergence and Divergence of National Financial Systems
Subtitle of host publicationEvidence from the Gold Standards, 1871-1971
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781317315919
ISBN (Print)9781851966486
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Patrice Baubeau and Anders Ögren 2010.

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