Oscar Gelderblom

The Project

The evolution of financial markets in pre-industrial Europe: A comparative analysis


Dr. Oscar Gelderblom

Utrecht University
Drift 10
3512 BS Utrecht
The Netherlands

Oscar Gelderblom, 36 year-old Dutch citizen, is a historian, and a member of the Economic and Social History group of Utrecht University. He is the project leader for the NWO innovative research grant (VIDI) on the evolution of financial markets in the Dutch Republic, 1500-1800.  He has been a member of The Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2006.

In 2005 Dr. Gelderblom won the Arthur H. Cole Prize for the best article published in the Journal of Economic History 2004, for the joint article: “Completing a Financial Revolution: the Finance of the Dutch East India Trade and the Rise of the Amsterdam Capital Market, 1595-1612.” He gained his PhD in history from Utrecht University in 2000.

Project Description

This project will develop a new analytical framework to explain the evolution of financial markets in pre-industrial Europe. It will establish what kind of financial instruments and intermediaries entrepreneurs used to fund their businesses. A systematic comparison of capital markets in different European cities will show how economic opportunities, migration, legal rules, public finance, and inequality shaped the funding strategies of entrepreneurs before the Industrial Revolution.

The project will analyse the evolution of financial markets in twelve towns in the Low Countries between 1500 and 1800.  Beyond the analysis of financial markets in the Low Countries, the project will also build a European work group that will compare the experience of the Netherlands with the development of public and private markets across Europe. The final result will be a new understanding of the evolution of financial markets in Europe before the Industrial Revolution, to be published as a joint volume.