Amsterdam, with the advantage of a very favourable geographical position

close to the sea, with the advantage of a hinterland with good access to

the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers, and at the centre of a vast colonial

empire, was at the end of the 17th century and in the early 18th century

the world s largest financial metropolis. Seeing already a decay during the

18th century, the Napoleonic era marked the end of this flourishing period,

enabling London to benefit from Amsterdam s decline. However, during the

second half of the 19th century, the Amsterdam financial markets took off

again and the city became, after the First World War, once more a financial

centre of major importance.

The confidence enjoyed by the guilder resulted in Amsterdam becoming the

settlement centre for a large number of international trade transactions. The

city also attracted large amounts of foreign capital. This enviable position

was further strengthened by the fact that, unlike many other countries,

the Netherlands did not suffer from the banking crises of 1929-1931. Until

the start of the Second World War, Amsterdam remained the number four

financial centre in the world, after London, New York and Paris.

The disastrous consequences of the Second World War, the loss of the vast

Dutch colonial empire and the widespread postwar economic restrictions

damaged Amsterdam s position, but the city nevertheless remains today

one of Europe s major financial centres.