markets, among them colonial banks such as Nederlandsch-Indische Handelsbank (Netherlands Indies Commercial Bank) which became highly active in securities issuance, Nederlandsch-Indische Escompto Maatschappij (Netherlands Indies Discount Company) and the Nederlandsche Bank voor Zuid-Afrika (Netherlands Bank for South Africa).

Among the early repercussions of the First World War was the closure of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange from July 1914 to February 1915. This hiatus in the market led Nederlandsche Bank to put in place, in tandem with other institutions, new mechanisms for settling stock transactions. At the same time, the Ministry of Finance obtained special powers which meant that its approval had to be obtained for most stock exchange deals. Meanwhile a number of foreign governments suspended repayments on current bonds and, several years later, the newly constituted Soviet Union repudiated outstanding debts, dealing a severe blow to Dutch investors.

The neutral status of the Netherlands during the First World War, coupled with the powers conferred on the Dutch government to supervise stock exchange listings and new share issues, made it virtually impossible to do any deals involving countries that were at war. Only towards the end of 1917 was a French government loan introduced, followed by a reconstruction loan, both managed by the Amsterdam branch of Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas.

After the war, it would take several years before international securities activity took off again. However, Amsterdam participated in a number of stabilisation loans issued by various countries to accompany their reconstruction policies. Currency stabilisation, a consequence of the signing of the Dawes Plan in 1924 and the restoration of the gold standard, as international trade began to recover, marked the start of a flourishing period for the Amsterdam stock market. The volume of international loan deals handled in Amsterdam amounted to between 300 and 400 million guilders per year during the 1924- 1930 period. Both public entities and private sector organisations issued debt paper in the Netherlands, German industrial concerns August Thyssen and Siemens & Halske being the first companies to issue dollar-denominated bonds on the Dutch market. The numerous bonds issued by borrowers in foreign countries including Belgium, Denmark, Bulgaria, Poland, Uruguay and Peru were denominated variously in US dollars, sterling, German marks or guilders.

The 1930 economic crisis fundamentally altered the situation, as companies ceased issuing debt paper. Moreover, when the guilder, which was one of the last gold-convertible curren- cies in the world, came under attack from speculators, the Dutch authorities placed a limit on the volume of international deals handled in Amsterdam. As war loomed in August 1939, Mendelssohn & Co., having experienced enormous difficulties in placing two French State bonds totalling 125 million guilders, was forced into bankruptcy. Soon afterwards the Second World War broke out, putting a stop to international dealings on the Dutch capital market.

During the First World War and the years immediately following the end of the conflict, the Dutch domestic market was highly active. The State, which was in need of substantial

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