The question remains: Why did Louis-Raphaël Bischoffsheim and his associated firm take such a substantial interest in the NCDB? After his departure for Paris he continued to maintain his contacts with Sarphati and to support some of his projects. He had become a shareholder of the Nationale Hypotheekbank and took part in other projects. His close friendship with Sarphati could not have been his sole motivation for taking a substantial equity participation in the NCDB. Indeed, they shared a mutual interest in industrial development. However, on the French side, considerations of international banking strategy were another compelling reason. It explains also the participation of E. Hentsch and A. Pinard in this Dutch venture. The strong economic expansion in France and elsewhere, instigated by Crédit Mobilier, had given rise to a fierce rivalry with older, well established banking houses, foremost the Rothschilds. In this so called banking war, they headed the anti-Péreire movement, which in France ultimately led to the creation of Société Générale.

During the banking boom of the early 1860s the two opposing camps tried to outwit each other in London as well30. The Péreires in cooperation with English merchant banks started the International Financial Society, whilst their rivals the Rothschilds set up the General Credit and Finance Company. In this battle Bischoffsheim, Hentsch and Pinard belonged to the anti-Péreire camp, which explains their involvement in the creation of the Société Générale and the General Credit and Finance Company. The participation of these three Parisian bankers in the NCDB must be placed in this context.

An additional factor was Péreire s involvement in the short lived Algemeene Maatschappij voor Handel en Nijverheid (1863), which brought together important French and Belgian bankers including Isaac Péreire. This made it more obvious that the three were willing to start a new bank in Amsterdam. It is not clear whether Sarphati was fully aware of the underlying aspirations and motives of his partners from Paris. What counted for Sarphati was that he was now able to raise the capital to realise his long standing ambition, a bank for industrial development. The dual origins of NCDB s shareholders go a long way to explain its later development into the French bank, with, as the apotheosis, the creation of Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas.

The developments between 1863 and 1872

For a description of developments during the nearly ten years of the NCDB s existence, the only sources available are the published annual reports and some announcements in the financial press31. As far as the authors know, there are no other records left, neither in archives in the Netherlands, nor with BNP Paribas in Paris. Only a global reconstruction of

30. P.A. Geljon, Geschiedenis, volume III, pp. 103-5 ; Société Générale 1864-1964, pp. 24-5 ; P.L. Cottrell, « Anglo-French Cooperation 1850-1880 », The Journal of European Economic History, vol. 3, nr.1, Spring 1974, p. 77 ; P.L. Cottrell, Investment banking in England 1856-1881, (New York-London), 1985, pp. 104-7 ; P. Martin-Acena. Cooperation and Competition in European Banking 1850-1914 , Bankhistorisches Archiv, Beiheft 26, 1994 ; N. Ferguson, The House of Rothschild II, The World s Banker 1849-1999, (New York, 1998), pp. 56-65 et 82-9.

31. Copies of the annual reports can be found at the Dutch National Archives, The Hague, ADNB inv. Nr 9217.

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