Investment behaviour, political change and economic growth in the Netherlands, 1780-1920


Industrialization and modern economic growth came comparatively late to the Netherlands. Unlike the political elites of the frontrunners England and Belgium, which pushed for change, those in the Netherlands were supposedly content with the status quo. We explore to what extent this was true by reconstructing the composition of the wealth holdings at death of the Dutch political elite between 1780 and 1920. We analyze the financial results of these investments and we perform an in-depth analysis of investment in agriculture, a sector which changed dramatically during the century under consideration, first through elites resuming active management of their landed estates, then through outside competition forcing change and the adoption of new cultivation methods. The project breaks new ground in two ways. It lays bare the connections between the economic, political, social, and cultural behaviour of Dutch political elites between 1780 and 1920, and it takes the research methodology of Piketty et al. one step further by determining how the size and composition of the political elite’s wealth holdings influenced their political decisions.





Prof. dr. O.C. Gelderblom

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Geesteswetenschappen, Letteren


Dr. P.G. Brusse, Mr. dr. P.J. van Cruijningen, A.H. Machielsen MSc


01/07/2017 tot 30/06/2023