Medieval Capital Markets

Markets for renten, State Formation and Private Investment in Holland (1300-1550)


Institutions that allow for the accumulation of capital were as crucial to economic growth throughout history as they are today. But whereas historians often focus on the precursors of modern banking institutions, little is known of any alternatives that may have served similar purposes prior to their rise. This study focuses on the institutional framework of markets for 'renten', a type of long-term debt that enabled economic development in much of Northwest Europe in the late Middle Ages. In the county of Holland, these markets allowed large segments of the public and private sectors to reallocate capital. This study thus uncovers the medieval capital markets in the region that was to become the core of the Dutch Republic.
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Biographical Note

C.J. Zuijderduijn Ph.D. (2007) in History, Utrecht University, is a postdoc researcher at the department of Economic and Social History at Utrecht University. He publishes on the history of capital markets, and the mobility of capital in families and households.

Table of contents

List of Tables
List of Illustrations

Medieval capital markets?
Medieval holland: political economy
Research questions

Chapter 1. Central government
Establishing sovereignty
Administration of justice
Economic policy

Chapter 2. State formation, institutional change and markets for public debt
The limits of comital credit: floating debt
Tapping into rich resources: foreign capital markets and the creation of funded debt
The century of public debt

Chapter 3. Public interest? The institutional framework of markets for public debt
Positive institutions. The organization of funded debt
Positive institutions. The development of personal execution
Negative institutions. Coping with default

Chapter 4. The emergence of markets for public debt
The financial nexus: Dordrecht
The rise of markets for public debt
Geographical diffusion of public debt

Chapter 5. The institutional framework of markets for private debt
Local courts as pivotal points in economic exchange
Public bodies as agents of institutional change
Institutional framework

Chapter 6. The emergence of markets for private debt
Qualitative aspects
Quantitative aspects: renten in Edam and de zeevang
Interest rates

Chapter 7. Medieval capital markets in Northwest Europe
Government funding in Northwest Europe
Markets for public debt in Northwest Europe
Markets for private debt in Northwest Europe
The Italian city states and England



All those interested in economic history, financial history and the history of state formation in the Late Middle Ages.


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