The Rise and Decline of Dutch Technological Leadership (2 Vols)

Technology, Economy and Culture in the Netherlands, 1350-1800


Technological leadership is an important topic in economic history and the history of technology. This book addresses the issue of technological leadership by means of an in-depth study on the Dutch Republic, once described as ‘the first modern economy’. Drawing on extensive research in archives in Europe and a vast amount of printed sources and secondary literature, it provides a wide-ranging overview of Dutch technological leadership in the early modern Europe, it explains whence this leadership came about and why it ended and it explores to what extent the Dutch case illuminates the evolution of technological leadership in general. This book is thus relevant for the study of technological leadership, the development of technology in the early modern period as well as the history of the economic expansion of the Dutch Republic.

E-Book : List price

EUR  €195.00USD  $245.00
Biographical Note
Karel Davids, Ph.D.(1986) in History, University of Leiden, is Professor of Economic and Social History at the VU University Amsterdam. He has published extensively on the history of technology, economic history and maritime history of the Netherlands (including, with Jan Lucassen (ed.), A Miracle Mirrored. The Dutch Republic in European Perspective (Cambridge UP, 1995)) and on various themes in global history.
Review Quotes
"[This] is a major contribution to two fields that, as the author points out, have until now overlapped very little. One is the economic history of the Netherlands during the classic golden age (including the centuries before and after), the other is the economic history of technology. In a dazzling display of scholarship and erudition, Davids provides an amazingly detailed and learned account of the role of technology in the Dutch golden age. The astonishing thing is that he has made a major contribution to the union and not just to the intersection of the two fields. This book will be read by historians of the Dutch golden age who have but little interest in technology, and it will be equally read by historians of technology who work on countries remote from the Netherlands. It is just that good. (…) what you have here is a magisterial, definitive work of scholarship."
- Joel Mokyr, Northwestern University

"Allen an der Geschichte der Niederlande und der Wirtschafts- und Technikgeschichte der Frühen Neuzeit Interessierten müssen Davids differenziert argumentierende Bände empfolen werden."
- Uwe Fraunholz, Vierteljahrgeschichte für Social- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 96 Band, Heft 3 (2009, 415-416 pp.

"... a standard resource for people interested in the history of technology in the Netherlands ..."
- Lissa Roberts, The Low Countries Historical Review (BMGN), vol. 125 (4) 2010, 115-116
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables and Maps


1. The Emergence of the Dutch Republic
2. Perceptions of Leadership
3. Technological Change and Dutch Economic Expansion between c.1350 and 1800
4. The Northern Netherlands as a Recipient of Technical Knowledge between c.1350 and 1800
5. The Northern Netherlands as an Exporter of Technical Knowledge between c.1350 and 1800
6. The Rise of Dutch Technological Leadership
7. The Decline of Dutch Technological Leadership

Sources and Bibliography
All those interested in the history of technology, economic history, the history of the Netherlands and the history of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period.
Index Card
Collection Information