Wantje Fritschy, born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1949. Ph.D. from Leiden University. Professor of the History of Public Finance in the Early Modern Period at VU University Amsterdam.
Fellow (1 September 2010 – 30 June 2011)
PUBLIC FINANCE IN THE DUTCH REPUBLIC IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE
The book I prepared, entitled “The viability of a federal state. Public finance of the Dutch Republic in comparative perspective”, starts from the well-known dictum that ‘finance is the nerve of a state’. It argues that the history of public finance of the Dutch Republic shows that it was not despite its lack of centralization that this small state survived during more than two centuries, and that it was neither due to its lack of centralization that it succumbed in 1795. Its viability – despite a contemporary dominant trend towards centralized national states – is explained by the character of its urbanization rather than by its ‘tax morale’, and its fall by its small size rather than by its federal institutions (‘lessons’ that may be interesting in Europe nowadays). The argument is based on a database publicly accessible at http://www.historici.nl/Onderzoek/Projecten/GewestelijkeFinancien/Verzamelposten and on comparisons with the Venetian Republic, Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire.