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Launch: Game of the Golden Age

Historians Oscar Gelderblom and Joost Jonker launch the English version of their Game of the Golden Age on Thursday, 6 June 2013 at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW). The Game of the Golden Age is a ‘serious game’ that was developed to bring economic historical research into the palm of the layman’s hand.



The game revolves around Hans Thijs, a merchant in Amsterdam in the seventeenth-century. The goal of the game is to accumulate as much wealth as possible by investing in bulk goods, luxury goods, property or bonds, while dealing with seventeenth-century risks such as the plague, hijacked VOC-ships and burnt down warehouses.
The Game of the Golden Age can be downloaded for iPhone, iPod and iPad for free from the AppStore here. You can choose your preferred language (English or Dutch) once the game is downloaded. Accompanying educational material for Dutch high school students has been developed by De Praktijk, and can be downloaded on their website for free as well.


The Launch: Play Time

The launch will be on the 6th of June. Participants are invited to try to play the game beforehand so that they can share their impressions and experiences with the researchers, as well as their (critical) comments. Does the game work? How can researchers distribute scientific knowledge to a broader audience, cooperate with private partners, and adapt research to fit the needs of educational material? Is this a good way to ‘utilise knowledge’ (a concept highly valued by Dutch science funding organizations)? How could these initiatives add to researchers’ own understanding of their scientific research?



The Game of the Golden Age is a so-called ‘serious game’, based on historical research into financial markets in the Low Countries around 1600. The idea for the game was developed as part of the Akademische Jaarprijs, a competition with a prize of 100.000 euro that stimulates researchers to make their research accessible to the general public. Although The Game of the Golden Age did not win this award, it did receive support and a grant from Utrecht University to have the game developed by the game designer Monkeybizniz. NIAS has provided support to create an English version of the game. 


About Oscar Gelderblom and Joost Jonker

Oscar Gelderblom is Associate Professor of Economic History at Utrecht University and member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science (KNAW). Joost Jonker is NEHA Professor of Business History at the University of Amsterdam and Associate Professor of Economic History at Utrecht University. Oscar Gelderblom and Joost Jonker are currently at NIAS to write a book together on the evolution of financial markets in pre-industrial Europe.