Van formeel vrij tot tolvrij - De visies op de Scheldevaart en de positie van Antwerpen als havenstad binnen de schoot van de Antwerpse Kamer van Koophandel, 1795-1863 | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 123, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


In 1795 the river Scheldt was formally reopened to all maritime imports, but not until 1863 was there stable duty-free access to the sea. During this period of economic transformation and political instability, the Antwerp Chamber of Commerce played a key role in bringing together the business elite and advising the authorities on economic policy. The Chamber not only struggled for a (duty)-free access to the sea, as in the past, but strongly stressed the importance of free and easy access to the hinterland, especially to the German states. It argued that maritime and transit trade could only be integrated in a context of free trade. The Chamber served the business interests of a small group of predominantly foreign merchants wich were often blocked by the protectionist measures of the central authorities, the interest of industrialists and other port towns in the North Sea range. The discourse of the Chamber was oriented towards the future; the traditional story of the closure of the Scheldt was used only to reinforce its arguments.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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