The project investigates two important claims made about the gains of the Dutch economy from slave-based production and commerce in the Atlantic region:
- First, that the Atlantic slave-based commerce played an important role in keeping the Dutch economy afloat in the 18th century.
- Second, that 18th-century Dutch involvement in the Atlantic economy had important long-term effects on the Dutch economic performance in the field of finance, insurance and maritime logistics.
The project therefore examines the direct and indirect, the immediate and long-term economic impact of 18th-century slave-based activities on the Dutch economy. As regards the immediate effects, the project concentrates on estimating the contribution of value added by the slavery-related Atlantic commerce, industry and finance to the Dutch economy in the 18th century. It approaches this contribution on three different levels:
- Project 1 will examine the economic spin-off from the involvement in the slave trade and plantations.
- Project 2 will focus on the involvement in slave-produced commodity trade and processing.
- Project 3, ‘Finance, Insurance and Maritime Logistic’ (by Pepijn Brandon) is devoted to the Dutch role in shipping, finance and insurance related to the Atlantic slave-based economy.
In addition, project 3 and the synthesis will address the possible long-term benefits of 18th-century Dutch involvement in the expanding Atlantic economy, and therefore go beyond the 18th century.