Amsterdam, capital of sustainable capitalism?

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL December 30, 2021

Amsterdam. Photo by Massimo Catarinella – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Four worthwhile facts about Amsterdam as 2021 closes itself out:

** it has a cap on bonuses of 20 per cent of an individual’s salary

** it saw no increase in millionaire bankers between 2015 and 2019

** After Brexit, which weakened the City of London, Amsterdam became Europe’s largest share-trading centre in 2021

** Amsterdam’s success is a throwback to an earlier age of heady capitalist innovation

Its egalitarian bent is a good reason to cheer on Amsterdam’s success as a European financial leader. And if it does pull ahead of other competitors, Amsterdam’s history will fit it for the task, as Lionel Laurent recently pointed out on Bloomberg (paywall). Noting the city’s “historical significance for global capitalism”, he pointed out that “it created the stock market, the tulip bubble and a mega-corporation so big it had its own money, army and colony.”

Talk about the “mega-corporation” had me wondering, until I came across a fascinating piece on the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC), or the United East India Company.


Dutch version of the East India Company was ‘the original military-industrial complex’