Koepel de Stoop rest on the pillars of the exchange of Hendrick de Keyser

As some of you may know, I am quite busy researching and documenting the financial history of Amsterdam. And just today I stumbled accross an interesting find. It all started with the book `Woordenschat, verklaring van woorden en uitdrukkingen' of Taco de Heer en E. Laurillard, dating back to 1899. This explanatory dictionary, edited by Ewoud Sanders contains all kinds of expressions of the Dutch language. As such it is already one of the treasures of the Dutch language of the 19th century.

My eyes fell on the description of the word 'Paalgebouw'  (litterally: building on Pillars). This nickname was given in Amsterdam to the temporary exchange that could be found on the Dam, between 1836 and 1845. Now what intrigued me is the additional description that I read. It said: 6 of the old Pillars of the Exchange of  Hendrick de Keyer are now supporting a domed roof of the homestead of J.B. Stoop, at Woudenberg (near Utrecht).

So with the help of technology (mostly Google, I must say), I ventured out and discovered that there still is a place called the Stoop Dome ('Koepel van Stoop') near Woudenberg. And with the use of this location in Panoramio, I ended up with the picture below:

Well, look at that, those pillars might be all that's left of the Stock Exchange of Hendrick de Keyser. And while one site claims that this is a myth, the Dutch Monument Register contains a description confirming that these pillars are quite likely to have come from Amsterdam. See also this more detailed article.


Stock Exchange de Keyser: maquette by Capital Amsterdam

Here in Amsterdam we can pride ourselves in having traded the first shares in the world. This occured at the Stock Exchange of Hendrick de Keyser. The exchange was located at the Rokin and built over the water as the picture below demonstrates.

The location of the exchange was quite near the Dam and the Amsterdam Exchange Bank ('Wisselbank). I have made a small picture to outline its location on Google Maps.

Now what's very nice is that last year, Capital Amsterdam took the initiative not only to publish a great commemorative book on Amsterdam (Capital Amsterdam) but also to disclose the maquette that they had built, based on the old records. And I was of course keen to film it (with my camera, so it's not a high tech movie, but it does the trick) with the result below. I hope it helps to give a better impression of the building.


OECD data demonstrate income inequality and support Occupy

When I first read about the Occupy movement I focused primarily on the US situation. I came to understand that indeed in the US, the income inequality is quite considerable, so I could really see where the objections of Occupy Wall Street, and the use of 99% (for the masses) and 1% (for the wealthy) were coming from.

But here in the Netherlands and in Europa, I figured, it would not be the same. We have more social insurances and social support and income inequality is dealt with differently. At least, so I thought, until I came across the OECD report: An Overview of Growing Income, Inequalities in OECD Countries. And I'll put the two foremost important graphs down here, for a quick snapshot.

The first image shows the gradual liberalisation of the markets in the OECD-countries. And it is followed by an outline of the increase (!) in income inequality in that same time-frame.

Of course the OECD goes at length to describe how this mechanism has worked. But if I were to summarize it, I would say: with the liberalization of markets, capital can flow more freely than labour. Thus, those who only have labour to sell, cannot find their optimum earning capacity (due to a restraint in terms of travel etc.) while those who have capital can. And therefore the liberalisation of capital markets (without a similar liberalization of labour markets) will go hand in hand with an increase in income inquality.

And as the neoliberal dogma is indeed the dominant frame of reference in our western societies, it is fair to say that the OECD data prove the Occupy movement to be right in their objection to unlimited capital flows and in their desire to compensate the income inequelity effects of these flows by means of other political measures.