Stay of execution: Institutions and insolvency legislation in Amsterdam, 1578-1700

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Stay of Execution. Institutions and Insolvency Legislation in Amsterdam, 1578-1700
Maurits den Hollander

This dissertation analyses how law and legal practices on the topic of insolvency influenced the lives and work of Amsterdam citizens between 1578 and 1700. In the decades after its introduction in 1643, Amsterdam’s specialized court for insolvency cases, the Desolate Boedelskamer, integrated existing legal practices into a new, transparent and professional procedure. The institution effectively combined public and private order solutions for financial dispute resolution between both citizens and foreigners. Through a differentiated treatment of insolvencies in which a composition or akkoord could be reached, and those in which the only viable option formed an application for the benefice of cessio bonorum, international merchants as well as citizens from the broad middle classes were empowered to revive their businesses and once more contribute to the civic community. Through its tailor-made solutions for the problem of insolvency, the Amsterdam Desolate Boedelskamer delivered a vital contribution to the restoration of inter-personal trust and the proliferation of credit even beyond the zenith of the seventeenth-century ‘golden age’.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • De ruysscher, Dave, Promotor
  • Lesaffer, Randall, Promotor
Award date22 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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