If you’ve ever wondered how Antwerp helped the Dutch economy, then you’ve come to the right place. In the early Middle Ages, Antwerp was a major center of the Dutch economy, serving as both an artistic and commercial center. The city gained economic benefits from its status as a center for art, which became a valuable commodity. The city became a center for diamonds, precious metals, and fine arts.
In 1861, the American Petroleum Company began shipping petroleum to Antwerp. It wasn’t long before automobiles arrived in the city. By the 1920s, it had its first refineries. This industry helped push the luxury Minerva’ motorcars off of the market and into Rolls-Royce’s hands. Other important industries included photographic film, image technologies, and electronic equipment.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Antwerp community enjoyed unprecedented prosperity. The port of the city became a major point of entry for mass Jewish immigration to the United States, and other parts Europe. Many emigrants who wanted to move to Antwerp after the discovery of diamonds in South Africa made it their home. Antwerp was the industrial capital of Europe thanks to its diamond industry and Jewish enterprise.
After the Dutch Revolt, Antwerp was the center of the Protestant faith and a powerful commercial center. The emperor Charles V issued an order of general safety for the Portuguese in Antwerp. This saved the city and allowed for the settlement Marrano merchants who were suspected of aiding in the Reformation. However, the Protestant faith did not endear Antwerp to the Catholic church.
In the fourteenth century, Antwerp grew as a commercial center for the Low Countries, and foreign merchants began to visit the city in search of high-value products. The traditional Flanders cloths started to lose their appeal on most European markets. English cloth became more popular and replaced the raw materials used in Flemish textile productions. English cloth was cheaper and light-weight, and it found a ready outlet in Antwerp’s booming markets.
The Dutch were able to export many goods to Asia and beyond. They even had a printing industry, which remained capitalistic until the seventeenth century. Antwerp was also home to mining. By the eighteenth century, the Netherlands were one of the world’s top mining hubs. The Dutch had been able to export so much gold and silver to other countries.