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The Changing Geography of Demand for Dutch Maritime Transport in the Eighteenth Century

Werner F. Y. Scheltjens
Histoire & Mesure
Vol. 27, No. 2, VARIA (2012), pp. 3-47
Published by: EHESS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24566976
Page Count: 45
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The Changing Geography of Demand for Dutch Maritime Transport in the Eighteenth Century
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Abstract

This paper studies the relationship between shipping, merchant business and product supply and demand from an economic-geographical perspective. The case study of grain transportation in the eighteenth century shows that it is established that structural changes in supply and demand led to the emergence of new transportation routes, provoking a shift from a bilateral trade pattern to a diversified pattern involving many locations, none of which were strictly dominant. An attempt is made to explain the effects of these changes on the structure of the Dutch maritime transport sector. Three spatial developments are singled out: (1) a movement from the Dutch North-Western coastline further inland to communities in Southern Frisia, (2) a shift in the organisation of maritime transport from the demand side (primarily Amsterdam) to the supply side of business (the Baltic) and (3) integration of shipping communities located in the Province of Groningen into the Dutch commercial system. Cet article étudie les relations entre la demande et les évolutions du transport maritime, du commerce et de l'approvisionnement dans une perspective économique et géographique. À partir d'une étude de cas, celle du transport du grain au XVIIIe siècle, il montre que les changements structurels de l'offre et de la demande ont contribué à l'émergence de nouvelles voies de transport, provoquant le passage d'un modèle du commerce bilatéral à un modèle plus diversifié. Ces changements ont trois effets principaux sur la structure du transport maritime néerlandais : un déplacement du centre de gravité du littoral du Nord-Ouest des Pays-Bas vers le sud de la Frise; un transport maritime de moins en moins organisé en fonction de la demande (principalement Amsterdam) mais de plus en plus en fonction de l'offre essentiellement en provenance de la Baltique; enfin, l'intégration des sociétés de transport de la province de Groningue au système commercial national.

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