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The Austrian Netherlands' transit policy and the Port of Ostend: Solving the crisis of the 'Closure of the Scheldt'
Serruys, M.-W. (2008). The Austrian Netherlands' transit policy and the Port of Ostend: Solving the crisis of the 'Closure of the Scheldt', in: Scholl, L.U. et al. (Ed.) Crisis and transition: Maritime sectors in the North Sea region, 1790-1940. 8th North Sea History Conference, Bremerhaven 2005. Deutsche maritime Studien = German maritime studies, 5: pp. 150-170
In: Scholl, L.U.; Williams, D.M. (Ed.) (2008). Crisis and transition: Maritime sectors in the North Sea region, 1790-1940. 8th North Sea History Conference, Bremerhaven 2005. Deutsche maritime Studien = German maritime studies, 5. Hauschild: Bremen. ISBN 978-3-89757-381-9. 240 pp., more
In: Deutsche maritime Studien = German maritime studies. Hauschild: Bremen. ISSN 1860-9899, more

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  • Serruys, M.-W.

Abstract
    The closure of the river Scheldt in 1585, created a crisis for the Southern Netherlands as its major harbour was robbed of its outlet to sea. Military solutions to regain access were attempted, but all failed. Brussels had to find a different solution to this structural crisis. It was decided to create an alternative outlet to the North Sea, bypassing the Dutch. This ‘transit policy’ as it was called, was indeed a structural answer. Its task was to generate a new commercial artery running counter to the country’s geography and thus creating a new urban network. It took some two centuries for the South Netherlanders to achieve this commercial east-west running artery that united their country economically. Customs and transit duties aimed at promoting trade on the east-west artery, combined with measures to curb trade on the north-south axes, played an important role in achieving this. Equally of significances was a tremendous effort in road and canal construction that linked the cities, the provinces and finally the urban networks together.

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