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De terugkeer van Mercurius. De divergerende keuzes van de zakenelite in Antwerpen en het belang van relatienetwerken na de heropening van de Schelde (1795-1850) = Divergent strategies of the business elite in Antwerp and the importance of networks after the reopening of the river Scheldt (1795-1850)
Greefs, H. (2008). De terugkeer van Mercurius. De divergerende keuzes van de zakenelite in Antwerpen en het belang van relatienetwerken na de heropening van de Schelde (1795-1850) = Divergent strategies of the business elite in Antwerp and the importance of networks after the reopening of the river Scheldt (1795-1850). TSEG 5(2): 55-86
In: Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis. Aksant: Amsterdam. ISSN 1572-1701, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Historical account; Socioeconomic aspects; Belgium, Zeeschelde, Antwerp Harbour [Marine Regions]; Marine

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Abstract
    In this article, it will be argued that networks of relations were of fundamental importance for businessmen during periods of economic transformation and instability. This is exemplified by studying the business elite in the port town of Antwerp after the reopening of the river Scheldt for all maritime imports in 1796 and by comparing the business behaviour of the traditional businessmen and a group of immigrants who moved to Antwerp shortly after the reopening of the harbour. Differences in professional background, business experience and webs of relations of the immigrants and the local business people, will clarify why immigrants dominated maritime trade and Antwerpenaren concentrated on the local business sectors. This research can offer a contribution to debates about changes in the composition of business elites and reactions of ‘old’ and ‘new’ elites during key moments in the history of port towns.

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