The industrial revolution and the Netherlands: Why did it not happen?

J. Mokyr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Why was the Netherlands not a leader in the first Industrial Revolution (1760-1830) despite its advanced economy in the eighteenth century? This paper argues that the Industrial Revolution in its early stages required a close cooperation between knowledge of nature and its application to technology. The closeness of natural philosophers, engineers, and entrepreneurs was a key to success in Britain. In the Netherlands, a combination of cultural relics from the Golden Age and unfortunate political events after 1780 combined to delay the technological development. As a small, open economy, the country eventually overcame its obstacles and joined modern western industrial progress after 1860.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-520
Number of pages18
JournalDe Economist
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Economic history
  • Industrial revolution
  • Technological progress


Dive into the research topics of 'The industrial revolution and the Netherlands: Why did it not happen?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this