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Transit Trade

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Chapter Summary

The new trade and customs policy that had been developed after 1749 focused strongly on the possible transit and transport functions of the well-situated Austrian Netherlands. Transited goods are goods which were not consumed or processed on domestic territory, but that travelled immediately to neighbouring areas. The eighteenth-century sources show that the Habsburg government devoted meticulous care to the development of this transport and transit policy. The author retrieves clear indications about the importance that the rulers attached to transforming the Austrian Netherlands into a genuine transit hub or a crossroad within Western Europe and its international trade network. Therefore, transit trade remains only a modest success story that was strongly boosted by the diplomatic circumstances of the era. It should thus not come as a surprise that one has to wait until the nineteenth century to witness the birth of a thriving services industry in the Southern Netherlands.

Keywords: Austrian Netherlands; Habsburg government; international trade network; transit trade; transport policy



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