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Ports et littoraux de l'Europe atlantique

Michel Bochaca
Jean-Luc Sarrazin

Troisième partie. Ports et littoraux de la Flandre et des anciens Pays-Bas

The Lastage : the maritime quarter of late medieval Amsterdam

Jeroen Van der Vliet

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Most historical research on the port of Amsterdam has been focused on the period when the port was at its height during the 17th century, concentrating on its role as the staple market of the Western world. Equally important is how Amsterdam, still a humble village of fishermen and farmers for much of the 13th century, managed to establish itself as the main port of Europe.

The answer to that question can, for a large part at least, be found in the changing economic structure of the County of Holland around 1400. Although the causes lie outside the scope of this article1, it was the loss of arable land caused by floods and rising water levels, the subsequent urbanisation and specialisation of labour in these towns, that made Holland grow more dependent on the import of grain. Most grain was shipped from Germany and the Baltic. Thanks to its position on the edges of the Zuiderzee and in close proximity of the most important rivers that connected the sea with the hinterland—the rivers ...

© Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2007

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