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

J. Mokyr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)503-520
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 15 2000


  • Economic history
  • Industrial revolution
  • Technological progress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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