Financial markets in the Netherlands - statistics & facts

The Netherlands played a crucial role in the development of modern financial markets. The Dutch East India Company is considered the first joint stock company, through how they pooled funds from private investors to spread both the cost and risk associated with long sea voyages. That way, should the voyage fail, each investor would only take a small loss – rather than the Dutch state taking a large loss. In return, each investor received a share of future profits. The success of this model strongly contributed to the Netherlands becoming a leading financial power by the mid-17th century. As of 2020, the Dutch remain one of the twenty largest economies worldwide by GDP, despite the Netherlands’ population being a relatively small 17 million inhabitants.

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange was founded in 1602 by the Dutch East India Company to handle the company’s printed stocks and bonds. What differentiated the Dutch East India Company from similar contemporaneous ventures (such as the British East India Company) was not the mutualization of risk among multiple investors, but how investors could sell their share in the company to other investors. This created a secondary market for the resale of company securities, leading to the formation of what is considered the world’s first recognizably ‘modern’ stock exchange. To this day the Amsterdam Stock Exchange plays an important role in global markets, with it being one of the main constituents of Europe’s largest stock exchange, the Euronext. At the end of 2020, Amsterdam accounted for just over one quarter of the Euronext’s total market capitalization - just under half that of Paris, but much higher than the markets in Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon and Oslo. At this time, the average daily turnover of the Euronext Amsterdam was just under three billion euros.

The Dutch derivatives market

In addition to Dutch East India company stocks, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was also one of the first places in the world where traders openly speculated on commodities. This tradition continues, with around 3.5 billion euros of structured derivatives products traded on the Euronext Amsterdam in 2020. On top of this, the Netherlands is the eleventh largest market in the world for over-the-counter (OTC) interest rate derivatives, which are derivatives traded outside a regulated stock exchange. However, it is predicted that the Netherlands will strongly benefit from the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Until such time as the UK and EU reach agreement over the regulation of financial markets, analysts expect significant levels of trade in both derivatives and equities to move from London to Amsterdam, owing to the Netherlands’ market friendly regulatory framework, widespread use of English and advanced infrastructure. Despite this, it may be the case that Frankfurt and Paris also share in the benefits from financial services leaving London, leading to a more fragmented financial landscape in the post-Brexit EU.


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