Financial History Review vol:18 issue:1 pages:91-117
The article aims to present an explanation for the complete absence of public municipal banks in the
Southern Low Countries, and particularly in its two main principalities Flanders and Brabant,
between 1400 and 1800. The reasons were complex, lying in a combination of the presence of adequate
substitutes such as money changers, cashiers and town exchange offices (stadswissels) and countervailing
factors (adverse economic conditions, insufficient financial resources, special interests of persons and
lobbies). It is also argued that strong government control of the Antwerp urban debt prevented the
local authorities from experimenting with a municipal bank.