The Rise of the Modern City

At the beginning of the 19th century, Amsterdam falls into decline. The bankrupt VOC has saddled the new monarchy with a public debt of hundreds of millions of guilders. The trade empire has collapsed.

After the fall of Emperor Napoleon in 1815, life in the Netherlands gradually recovers. Railway lines are constructed and canals dug. New industrial techniques boost the production of goods and employment. People migrate from the countryside to Amsterdam to work in the factories and the port. These cheap workers live in dire poverty in squalid slums. Although the Netherlands officially abolishes slavery in 1863, exploitation of the colonies actually increases.