Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Highlights from 100 years NEHA

In April 1914 the Nederlandsch Economisch- Historisch Archief (NEHA) was founded. 100 years after its foundation, NEHA is an institute - housed at the IISH - with a collection that ranks among the international top in the economic-historical area. Below you find the highlights of 100  year NEHA collections


Copia das carregaçao de mercadorias vindas de Lisboa. A parchement-bound journal of a Portuguese colonial goods merchant in Antwerp, from 1546 to 1555. His business partners were his cousins Joam and Jorge Rodriguez in Lisbon. Family networks of merchants were essential in international trade. At the end of the journal are notes reflecting household expenses from 1551  [NEHA Special Collections 134 (ARCH03634)].
The piece is part of the extensive collection from the Antwerp collector Joseph Velle. After his death in 1925 the collection was auctioned and largely acquired by the NEHA.


Johannis Nider, [Tractatus de contractibus mercatorum] : [begin fol. I recto] : incipit tractatus de contractibus mercatorum reverendi patris fratris Johannis Nider sacre theologie professoris Ordinis Praedicatorum [(Coloniae : Ulric Zell 1468)]. The oldest publication in the NEHA collection and probably the first printed discussion of business ethics known to the Western World. See also: On the Contracts of Merchants by Johannes Nider / translated by Charles H. Reeves; edited by Ronald B. Shuman (University of Oklahoma Press : Norman 1966) [NEHA EHB V1470 : 1].

The oldest known price current in Amsterdam, 23 May 1586. The list of commodity prices was preprinted, prices were filled in by hand.
The price current is only one example from the collection started in the 1920s by N.W. Posthumus.
See also: John J. McCusker and Cora Gravesteijn, The Beginnings of Commercial and Financial Journalism. The Commodity Price Currents, Exchange Rate Current, and Money Currents of Early Modern Europe (Amsterdam 1991) [NEHA Special Collections 472 - ARCH03972].


A small sample of seventeenth and eighteenth century merchant books from the Netherlands, Germany and England. They give an impression of the collection of merchant literature for daily use. The contents consist of a small almanac, interest tables, calculation tables, information on markets, postal and trade routes, prices etc. They are bound in strong parchment and they can be safely locked to protect the contents; some of them have copper locks, others can be closed with straps or by means of an envelope. See On the Waterfront no. 5 (2002) 3.


Illustration of three tulips. The notes along the stems (in German) indicate the prices paid for their bulbs during Dutch tulip fever at the end of 1636: the Gouda sold for 2,100 Dutch florins, the Beste Anvaers fetched 1,400 florins and the Viceroy went for around 3,200 florins.
This drawing is part of a small collection consisting of three loose sheets and a book with tulips and other flowers, all in a variety of techniques. The book contains 122 drawings by Jacob Isaacsz van Swanenburch (1571-1638) from Leyden and 16 drawings by Adriaen Jansz. Van Witvelt (ca. 1581-1638) [NEHA Special Collections 254 - ARCH03754].


"Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid" Amsterdam 1720. The Great Mirror of Folly was published in Amsterdam within months of the 1720 economic crashes that caused turmoil in the stock markets of England, France, and the Dutch Provinces.
This exceptionally large volume includes not only the regular satirical engravings, plays, poems, and prospectuses, but also ephemera and engravings not in the published version [NEHA Special Collections 255 - ARCH03755].


Japanese print entitled Oranda sen zu (illustration of a Dutch ship), 1802; printed by . The print is one from a collection of 40 Japanese Yokohama and Nagasaki prints. On the yellow flag in the middle the emblem of the VOC (Verenigde Oost-Indische CompagnieSee also: F.K. Lotgering, ‘Vreemdelingen in Japan. Aantekeningen bij een verzameling van Nagasaki- en Yokohama-kleurenhoutsneden’, in: Economisch- en Sociaal-Historische Jaarboek deel 41 (’s-Gravenhage 1978) 154-174  [NEHA Special Collections 477, nr. 2 - ARCH03977].


In 1934 the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum (GeWiMu), founded by Otto Neurath, moved to the Netherlands. Exhibition facilities and offices were made available by N.W. Posthumus in The Hague. In close cooperation with Gerd Arntz, Neurath continued developing his picture language.
In exchange for exhibition space in Amsterdam they developed a series of statistical charts based on the research by Posthumus. See Jan Lucassen, ‘Gerd Arntz (1900-1988)’, in On the Waterfront. Newsletter of the friends of the IISH No. 13 (2006) 7-8 [NEHA BG S4/7-A].


30 June 2014