Unlike many of their neighbors, the Dutch are practical business minded people. Even during the middle ages, while everyone else was either too busy engaging in expansion wars or too focused on eradicating ethnic and religious minorities and combating society’s primal vices, the Dutch were taking a more “business oriented solution”. A sort of “Live and let live through taxes” approach.
Amsterdam followed a progressing philosophy of tolerance towards drugs, prostitution and religious diversity (a hot topic at the time) and found ways of monetizing it, effectively turning a blind eye at almost everything as long as everybody was getting a piece of the pie! All in the name of “good business”.
In fact, the Dutch were such business minded wizards that they established in 1602 what could be considered as the first ever multinational corporation controlling an empire that extended from islands in North and Central America (Manhattan was one of them believe it or not) to the Far East with virtually no taboos and no trading restrictions on anyone… I mean if Google or Microsoft had a mother, this would be it…
This was The Dutch East India Company; with headquarters in Indonesia and trading posts from Africa to Japan. This mammoth corporation was the first to issue stocks, simultaneously turning Amsterdam into the world’s capitol of the spice trade and the birthplace of capitalism.