East India House   Oost-Indisch Huis

former headquarters of the Dutch VOC

The Dutch VOC was the first multinational company in the world and the first that handed out shares.


Courtyard of the Oost-Indisch Huis

The Oost-Indisch Huis was the former headquarters of the once-powerful Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company), which was founded in 1602.

Golden Age

The 17th century is considered Amsterdam's Golden Age, when it became one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

Ships sailed from Amsterdam to the Baltic Sea, North America, and Africa, as well as present-day Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Brazil, forming the basis of a worldwide trading network.

The East India House dates from the Dutch Golden Age. It was built in 1606 by Hendrick de Keyser and it was used as the city armoury.

The Oost-Indisch Huis was acquired by the University of Amsterdam  (UvA) in 1965 and now houses the department of Sociology.

Global spice trade

For decades this concern dominated the global spice trade, transporing spices using large ships. The VOC sent many expeditions to the Orient to bring back silks, spices, herbs and other riches that fuelled Amsterdam's Golden Age. You can see a replica ship at the Scheepvaartmuseum.

Amsterdam warehouses brimmed with wheat, tobacco, spices, salt, copper, and gold. The population quadrupled.

The world's first stock exchange

Amsterdam's merchants had the largest share in both the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and the WIC (Dutch West India Company). These companies acquired overseas possessions that later became Dutch colonies.

Amsterdam was Europe's most important point for the shipment of goods and was the leading financial centre of the world. In 1602, the Amsterdam office of the VOC became the world's first stock exchange by trading in its own shares.

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