After Napoleon’s defeat at Leipzig , the French armies withdrew for good from the Netherlands in 1813. Prince William of Orange accepted the sovereignty over the Netherlands and Belgium. With the assistance of his ministers, he reigned as King William I and held the reins tight.
From the very beginning, things did not go well between the northern and the southern Netherlands. In 1830, the latter rebelled and a year later the Kingdom of Belgium came into being.
By all means at his disposal and using both private funds and tax proceeds, the new king endeavoured to boost trade and industry in both the southern and the northern Netherlands. In this context, he took measures to promote the domestics production of all kinds of goods. Thanks to the creation of import and export duties in 1816 and 1821 and to a better infrastructure, commerce recovered to some extent, in particular the export trade.
In 1824, king William I founded the Nederlandsche Handelmaatschappij (Netherlands Trading Company) that was to concentrate on selling products originating from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and the transport of goods to and from that colony. Until far into the 19th century, the colony was treated as conquered territory. The greater part of the ‘proceeds from the East Indies’ benefited the Netherlands Treasury Chest.
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