The state treasury chest > With an eye toward voters the long road to (parliamentary) democracy (1848-1945)

Smuggling Dutch gin in intestines
Rich or poor, in the 19th century, every Dutchman paid high taxes on potatoes, bread, meat and salt. As a consequence of these and other factors, part of the population ate poorly and, as a result, suffered from malnutrition.

In spite of this, the government did not dare to lower the taxes, for such a reduction would have to be compensated by new taxes. In particular, the well-to-do bourgeoisie and other moneyed people who were entitled to vote would be the ones confronted by possible new taxes on their income. Around 1850, liberal politicians, with the statesman Thorbecke as their leader, argued in favour of abolishing various excises, since they were a hindrance to trade and industry.

Initially, the government refused to abolish excises without the introduction of new taxes to set off lost proceeds. Thanks to the growing revenues from the East Indies and the revival of the national economy in the 1850s, various state excises, such as those on mutton meat, pork and fuel, could be abolished.

After the adoption of the law on municipalities, which regulated the financial relations between the state and the cities and towns, all municipal excises were abolished in 1865.

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