Dutch Enterprise in the Twentieth Century: Business Strategies in a Small Open Economy

Dutch Enterprise in the Twentieth Century: Business Strategies in a Small Open Economy

Dutch Enterprise in the Twentieth Century: Business Strategies in a Small Open Economy

Dutch Enterprise in the Twentieth Century: Business Strategies in a Small Open Economy

Excerpt

This study is the result of my work in the field of Dutch business history during the past twenty years, which included the writing of a number of company histories. First of all I want to thank the company executives who entrusted the writing of the history of their company to me (and my colleagues). By opening their archives and by telling me about their business experiences they helped me gain important insights into the problems and challenges of entrepreneurship. Without their co-operation I could never have written this study.

During the course of writing I have accumulated an unusually large number of happy obligations. First among them is the debt I owe to the Research Institute for History and Culture of Utrecht University, which enabled me to spend two years full time on this book. I want to thank in particular Joost Dankers and Jan Luiten van Zanden for helping arrange this generous research time. In addition I am very grateful for their tireless efforts in advancing the study of business history at Utrecht University. My Utrecht colleagues Bram Bouwens, Joost Jonker, Hein Klemann and Jan Luiten van Zanden have read the completed manuscript and given me numerous valuable suggestions for improvements, most of which I had the good sense to take. My book greatly benefited from discussions in the research project 'Bint' about the evolution of the Dutch business system in the twentieth century. Active members of this research group include Erik Bloemen, Mila Davids, Jacques van Gerwen, Ferry de Goey, Jan Peet, Maurits van Os and Gerarda Westerhuis, apart from those mentioned above. I would also like to mention Ben Gales with whom I first explored the world of Dutch multinationals and free-standing companies.

My colleagues in the European Business History Association have been an important source of inspiration for the last fifteen years. To two of them I want to give my special thanks. Geoffrey Jones stimulated me to widen my horizon by studying the internationalisation of business and by taking an active role in the establishment of a European Business History Association. Mary Rose read the completed manuscript and gave me many useful comments. She encouraged me to submit my manuscript to Routledge to be included in its International Studies in Business History series

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