From the eighteenth century onwards governments used codification as an instrument of top-down nation-state building. Napoleonic France was no exception. The French regime regarded the imposition of its civil legislation as an effective instrument to culturally integrate vassal states. Although Napoleon considered his laws to be universal, many European jurists suggested considerable changes. Such local intermediaries had to choose or reject certain elements from the French imperial example. Consequently, the Code civil des Français (or Code Napoléon) was frequently adapted, as is seen in the case of its reception in the Netherlands. By analysing the discourse of Dutch jurists who advocated the modification of French legislation, as well as the changes to the Napoleonic code, acts of cultural brokerage are highlighted. It shows that the codification of Dutch civil law was a cross-national process. The study of cultural and legal transfer reveals significant resemblances and differences between (legal) cultures. Overall, this article shows a possible way in which transfer theory can be put into practice, and provides a transnational take on comparative research.
|Number of pages||25|
|Journal||Comparative Legal History|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
- civil law
- code civil
- transnational history