Alexander Gogel
: Architect of uitvoerder van een nieuwe financiële inrichting van Nederland

Translated title of the thesis: Alexander gogel: Architect of implenter of a new Dutch financial structure
  • E.A.C. Overgaauw

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    In recent decennia more attention has developed for the influence of the Batavian and French period, 1795 until 1815, in Dutch history. A larger recognition has arisen that stately institutions as used in the later kingdom of the Netherlands have developed in this period. In this respect the name of Alexander Gogel has been put forward as a founder of the Dutch state. Gogel’s career spanned a timeframe in which the old Dutch Republic transformed into a unitary state and eventually into the Dutch kingdom. In his biography of Gogel, Postma argues that Gogel was of major importance in the formation of financial institutions and procedures as a single currency and mint, centralized budgeting and a centralized fiscal system.
    This paper questions Postma’s vision of Gogel as a visionary politician and investigates if Gogels role was really of fundamental importance or if Gogel was much more a passionate representative of a wider consensus for the financial reforms. The paper focusses on Gogels opinions in relation to the eventual fiscal and financial reforms and in how far his ideas represented widely supported convictions for reform.
    Although the Batavian period is relatively recent, only a limited corpus of relevant sources on personal opinions of the involved actors is available. For that reason, this investigation uses a digital analysis of a volume of 371 texts and letters by Gogel and his associate Canneman, available in OCR-form through the ‘Huygens Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis’. The digital analysis was done through a rulebased method for text-analysis and provides both a quantitative and qualitative outcome. This method is meant to provide a model for future use in the investigation of texts and correspondence. Although the outcome of method is certainly supporting the conclusion of this paper, recommendations include the application of the rulebased method on datasets with less professional financial content, the use of larger datasets for higher reliability and refinements of the process. The method has its best value in testing and substantiating a qualitative hypothesis.
    The conclusion on Gogels work and role in building a Dutch state is that of a contributor to a broader development supported by the unitary patriots, but not by everyone. In his personal development from young revolutionary to elderly statesman in a changing political landscape, he more and more became a financial specialist. His strong professional views on matters prevented him from creating a stronger support for his plans, that often became more viable in an environment where he was forced to cooperate with others. The bigger part of his ideas was eventually realized by his successors after the fall of Napoleon. His ideas played an important role in the financial foundation of the modern Dutch state, but he was too much of a technocrat and specialist to create a bigger change during his career.
    Date of Award5 Oct 2023
    Original languageDutch
    SupervisorMartijn van der Burg (Supervisor) & Tim van der Heijden (Examiner)


    • Alexander Gogel

    Master's Degree

    • Master Kunst en Cultuurwetenschappen

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