The Fruits of Civilization (23-3-2) The Dutch Golden Age continued


The profitability of Dutch agriculture is attested to by intensive land reclamation efforts. These included reclaiming land from the sea, by draining marshes and lakes, and by planting peat bogs after the peat had been taken for fuel.

Efforts to reclaim land began in the Middle Ages, but gathered pace in the 16th–17th centuries, particularly when prices were high for farm products. Farmers were not the only ones involved.

Dikes and drainage required large capital spending. Urban merchants and other investors formed companies to reclaim land which they then sold or leased to farmers.

Diffusion of Dutch agriculture and business techniques did occur in the 16th–17th centuries, notably to England and northern France, but to a limited extent. Other countries lacked Dutch productivity, and their markets were not developed enough to justify the specialization that characterized Dutch agriculture.