This chapter examines how the competition between neighboring ports led Bruges, Antwerp, and Amsterdam to adapt institutional arrangements to the needs of international traders. It considers how Bruges, Antwerp, and Amsterdam were able to overcome the negative effects of urban competition and develop an institutional framework conducive to the growth of trade. It explores what the three commercial cities did to secure a central position in domestic and international trade during the period, focusing on the important role played by the urban magistrates. The chapter shows that the creation of more inclusive commercial regimes allowed Bruges, Antwerp, and particularly Amsterdam to treat all merchants equally by means of a commercial infrastructure that served the merchant community at large.
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