Netherlands Trading Society

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"Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij" above the entrance to the Amsterdam Archives at the De Bazel building, built as NHM's headquarters

The Netherlands Trading Society (Dutch: Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij or NHM) was a Dutch trading company established in 1824 by King William I of the Netherlands to promote and develop trade, shipping and agriculture. For the next 140 years the NHM developed a large international branch network and increasingly engaged in banking operations, and subsequently would become one of the primary ancestors of ABN AMRO.


The building at Vijzelstraat 32 in Amsterdam known today as "De Bazel", is named after its architect Karel de Bazel. Today it houses the Amsterdam Archives, but it was originally built in 1919-1926 for the NHM and it is decorated with many details reminiscent of Indonesia, most notably the brickwork, which earned the building the nickname "spekkoek".

The NHM was a private company which issued publicly traded shares and according to the king, the NHM would act to leverage economic activity and encourage the development of national wealth. However, in practice it came down to expanding existing trade, by gathering data and searching for new markets as well as financing industry and shipping. Its close association with Dutch government meant it played an important role in the development of trade between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies.[1] Its former headquarters in De Bazel in Amsterdam houses the Amsterdam Archives today.[2]

The NHM is sometimes called the successor of the Dutch East India Company, as it was also a private company that issued shares and financed trade with the Dutch East Indies. The establishment of the NHM could probably be seen as an attempt to bring new impetus to trade with the Dutch East Indies after the depression of the years of French domination (1795–1814) and the final collapse of the Dutch East India Company two decades earlier.

The NHM financing of trade and shipping led to the development of a network of branches which increasingly engaged in financing and banking operations. The network extended throughout South East Asia and on the trade routes between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies and the NHM continued to extend its network into the 20th century. It lost a number of its branches when the Indonesian government nationalised them in 1960 to form a new locally owned bank, but by then had branches in many other parts of the world. The NHM continued to develop more and more banking and financing operations with its branch network and it went on to become one of the primary ancestors of ABN AMRO bank when in 1964 it merged with the Dutch Twentsche Bank to form Algemene Bank Nederland (ABN).

Time line[edit]

The first building in Amsterdam, 1860
Aerial view of the NHM branch in Jakarta circa 1955, now Museum Mandiri.



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