In the Early Modern period, the Low Countries performed a key role in trade and commerce on the European continent. In their golden ages, Antwerp in the 16th and Amsterdam in the 17th century attracted merchants from all over Europe and even beyond. The massive development of commerce and finance within this transregional reality raised normative questions on how to deal with novel financial techniques. Most often, the answers were multifold. Indeed, different layers of normativity were at stake: apart from learned legal treatises and commentaries, also customary law and moral theological literature contributed to the debate. It were, however, turbulent times. Political and religious conflicts drove a wedge within Europe and also between the Northern and Southern Low Countries, even though they had been part of a personal union from the 15th century onwards. This project tries to find out whether this confessional and institutional estrangement also affected or influenced the normative framework on loans and credit. For that purpose, this project primarily focuses on printed volumes of consultations by learned lawyers or law faculties to litigants or judges in concrete cases (consilia), and on reports of legal decisions by university-schooled lawyers (decisiones). Perfectly apt to link learned law with legal practice, these sources will be situated against a wider normative background, both within the Low Countries and beyond.
Wouter Druwé (°1991) studied civil law (Master 2013), theology (BA 2013) and canon law (MA 2015) at the Catholic University of Leuven. From 2013 he joined the KU Leuven Research Unit Roman Law and Legal History to prepare for a PhD under supervision of Prof. Laurent Waelkens and Prof. Wim Decock. As of October 2015, he is continuing this research as PhD Fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO).