VU researcher Sabine Go part of team receiving ERC Consolidator Grant

School of Business and Economics researcher Sabine Go has, as part of a team led by Professor Maria Fusaro from the University of Exeter, received an ERC Consolidator Grant to investigate the development of General Average laws and procedures during the Early Modern period.

16-01-2018 | 10:02

General Average (GA) is the practice, still in use today, of apportioning costs arising from the jettison of cargo or of intentionally damaging a ship (for example, by cutting its mast) to prevent greater damage or even the loss of the entire vessel and its cargo (typically during a storm). This topic has been almost entirely neglected by scholars, despite the survival of rich Early Modern documentary evidence in the archives of Genoa, Venice, Livorno, Amsterdam, and elsewhere. The multi-disciplinary project will research the development of GA across Europe from economic, legal and political perspectives. 

Sabine GoGo’s contribution will consist of analysis of the development of the GA legislation in the Netherlands, particularly the workings of the Amsterdam Chamber of Insurance and Average. This court was an essential part of the commercial framework of Amsterdam during its golden age, but its influence reached well beyond the United Provinces. The grant totals €1.8 million, and the team includes scholars from the UK, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. The project will be completed in five years.

“We can learn much from the study of General Average,” Professor Fusaro said. “It provides insights into cultural, legal, and business evolution over the duration of the early modern period, shows how people worked together to manage and overcome risk, and how jurisdictions separated by varying traditions reached consensus.” She added: “Sabine’s contribution, with its focus on the United Provinces, will bring a unique perspective to or work.”