As we approach the end of our first session it’s time to welcome Professor Inger Leemans, and her ‘aroma jockey’ Jorg, to the stage!
You can sense the crowd is wondering the same thing - what’s that smell? Well it turns out Jorg and Inger have filled the International Theatre Amsterdam with the smell of money!
Whether made from copper, silver, gold or paper, money has always had a smell. From the metallic, solid presence of cold hard coins to placing a high value on a small inconsequential looking piece of paper, the smell has always been there, a sensorial connection to the world of finance.
But is that the case today? We live in a world where less and less people use cash. The use of banking apps, bitcoins and crypto’s is not necessarily a bad thing. But as we become more out of touch with money we become more out of touch with finance. Out of touch with what’s going on in the banks, is it a bunch of machines talking in code? We no longer engage with the world of finance, gone are the days when you could freely enter the original stock exchange at the Rokin in the centre of Amsterdam and overlook the trading floor.
But what’s this new smell? Jorg is back and we are transported to the steps of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange in the 17th Century. As the smell wafts across the auditorium we take a virtual tour.
Back in the 17th century people were fascinated with the financial world, there were many paintings, engravings and plays on the subject as people engaged in the economic world; the good and the bad; the prosperity and the crashes. But why bother? Well because important lessons can be learned from understanding early capitalism and our current financial world.
“When you do not look back, you can always pretend you did not know what was coming. If you pretend finance is a sector separate from society, you do not have to take the blame for the economic and social after effects of a crisis.”
- written by Emily Bingham