Antwerp Bourse--World’s Oldest--Closes
The world’s oldest financial exchange, the Belgian bourse of Antwerp, ended five centuries of trading as it closed its doors in preparation for its merger Friday with the Brussels bourse. “Antwerp has had its day; we could no longer have two bourses in Belgium,” Antwerp bourse Chairman Marc Corluy said. With a last bout of trading and glasses of champagne, Antwerp’s brokers bid farewell to the bourse that served as a model for the Amsterdam and London exchanges that eventually outstripped it. The exchange was built in 1531 and was the first public building used exclusively for financial and commodity trading, predating the first shares. The word “bourse” originated with it, after an inn run by the family Van der Beurze in the Belgian town of Bruges, where 15th century merchants met to conduct financial affairs.