ABSTRACT

This chapter aims to connect the debates in the history of knowledge and the history of cities. It is concerned with the issue of how the activities of long-distance corporations in the field of knowledge were related to urban environments. The chapter focuses on knowledge formed in the ‘open air’, such as botany, medicine, surveying, mapmaking, linguistics and administrative sciences, which travelled from extra-metropolitan, overseas areas to cities in the European metropolis. It discusses the rise of Antwerp as a centre of knowledge accumulation and transmission in open air sciences before 1585. The chapter analyses changes in the relationship between long-distance corporations, knowledge and the urban environment in Antwerp after the fall of the city in 1585. It investigates the role of urban agency, long-distance corporations and knowledge infrastructures in Amsterdam and Leiden, as successors of Antwerp, in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.