During the first half of the sixteenth century, the city of Antwerp (located in present-day Belgium about thirty miles north of Brussels) was one of the most significant entrepôts of the nascent modern world economy. A transcontinental clearinghouse, Antwerp served as a center for the redistribution of commodities from the Baltic and Mediterranean regions of Europe as well as from Africa, Asia, and the New World, and, as such, was the nexus of a trade network that encompassed the entire globe. Yet Antwerp’s position at the heart of the world economy was ephemeral; its economic power lasted scarcely more than fifty years, and by the beginning of the seventeenth century global economic primacy had shifted northward to Amsterdam. (first paragraph)
"Burgundian/Habsburg Mint Policies and World Bullion Flows: A Monetary Interpretation of the Rise and Fall of Antwerp, 1400-1600,"
The Hilltop Review: Vol. 2
, Article 3.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/hilltopreview/vol2/iss1/3