The Embarrassment of Riches: an interpretation of Dutch culture in the Golden Age is a book by historian Simon Schama published in 1987.

The Embarrassment of Riches
The Embarrassment of Riches, Simon Schama book.jpg
Cover of the first edition
AuthorSimon Schama
Cover artistJan Steen
SubjectDutch Golden Age
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)


Schama cites global source materials to offer a systematic overview of the Dutch Golden Age culture. Period sources include emblem books, histories and novels, cookbooks, scientific discoveries, bankruptcy files, religious works, art, education and descriptions of cultural rituals.


Susan Buck-Morss criticizes Schama for his "selective national history" of the Dutch Republic, "that omits much or all of the colonizing story."[1] "One would have no idea that Dutch hegemony in the slave trade—replacing Spain and Portugal as major players—contributed substantially to the enormous overload of wealth that he describes as becoming so socially and morally problematic during the century of Dutch centrality to the "commerce of the world."[1]

Herman Pleij, a professor of Medieval Dutch literature wrote The Dutch Embarrassment in response.[2]


  1. ^ a b Buck-Morss 2000, pp. 821–865.
  2. ^ Pleij 1991.