What was Zollverein? Why was it formed?

In 1834, the customs union of Zollverein was formed at the initiative of Prussia and was joined by most of the German states.

  • The union abolished tariff barriers and reduced the number of currencies from over thirty to two.
  • The creation of a network of railways further stimulated mobility, harnessing economic interests to national unification.
  • A wave of economic nationalism strengthened the wider nationalist sentiments growing at the time.
  • Varied currencies and weights and measures were obstacles to economic growth, so the creation of a unified economic territory allowing the unhindered movement of goods, people and capital was needed. So, Zollverein was formed.