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Between 16 the VOC sent almost a million Europeans to work in the Asia trade on 4,785 ships, and netted for their efforts more than 2.5 million tons of Asian trade goods.By contrast, the rest of Europe combined sent only 882,412 people from 1500 to 1795, and the fleet of the British East India Company (EIC), the VOC's nearest competitor, was a distant second to its total traffic with 2,690 ships and a mere one-fifth the tonnage of goods carried by the VOC.Before the Dutch Revolt, Antwerp had played an important role as a distribution centre in northern Europe.After 1591, however, the Portuguese used an international syndicate of the German Fuggers and Welsers, and Spanish and Italian firms, that used Hamburg as the northern staple port to distribute their goods, thereby cutting Dutch merchants out of the trade.It appeared on various corporate items, such as cannon and coins.The first letter of the hometown of the chamber conducting the operation was placed on top (see figure for example of the Amsterdam chamber logo).The VOC monogram was possibly the first globally-recognized corporate logo.

The commercial networks of Dutch transnational companies, like the VOC and WIC/GWIC, provided an infrastructure which was accessible to people with a scholarly interest in the exotic world.The adaptability, elegance, flexibility, simplicity, symbolism, and symmetry were considered notable characteristics of the VOC's well-designed monogram-logo, those ensured its success at a time when the concept of the corporate identity was virtually unknown.