The coastal areas of the Austrian Netherlands and Trieste are of vital importance for the Habsburg dynastic policies. As the Habsburg Monarchy remains primarily a continental formation, securing the Spanish heritage presents an opportunity for maritime commerce development. Until then Trieste and Rijeka remain the dynasty's leading ports, but are unable to compete with Venetian monopoly until the 19th century. As a result of insufficient coastal access, the Austrian Habsburg branch had never developed a prosperous maritime commerce and it only gained a sufficient naval fleet after acquiring the Venetian lands in 1797. After the extinction of the Spanish branch offered the Austrians more convenient coastal territory, the court in Vienna invested extraordinary funds and effort to stimulate economic development in its newly-acquired lands. At the same time, the Habsburg court focused its attention to the development of its smaller Adriatic ports, which gained increasing influence during the 18th century. The comparison deals with the relationship the Habsburg ruling family maintained towards its vital coastal regions, where the Austrians clearly remained the minority. Did the importance of economic success influence or shape the relationship between the monarchy and the local population of the aforementioned regions? Habsburg policies were aimed at centralizing the dynasty’s scattered possessions. In the 18th century centralization is prevalent across the entire monarchy. Trieste may have been incorporated into the central administrative system, yet it was also granted broader administrative jurisdiction. On the other hand, the local elite in the Austrian Netherlands was unwilling to let go of its privileges and high level of self-government. The Habsburgs were forced to submit to local demands and were ready to adjust their policies, if it would help quench local unrest.