Hansa was a union of German free cities in XIII-XVII centuries, those due to their geographical location controlled the flow of goods between the Baltic and North Seas. In the partner cities of the Union, located in other countries, there were offices and branches of the Hansa. Combining in various times up to 170 cities in western and northern Europe, the Baltic States and Russia, Hansa played a significant role in the development of trade, diplomacy and intercultural dialogue in the European space.
Relationships between Russian cities and the Hanseatic League formed an entire epoch in the history. Closest relations with the Hansa were supported by the Novgorod the Great, in which there were even some of the largest branches of the Hanseatic League – so called Gothic and German “courts” of foreign merchants. Fur was the main export good in Russia, and the places of its production were controlled by Novgorod. Wax was exported from the City of Pskov to Europe; wax played the main role in lighting of premises, since candles were produced of wax. Regularly, albeit in smaller quantities, there was a trade with other cities in the north-west Russia. Hansa formally existed until 1669, but this was not the former powerful confederation. Internal conflicts between cities gradually intensified, and many of them often carried out their independent policies, leading to separation of the Union. Termination of the Hanseatic League activities was due to the movement of world trade to the Atlantic Ocean and the development of new forms of economic relations.
In 1980 in the Netherlands there was celebrated the 700 anniversary of the founding of the Hanseatic League; in the same year in the Dutch city of Zwolle in order to boost trade and tourism the organization called “Hansa of the New Times” had been established (often informally referred to as “New Hansa”). Since then, every year several days are given to the festival Hansa Days, during which the celebration takes place in the cities of the New Hansa. Exhibitions, fairs and other cultural activities connected to Hanseatic trade, are aimed at restoring the spirit of the medieval Hanseatic League. A city, which hosts the festival and guest cities are keen to present themselves as cities with a rich history, much of which has been linked with the medieval Hanseatic League. In addition, during the festival the international forums take place where representatives of the Hanseatic cities discuss topical issues of political, economic and cultural cooperation.
In 2009, the first Russian festival was held in Novgorod the Great. At the Hanseatic Days 2010 in the Estonian city of Parnu, it was decided to hold the Hanseatic Days in 2033 in Pskov.
Currently, Hansa League unites 176 cities from 16 European countries. Official website of the New Hansa is located here.
Russian Hanseatic Cities
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This conference is the last public event of the “HansaLinks” project. It is held in Pskov City, February 9-10, 2012. More than 70 experts have registered at the conference, among them the heads of Russian Hanseatic cities, cultural managers, representatives of the European cities of the Hanseatic League, the media. The following cities intend to [...]
On November 23-24, 2011, Peipsi Forum for transboundary cooperation will collect in Tartu more than 60 experts from Estonia, Russia, Germany, Moldova and Ukraine. The topic of the Forum is identified as “Sustainable Regional & Cross-border Cooperation (CBC) at the External Borders of the EU and the Neighbouring Regions”. The Forum’s work will includ CBC [...]
“HansaLinks” project will be presented in the frameworks of the regular meeting of the Commission of the Hansa of the New Times, which will take place on November 18-20, 2011, in Lüneburg (Germany). The meeting will be organized on the eve of 2012 – 600th anniversary of the 1st meeting of the Hanseatic cities. The [...]