Opening Conference for the 50th Anniversary of the European Cultural Convention
9-10 December 2004
Awards Ceremony for Five Cultural Routes
9 December 2004
“The Hansa” Route
Presentation by Ms Inger HARLEVI
Vice-Chair of the Association “Die neue Hanse”
(To be checked against delivered speech)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Hansa is unique. When did you ever hear about a medieval network that revived in modern times?
From 1161 and during 500 years the Hansa created an active and powerful league of cities, a league that can be seen as a medieval forerunner to the European Union. The Hansa controlled the trade not only around the Baltic Sea. Through the hands of the Hanseatic merchants east met west, north met south. Hanseatic branches were to be found as far south as in Lisbon.
After 300 years of non-existence, the Hansa revived in 1980. Today it is an active cooperation between 174 cities. The number of member cities increases every year. Applications for membership include that the applicant city must prove their relation with the Hansa in medieval times. One major project was adopted at the Hanseatic Commission a few weeks ago: to develop the pilgrimroutes leading down to Santiago de Compostela from the Baltic Sea area, Westfalia and the Netherlands. Thus north meets south still today.
The nomination to major cultural route is of great importance for the Hansa, it will help us to market the Hanseatic heritage, it gives us a quality label of real high value. In name of the Hansa I want to express our gratitude to the Council of Europe for giving us this honour.