started as a network between German merchants developed
into an impressive league of cities that for several centuries
kept power and control over trade and markets related to
the Baltic Sea.
Dates and countries
Incorporated into the programme "The Council of Europe Cultural
Countries: Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania,
Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, Sweden,
The treaty between Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony and Bavaria
and the "Coast of Gotland" in 1161 might be regarded as
the birth of the Hansa. Via Gotland the mercantile route
to Novgorod was subsequent developed. East met West. Central
and Western Europe obtained luxurious merchandise from Eastern
and Northern Europe thanks to the Hanseatic trade.
The Hansa is now a unique network of cities. It is a medieval
network that revived in 1980. The Hansa could be seen as
a medieval forerunner to the European Union. Today's network
consists of 178 member cities in 16 countries, you find
them all at www.hanse.org.
To explore them, make your choice per country or per region.
Quite a few are also listed by UNESCO as World Heritage.
Many are related to the pilgrimage route to Santiago. And
all of them offer interesting facts from a common European
The new Hansa is the largest voluntary association of towns
and cities in the world. The members comprise not only the
Hanseatic towns and cities themselves, but also some of
the former large depots such as Novgorod in north-west Russia,
as well as some of the smaller trading posts.
(Photo: wooden architecture in Novgorod, Russian Federation)