A real success story in German history is the Hanseatic League. The Hanseatic League connected many cities throughout Europe. It stands for trade within Europe. But also for a cultivated culture with special moral standards. The history of the Hanseatic League goes far back into the early modern era. Important cities such as Hamburg or Rostock achieved their high economic position in the process. The history of the Hanseatic League brought trade to Germany, which also brought important products to Germany from many other countries around the world. Whether it was tea, coffee, fabrics or other things – the whole of Germany profited from the goods imported by sea.
The trade in goods ensured that luxury foods came to Germany as well as colonial goods and other products from all over the world gained access to the German market. This did not only make German traders richer. Ordinary consumers also benefited. In many households, coffee and luxury foods that were not even available in Germany eventually became common. In addition, some people set off on their long journeys around the world via the Hanseatic cities. Many a sailor took this as the starting point for a unique voyage of discovery into the world. Many people heard the stories of these sailors when they returned to Germany.
However, many a sailor made it so far on the voyage that he took over his own ship or stayed in another part of the world. But the Hanseatic League is also known for the large companies that sold basic goods. Shipping and trading in German grain made whole family dynasties rich. Banks were also founded in some cities as a result. Many rich companies in these cities also promoted culture and developed a broad-based patronage. For this, too, one must be grateful to the Hanseatic League. Today, people may not be as aware of the history of the Hanseatic League. Many people in Germany no longer even know the name of this once important institution. And yet there are enough reasons to be proud of the Hanseatic League. For one thing, it ensured the economic boom in the cities, which brought benefits to many people in Germany. For another, the Hanseatic League’s trade also led to the peaceful movement of goods. The Hanseatic League is thus the starting point for today’s globalisation.
At the same time, it could be a historical model for a peaceful way of life on an equal footing. It is the exact opposite of gunboat politics that enforce trade through power. Perhaps we should be proud of the principles of the Hanseatic League and revive them especially today. The history of the Hanseatic League is linked above all to the name of the city of Hamburg. Here, people are particularly proud of this tradition to this day. But there were also Hanseatic cities in many other federal states. In Hamburg, however, the tradition of this union can still be studied today. A short trip to beautiful Hamburg can thus provide the right inspiration for responsible trade in today’s world. For this, one simply has to be grateful to beautiful Hamburg.
One should not forget this tradition, but rather specifically revive it under today’s conditions. The Hanseatic League offers interesting suggestions.
Last updated on 6. February 2023