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Medieval world trade: the Hanseatic League

Luxury goods and other merchandise from around the world, profitable exports of domestic goods and international relations in all directions - the time of Hanseatic trade shaped the eight member cities of the Trade Federation in the Teutoburg Forest. Go looking for traces in Bielefeld, Brakel, Herford, Lemgo, Minden, Paderborn, Nieheim, Warburg and Wiedenbrück. And discover above all the architectural splendour from the middle ages.

The fascination of the "Hanseatic League"

In 2013, Herford was the proud host of the 33rd Hanseatic Convention of modern times - with large number of visitors and active international participation. Already in 1916, Lemgo requested the right to carry the name "Old Hanseatic City". The fascination of the medieval Trading Association is unbroken to this day. Perhaps because the idea of the peaceful international trade network, to which more than 200 cities belonged by the 16th century, is also still modern and up to date today. Perhaps also because Hanseatic cities have this special flair: citizenship and community pride, which express themselves in impressive structures.

Trade routes and export success

Bielefeld is still today called "linen weaver town". Other towns in the region, such as Herford for example, already in the early Middle Ages processed flax into high-quality fabrics. Trading was also done with everything the fields and woods had to offer. Thus even comparatively small Hanseatic cities like Warburg were prospering, which is evident in the architecture of the largely preserved medieval city.

Also in Minden, during a city tour, you will discover numerous houses from the 15th century, which were built by wealthy merchants.

Lemgo and the Hanseatic Sales Route

The cityscape from Hanseatic times has been most strongly and evocatively preserved in the Lemgo old town. The Town Hall has a Gothic centre and was extended during the Weser Renaissance. In addition to numerous half-timbered houses, the streetscape is also dominated by late Gothic houses. The citizens did not just express their wealth in this way but also an awareness of their power. Because in addition to Paderborn, Lemgo was the only full voting member of the region and was invariably invited to every Hanseatic Convention. The people of Lemgo remained loyal to the Hanseatic League until the end of the Trade Federation in 1668.

If you want to trace the history of the Hanseatic League with historical transport: The Hanseatic Route, a hiking path of "Walkable Germany", connects Lemgo with the Hanseatic towns of Herford and Hamlin.

The end of the Hanseatic League

The Hanseatic League has no founding anniversary, rather was gradually established around the middle of the 12th century. And it found no real end. Only nine cities accepted the invitation to the Hanseatic Convention in 1669, after that there were no new invitations. As soon as membership brought no further benefits, the cities gradually left. Brakel, for example, in the year 1567. But even in this comparatively insignificant trading place, medieval prosperity still shows up today - for example at the Gothic weigh house.

The example of Brakel also shows: good trade relations both before and after the Hanseatic League - for example along the Hellweg.

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Westphalian enjoyment in numbers

  • 4
    enjoyable museums in the Westphalian Culinarium at Nieheim
  • 6
    months - at least - is the time it takes to age a Westphalian ham on the bone
  • 24
    hours to bake pumpernickel bread
  • 38
    percent alcohol in a real Steinhäger
  • Countless
    number of recipes for Pickert
  • Persönliche Beratung und Tipps vor Ort & zur Reiseplanung
  • Die beste Auswahl an Hotels und Ferienwohnungen persönlich getestet
  • Tipps von ausgesuchten Reiseexperten aus der Region