Wednesday, 5 September 2012

H is for...


The Hansa is an old organisation which allowed trading between towns in different countries. You can compare it a little with the current EU, which basically allows the same nowadays. Originally it was a purely German thing: only German towns and cities were dealing with each other. After a while Dutch and Belgian towns were to join, as well as towns in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland and the Baltic states and at its high point there were Hanseatic offices as far away as Novgorod (Russia), Bergen (Norway), Bruges and later Antwerp (Belgium) and London (England). The only one remaining today is the one in Bergen.  
The main commodity dealt with in Bergen was fish from the North of the country (Lofoten) in exchange for grain. The reason why Bergen was chosen instead of a place further north had several reasons: the weather probably being part of it, but mainly it was that the Norwegians didn't want those Germans any further up than they needed to be.
The office in Bergen was manned by Germans and Germans only. One after the other the houses of the Bryggen quarter were bought and in the end, the whole area was German. On top of that: no women were allowed. The so-called 'women's jobs' were done by apprentices, some as young as 13 who came from good middle class families back in Germany. Men were not allowed to be married either. You worked for the Hansa and after several years you went back to Germany, with money obviously, found a wife and started a family.
This is the letter H for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?


  1. I remember (vaguely) reading about the Hanseatic league when I was growing up.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  2. very informative post and great photo ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  3. I just learned something new today--never heard of this. The building is really neat too.

  4. Nice looking building.

    Hygiene, your comment will be highly appreciated.
    Have a great Wednesday

  5. You have mentioned many unsavoury parts of the Hanseatic league I did not know about before. I didn't realize it was so controlling.

  6. I love ABC, I learn something new every week.

    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  7. I remember being taught about the Hanseatic League at school, but not those interesting social details you provide.
    Joy - ABC Team

  8. That is very interesting history. Thank you for sharing.

  9. There's a term form high school history -- Hanseatic League.

  10. Fascinating! I'd never heard of this organization. Love the shot of the building.


Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!