The question is often asked: why are we celebrating the Hanseatic Year in 2023? Good question! We will reveal right away: the Hanseatic cities are not celebrating their birthday. The 9 Hanseatic cities are celebrating the 800-year legacy of the Hanseatic League in 2023. And in doing so, the Hanseatic cities are giving visitors and residents the Hanseatic feeling again.
Photo credit: Sanne van der Laan
**What is the Hanseatic League? First a step back in time, because what ís the Hanseatic League exactly? When Amsterdam and Rotterdam were just small villages, the Hanseatic League was already a medieval collaboration between trading cities around the Baltic and North Seas. The Hanseatic League brought wealth and economic prosperity to the more than two hundred member cities. Traces of that era are still visible in historic city centers, such as the Waag building in Deventer or the Sassenpoort in Zwolle.
After its heyday, the Hanseatic League became secondary in the Netherlands with the rise of the United East India Company (VOC) in the 17th century. The Hanseatic cities were left to their own devices again, but they never let go of each other. In the eastern Netherlands, 9 Hanseatic cities have worked together for years in the field of tourism. European cities hold annual international Hanseatic Days.
Today, the Hanseatic cities are still important because of their rich history and cultural heritage. They attract many tourists and are important economic and cultural centers in the Netherlands. Moreover, the Hanseatic cities are seen as important reference points for European history and the development of urban society.
Back to why the Hanseatic Year Zwolle and Harderwijk want to host the International Hanseatic Days in 2030 and 2031. Leading up to those events, the nine collaborating Hanseatic cities want to rekindle the Hanseatic feeling for visitors and residents of the Hanseatic cities.
And what are we celebrating? We celebrate the 800-year-old Hanseatic spirit. Each Hanseatic city shows in its own way that the city is alive and which Hanseatic core values are still relevant today.
Discover the world of today and tomorrow in a historical setting.
** Isn't "the Hanseatic League" a bit old-fashioned? Certainly not! The Hanseatic League is actually ultramodern and alive and kicking! Courage and daring, as with the men who sailed on small ships to Novgorod in the Middle Ages, they have never been lost. We have entrepreneurs here in the East who do international business and, of course, we are also familiar with naoberschap: typically "Hanseatic". In addition: regional cooperation is the strength of the East Netherlands.
Yesterday, today and the future. They meet in the Hanseatic cities. Thanks to historical awareness and the art of looking ahead, all Hanseatic people have and share it. From the rich history, new solutions are devised for today and tomorrow. And in the process they show courage, as the Hanseatic towns and their inhabitants have been doing for 800 years.
And in order to celebrate, tell, show and feel the above, we are celebrating the Hanseatic Year in 2023.