Wapen van Kampen/Shield of Kampen

The history of the Hanseatic League

The rise and fall of the Hanseatic cities

Hanze or Hanza refers to a group, company, community or armed crowd. This term was used in the Middle Ages by merchants who wanted to protect themselves against thieves, robbers and pirates by working together. By also giving each other trade privileges, such as an exemption from tolls, they also stimulated mutual trade and profit. Water trade was the most common way, and the cities that benefited most from this were those that were situated by the sea and on a network of rivers that ran deep through the land beyond. Important trading places around 1400 were, for example, Lübeck, Hamburg (Germany), Bruges, London, Cologne, Gdansk and Novgorod. In the Netherlands these include Zwolle, Deventer, Zutphen, Kampen, Elburg, Hattem, Hasselt, Harderwijk and Doesburg.

Because maritime trade was dangerous due to piracy, the need arose around the Baltic and North Sea for cooperation and agreements to make shipping safer here. At first these were agreements between merchants, but soon these also became agreements between the cities themselves. By seeking support from each other and by working together, transport became safer and costs could be reduced and everything could therefore also be cheaper. was, and because it could buy and sell larger.

Sources: People-and-Society InfoNu, Wikipedia,

A hanze or hanza meant group, company, community or armed crowd. This concept was initially used by collaborating merchants who wanted to protect each other and thus their trade from thieves and robbers by working together, and later it was applied to all kinds of cities, especially in Northern Europe, who started to cooperate in the economic field. Merchants and cities cooperating gave each other trade privileges, such as exemption from tolls, and in this way stimulated mutual trade and profit.

A hanseatic or hanza was an alliance of merchants and cities during the Middle Ages. By cooperating, they tried to protect and expand their trade. The cities that joined it were called Hanseatic cities.

The Hanseatic League was founded in the 12th century in the beautiful city of Lübeck. This was the first city to join the Hanseatic League and for a long time it remained the most important city of the Hanseatic League. The Netherlands also joined the Hanseatic League. Kampen was one of the first cities to join.

The purpose of the Hanseatic League was to gain protection at sea. There were many pirates and they plundered the many merchant ships. on the ship if you were not careful as a merchant. And then there was no more trade. It was wild on the sea.

The second goal: Is the networking and the negotiation itself. The trade was transported on the kofship. Built a large sturdy ship, the cog. The cog was built of oak and moss. Moss stopped the rain and so there was no leakage and the cog could continue to sail. A replica of this can still be admired in Kampen.

Trade took place between Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Norway, Sweden and the Baltic States. The following trade was transported: Stones, fur, beer, rice, herring and stockfish. These goods were traded between the various countries.

The stones were used to build the Sassenpoort in Zwolle, or the Koornmarktspoort, city gate in Kampen. Or other old buildings like; the Waag in Deventer. The Hanseatic period was a special time in which a lot was built on cooperation and also on the building of cities.

In the 16th century, the Hanseatic League fell apart. Fewer and fewer countries joined the Hanseatic League. This was due to less good cooperation and also because international Hanseatic cities arose such as Antwerp and then in Amsterdam.

In the Hanseatic period, Amsterdam was a small fishing village and Kampen was much more important because of the IJssel. After the Hanseatic period, Amsterdam took over to a large extent, partly due to trade from the East and West Indies and America.

**Trade with the Baltic Sea region and the Netherlands still exists. Trade has become considerably less than in the Hanseatic period.