Hanseatic Hattem: originated from a cooperation of North-German merchants, the Hanseatic alliance became a powerful economic factor in the 14th and 15th century. Protecting affiliated merchants and increasing trade opportunities were its main objectives. Preservation in the widest sense of the word was of pivotal importance to this trade community.
The hanseatic alliance through combining its forces, managed to aquire several favourable privileges. Furthermore, individual merchants were protected against the whims of feudal lieges. Exchange of knowledge and information were an important side benefit. In its glory days the Hanseatic alliance counted an astounding 150 cities among its ranks, mainly in current day Germany and the Netherlands, but also in Scandinavia, Flanders all the way down to Spain and Portugal. So what did they trade?
Jacks of all trades
The trade flow consisted of products such as salt, fish, wheats, wood, beer, wine, sheets, beeswax and furs. The sea and rivers form an important chain in the transportation of these goods, thanks to the development of the cog, the most important trade ship up until the 15th century. In the Hanseatic cities there was a vast increase in trade activity during these centuries and the economy flourished like never before.
A golden age
The wealth expressed itself in imposing new structures, graceful merchants houses and impressive trade offices. Originally small settlements grew out to be powerful cities with fortified city walls with gates and the likes. The wealth also exerted influence in other walks of life. Painters, architects, poets and philosophers settled in the city and ensured a flourish artistic era. One could speak of a Golden Age ‘avant la lettre’.Elements that have left their combined tracks along the beautiful Hanseatic cities of the river IJssel!