Hoeker Festival

Westphalian Hansa

HH, HB, HL, HRO, HST - Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck, Rostock and Stralsund are five major German Hanseatic cities that almost everyone recognizes today from their licence plates. However, merchants from Westphalia also had a major influence on long-distance trade in the Baltic region. Today, almost 50 Hanseatic cities are members of the Westphalian Hansa.

The Hansa in Westphalia?

This or similar are the reactions when the cities of the Westphalian Hanseatic League present themselves as Hanseatic cities. After all, it is the large cities on the North Sea and Baltic Sea that everyone knows as Hanseatic cities. However, one should know that it was mainly merchants from Westphalia who settled in Lübeck, the queen of the Hanseatic League, on their trading routes across Europe and from there opened up the trading areas of the time.

Originally founded to represent the interests of merchants and to protect each other, the Hanseatic League developed into a powerful trade alliance that enabled its members to open up new markets on a privileged basis. In the 14th century, the main trade routes shifted to the sea routes, so that the Westphalians inevitably became marginalised in Hanseatic trade. Nevertheless, many Westphalian towns remained associated with the Hanseatic League until its demise in 1669.

A good 300 years later, former Hanseatic towns from Westphalia revived the old alliance. On 25 June 1983, 20 of them signed the founding charter of the Westphalian Hansa in Herford and designated the old imperial and Hanseatic city of Herford as their seat. The Westphalian Hansa currently has 47 members. Based on the cross-border Hanseatic idea, a close cooperation developed with the international Union of Cities THE HANSA.

Since 2016, the Westphalian Hansa has repositioned itself: innovative, modern and future-oriented! The focus is on awakening interest in getting to know the cities better. The Westphalian Hanseatic Day, which takes place once a year, offers an opportunity to do this.

The member cities of this new Hanseatic League want to show people that the old Hanseatic idea can once again contribute to increasing the attractiveness of a city and exerting an attraction that is expected of a modern Hanseatic city.

You can find more info on our website https://www.westfaelische-hanse.de/