Hansetag Kampen Abschlussparade

Union of Cities THE HANSA

Today, the Hanseatic cities are reconnecting with their great past: In 1980, the International Union of Cities THE HANSA was founded in Zwolle to revive the common heritage of the Hanseatic era. THE HANSA now has almost 200 members in 16 countries, making it one of the largest voluntary associations of towns in the world.


Any town or municipality that belonged to the historical Hanseatic League and was associated with it (e.g. as a kontor, trading post or through regular trade relations) can become a member of THE HANSA.

Today, it is no longer about asserting economic interests, but rather about exchange and cross-border cooperation. The Union of Cities aims to promote the cultural heritage and Hanseatic identity in the member cities and to work together for a united and peaceful Europe. Essential topics of cooperation are tourism, culture and sustainability.

With the "International Hanseatic Day of Modern Times", THE HANSA picks up the tradition of the medieval Hanseatic Days. Every year, a different Hanseatic city hosts the event to celebrate the common past and international understanding.


The highest body is the Assembly of Delegates, to which all member cities can send their delegates. The Assembly of Delegates meets once a year at the International Hanseatic Day and makes all important decisions.

In each country, the member cities elect one city to represent them on the Commission. Germany has five seats on the Commission due to the large number of Hanseatic cities. The youthHansa and the Board are also represented on the Commission. The Commission makes recommendations to the Assembly of Delegates and meets at least twice a year.

The Board consists of the President (called "Vormann") and representatives from four other Hanseatic cities. The mayor of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck is always the Vormann, the other members of the Board are elected for three years.

Board members 2022-25: Jan Lindenau/Lübeck (Vormann), Inger Harlevi/Visby (vice president), Dr. Christof Bartsch/Brilon, Jānis Rozenbergs/Cēsis, Peter Snijders/Zwolle

The Association HanseVerein promotes the work of the Union of Cities THE HANSA, which has no legal capacity, and its development as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. It supports the cooperation of the Hanseatic cities, the implementation of projects and the application for funding. The association is the legal entity coordinating the Cultural Route THE HANSA.

youthHansa - THE HANSA of tomorrow!

youthHansa - the youth organisation of the Union of Cities THE HANSA - has existed since 1998. The aim is to make young people aware of the Hanseatic heritage and to facilitate youth encounters based on the value-binding umbrella of the Hanseatic League. The young people take part in the International Hanseatic Day and develop projects that make an important contribution to international understanding.

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Project and working groups

Many cooperation actiivties of THE HANSA are implemented through project and working groups. This gives all member cities the opportunity to work together on current issues, integrated into an international network of cities with a similar history. At present, the cities are working together on the following topics: Fair trade, sustainability, tourism, art (HANSEartWORKS), cooperation of archives.

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The HANSA Guild advises and supports THE HANSA in its activities and initiates its own projects. As a rule, the members of the Guild have been particularly committed to THE HANSA during their previous professional or voluntary activities and, as members of the Guild, continue to contribute their experience to the work of the Association of Towns and Cities. The HANSA Guild was founded by resolution of the Assembly of Delegates in 2004 and has been an integral part of THE HANSA since then.

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