Good Business, Bad Business

The Hanseatic Merchandise Exchange Monopoly © H.-J. Draeger / © BOYENS BUCHVERLAG

The right of piling stock in a city demanded that passing merchants about to unload their goods had to offer them to the citizens for three days. This regulation brought great wealth to the cities. With the clever guidance of routes and some strategic obstacles the cities took care that no detour was possible.

Dutch competition © H.-J. Draeger / © BOYENS BUCHVERLAG

Increasing competition from the Dutch and the English became more and more evident to the Hanse merchants.

Double-entry bookkeeping © H.-J. Draeger / © BOYENS BUCHVERLAG

Merchants from Southern Germany had adopted the double-entry bookkeeping from Italy earlier than their competitors from Northern Germany, which made money transfer a lot clearer and more effective. Traders were better informed about profit and loss and were able to make decisions more precisely. This gave them an advantage over the long-distance merchants of the Hanseatic League.

Ilmenau-Ewer and Stecknitz-Prahm © H.-J. Draeger / © BOYENS BUCHVERLAG

The boats “Ilmenau-Ewer” and “Stecknitz-Pram” served as transport for salt between Lüneburg and Lübeck. They were hauled along the riverbanks against the river currents. With the construction of the Stecknitz canal in 1398, which connected the small rivers Stecknitz and Delvenau, a water connection via the Elbe and Ilmenau was created. In the salt warehouses of Lüneburg and Lübeck the “white gold” was stored temporarily.

Collapse of the Schonenmarkt © H.-J. Draeger / © BOYENS BUCHVERLAG

In the 16th century the Scania market, which had provided prosperity to the Hanse for a long time, also collapsed. Nets and tons remained empty. Now the Dutch caught vast quantities of herring in the Northern Sea.