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The historic Hanseatic League had an essential role in shaping the development of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). It can even be seen as a forerunner of the EU in the voluntary cooperation of towns that shaped premodern society profoundly and created a lasting community of cities.

The rich cultural heritage of the Hanseatic League is being individually presented in Hanseatic towns, but not yet as a common asset at the transnational level. Rather, Hanseatic towns and communities are perceived as a collection of individual places, lacking links to experience the Hanse heritage as one of the main cultural and historic roots and a source of regional identity of the BSR.

To address this gap, the Union of Cities carries out the Interreg project HansaLink in cooperation with the research institute FGHO, the Gotland Museum and the Municipality of Veliky Novgorod. It aims at developing transnational links based on historic trade routes dating back to medieval times, allowing citizens and visitors alike to experience a culture shaped by trade, individual encounters, and common economic policy.

The project runs from October 2020 to September 2021 and is co-financed through the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme. It is a so called seed money project, which builds the conceptual basis for thematic Hanseatic routes, which will be implemented in one (or more) follow-up project(s).