Warendorp Hansevolk

Merchant guilds

The typical Hanseatic merchant was a long-distance trader who traded abroad on a large scale and enjoyed a high reputation in his own city. Until the middle of the 13th century, merchants usually accompanied their goods to foreign markets themselves to sell them or exchange them for other goods.

From travelling merchants to entrepreneurs

The practice of the Hanseatic merchants changed over time: soon they no longer travelled to the target market with their goods themselves, but left this task to their servants. They now conducted their business from their desks at home. This meant that a merchant could trade in different places at the same time. A good education was essential for this. The merchant apprenticeship lasted several years and often included a longer stay abroad.

The Lords of the money

With their self-confidence, daring and financial strength, the Hanseatic merchants shaped the economy and politics of a large part of northern and central Europe. Attributes such as honesty, trustworthiness and solidarity were attributed to them. Although historically not without controversy, the image of the honourable merchant is still present in many Hanseatic cities today.

Storymap "Lords of the Money"

The Bergenfahrer

Many merchants with the same destination joined together in sailing communities, the so-called Hansa, for mutual protection and assistance.  The Hansa were equipped with letters of protection and had the right to regulate the affairs of their community themselves. They elected a common headman (Ältermann) from their ranks. A particularly vivid example is the community of the Bergenfahrer, which came into being in Lübeck and other Hanseatic towns around 1343.

Storymap "Bergenfahrer"