Fairtrade Kakako_Ilkay Karakurt

Fair Hansa

In the Middle Ages, many Hanseatic cities became rich through long-distance trade. But things were not always fair. The aim of the working group "Fair Hansa" is to support today's member cities of THE HANSA in promoting fair trade and to participate in the international Fairtrade Towns campaign.

What is Fair Trade?

All over the world, people developed economic and trade relations based on mutual benefit and solidarity over the centuries. Fair Trade applies these ideas to today's challenges of international trade in a globalised world. Fair Trade is based on production and trade practices that put people and the environment before financial profit. In addition, Fair Trade connects producers and consumers through greater transparency in trade chains. By showing that greater equity in world trade is possible, Fair Trade also seeks to involve citizens in reformulating trade rules to meet the needs of small producers, workers and consumers.

Fair Trade is not about charity, but about partnership for change and development through trade, and thus also in the tradition of the historic Hanseatic League.


The Fairtrade Towns campaign

Fairtrade Towns are part of this. They specifically promote fair trade at the municipal level and are the result of a successful networking of people from civil society, politics and business who are committed to fair trade in their home countries. In Germany, there is a growing awareness of fair production conditions and socially and environmentally friendly production and trade structures.

At the municipal level, fair trade plays an important role in all areas of society, increasingly also in public procurement.

Fair Trade in THE HANSA

In the Union of Cities THE HANSA, the topic was taken up for the first time at the 34th International Hanseatic Day in Lübeck. As part of the Hanseatic Day, a lecture was given on the question "How fair was the trade of the (medieval) Hanseatic League?", fair trade products were served and large-scale campaigns were carried out. Fair trade also made it onto the agenda of THE HANSA's most important decision-making body:  In July 2016, the Fair Hansa Working Group was founded and in the following years, the Assembly of Delegates spoke out in favour of promoting Fair Trade at the Hanseatic Days in Viljandi and Bergen. Since 2021, the commitment to Fair Trade has been anchored in the statutes of THE HANSA.

Exhibition "The path to the Fair Hansa"

The poster exhibition "The path to the Fair Hansa" illustrates the importance of fair trade for THE HANSA and the activities of the working group "Fair Hansa". It is regularly shown in the Hanseatic cities, e.g. as part of the International Hanseatic Day. The exhibition is available for download in four languages (English, German, Polish, Latvian) and can also be borrowed.

Hanse Trading 2018

Hanse Trading was a very successful project in the course of the 38th Hanseatic Day 2018 in Rostock and served to support the traditional Hanse ships that came to the event. For a freight rate of 800 euros per 38 kilograms of goods, fair products from European Hanseatic cities, among others, were transported to Rostock on traditional ships, just like in medieval Hanseatic times. The proceeds benefited the participating ships. In Lübeck, goods from Hamburg, Lüneburg, Dortmund and Lübeck were loaded and stowed. The cogs from Kampen and Wismar as well as the cargo ships "Hiiu Ingel" and "Nordlys" also landed typical and fair products from the Hanseatic cities in Rostock. During the Hanseatic Day they were sold at the stands of the respective Hanseatic cities.

Fair Hansa at the Hanseatic Day 2022


Katja Mentz, working group Fair Hansa


Documents available for download