(Movement): Session at the European Association for Urban History Conference: Cities in Motion 2020

The Hanse is an unparalleled phenomenon in premodern urban history. This session deals with Hanse over the 14th-17th c. as a foundation for the mobility of people and goods, in particular with the Hanse diets where urban representatives from different regions of northern Europe convened to shape economic institutions in an ongoing process of balancing interests and negotiating the ‘common good’.


The Hanse is an unparalleled phenomenon in premodern urban history. For over 300 years, towns from different regions of northern Europe, namely the Low Countries, the northern German territories, Prussia (today Poland), Livonia and Estonia, cooperated on a supra-regional level to promote their economic interests in long distance trading. Self-interests and the common good had to be balanced carefully at the Hanse diets, where a common policy was agreed upon. Whereas diets are nothing special to the Hanse in the premodern world, the extent to which the Hanse towns acted together is indeed unique.

This session wants to deal with Hanse over the 14th-17th c. as a foundation for the mobility of people and goods, in particular with the Hanse diets where urban representatives from different regions of northern Europe convened to shape economic institutions in an ongoing process of balancing interests and negotiating the ‘common good’.

The session invites contributions studying the decision-making of Hanse towns, amongst themselves and with outsiders, in micro studies as well as in a comparative or macro perspective. Papers are welcome that study:

  • the development of the decision-making process over time,
  • the different topics under discussion and possibly the different strategies for reaching a lasting consensus
  • communication between the players engaging in the decision-making process and communication networks
  • the persistence/sustainability of the resolutions made

...and other aspects of Hanse diets and the mechanisms of northern European urban economic policy making, with a focus on institutional developments that promoted the mobility of merchants and other players and of commodities.


  • Spokesperson: Angela Huang, Research Centre for Hanse and Baltic History
  • Keywords: German Hanse | Economic institutions | Urban meeting-culture
  • Time period: Early modern period
  • Topic(s): Economic | Political
  • Study area: Europe