Episode 113– Bergen & Bruges

Today we will talk about the Bryggen, the famous Hanseatic Kontor or trading post in Bergen in western Norway. Bergen itself was never a member of the Hanseatic League, but like The St. Peter’s yard in Novgorod, the steelyard in London and the Kontor of Bruges, the Bryggen in Bergen was a key element of the Hanseatic trading network.

The trade in stockfish from Bergen was never on the same scale as the herring trade off Scania or the trade in beeswax and furs from Novgorod, but it was an important springboard for members of the lower classes to join the long-distance merchants. And the way the Hanse was able to gain a stranglehold over the proud Vikings of Norway is a cautionary tale of failed macro-economic policies.

If you think the Norwegians are unique in falling prey to aggressive Hanseatic trade policies, think again. Even the mighty Bruges, the warehouse of the medieval world” was made to grant these merchants from the Holy Roman empire far reaching privileges. Some have considered these events as the beginnings of a long process of specialisation in Europe that condemned the East to become the giant breadbasket that fed the industrialising West. I doubt things are that simple, but let’s have a look at the different arguments….

Hello and welcome to the History of the Germans: Episode 113 – Bergen and Bruges. Today we will talk about the Bryggen, the famous Hanseatic Kontor or trading post in Bergen in western Norway. Bergen itself was never a member of the Hanseatic League, but like The St. Peter’s yard in Novgorod, the steelyard in London and the Kontor of Bruges, the Bryggen in Bergen was a key element of the Hanseatic trading network.

The trade in stockfish from Bergen was never on the same scale as the herring trade off Scania or the trade in beeswax and furs from Novgorod, but it was an important springboard for members of the lower classes to join the long-distance merchants. And the way the Hanse was able to gain a stranglehold over the proud Vikings of Norway is a cautionary tale of failed macro-economic policies.

If you think the Norwegians are unique in falling prey to aggressive Hanseatic trade policies, think again. Even the mighty Bruges, the warehouse of the medieval world” was made to grant these merchants from the Holy Roman empire far reaching privileges. Some have considered these events as the beginnings of a long process of specialisation in Europe that condemned the East to become the giant breadbasket that fed the industrialising West. I doubt things are that simple, but let’s have a look at the different arguments….

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The city of Bergen is Norway’s second largest. It lies on the Atlantic coast in the west of the country. It is roughly on the same latitude as the Orkneys and the southern tip of Greenland. But thanks to the gulf stream, Bergen’s natural harbour remains ice free throughout most of the winter. Bergen is believed to have emerged as a trading city towards the tail end of the Viking Age. In 1070, the son of Harald Hardrada, king Olaf III, the Peaceful, officially established the city of Bergen.

What made Bergen particularly attractive were the fisheries in the Atlantic, all the way up the Norwegian coast and across to the Faroe Islands, Shetland, Iceland and even Greenland. This is where you could find cod, hake and halibut in abundance. This fish was preserved not by salting it, but by drying it in cold air and wind on wooden racks. Once dried the fish has a storage life of many months, if not years.

Like the herring, demand for this dried fish, commonly known as Stockfish, went through the roof as pious observation of church doctrines spread across continental Europe in the 11th century. And literally all the stockfish came through Bergen. Ever since the Viking age there were close trading links between Norway and the ports of England’s eastern shore, in particular King’s Lynn, Boston, Yarmouth and Hull.

The other port they sent their stockfish too was Bremen on Germany’s North Sea coast. Transport of the stockfish from Bergen was usually handled by the English and German merchants whose larger ships were more efficient on the journey across the North Sea, whilst the Norwegian, Orkney, Shetland, Faroer and Icelandic ships were much better suited for sailing the rough North Atlantic waters.

As Norway gained overlordship of the islands in the North Atlantic, Bergen became a political as well as an economic centre. The king of Norway and his court would spend long periods here and Bergen is often considered the capital of Norway, before it transferred to Christiana, modern day Oslo at the start of the 14th century. The products the merchants from England and Bremen brought to Bergen in exchange for the Stockfish were not just the usual staples of cloth and salt, but also increasingly grain and beer.

During the medieval warming period that began in the middle of the 10th century Norway’s population, like everywhere else in Europe had grown significantly. The riches brought in by the Vikings and then later by the trade in Stockfish gave population a further boost. That left Norway with a problem. The amazing fjords where cliffs rise straight out of the sea and the mountainous hinterland are stunningly beautiful but hard to navigate with a combined harvester. Though there were no combined harvesters in the 13th century, the problem was the same.

Cultivating enough grain to feed the growing population required far too much effort. Hence Norway came to rely on the regular import of grain and that other important foodstuff, beer. That grain and beer came initially from England and northern Germany. But as early as 1248 we hear that the king of Norway pleads with the citizens of Lübeck to send them grain to alleviate a serious famine. The Hansards had their foot in the door. In the following thirty years, two things happened. As we heard last week, the colonisation of the lands east of the Elbe and then east of the Oder River and finally into Prussia accelerated, creating a surplus of agricultural product, in particular rye, oats and barely.

At the same time the demand for fish across Europe kept growing and growing, enticing more and more Norwegians give up farming and take up fishing. In 1260 a desperate Norwegian king orders farmers to stay on their land and keep producing grain to maintain food safety. But to no avail. The rye, oats and barely that came in via the Baltic was simply much cheaper than the hard-won Norwegian harvests, even if accounting for the cost of transportation. The Norwegian farmers who obeyed the king’s demand were still squeezed out by the foreign competition.

Hence Bergen became ever more dependent upon imported grain. In 1284 the inevitable happened. The merchants from Lübeck and other cities along the Baltic shore felt mistreated by the Norwegian authorities in Bergen. And with some justification, since the Norwegian merchants and sea captains had lobbied the king to restrain the German interlopers. Things escalated when some enraged Norwegians attacked a Hanseatic ship.

After that representatives of several Hanseatic cities came together in Wismar and decided to place an embargo on any grain, beer, malt and flour to Bergen. Ships were posted in the Oresund and the other routes out of the Baltic into the North Sea. Any ship trying to bring embargoed goods to Bergen was to be captured, its load seized and the merchant who owned it fined. Initially it was only the Wendisch cities, i.e., Lübeck, Wismar, Rostock, Stralsund, Greifswald, Hamburg and Lüneburg that agreed to the blockade. Riga, Visby and some cities along the North Sea joined in after the blockade had been announced.

Norway now turned to its other suppliers of foodstuff, the English harbours and the great city of Bremen. Bremen had a much longer relationship with Bergen than the other Hanseatic cities and may have hoped to get a leg up on its Baltic competitors in the Stockfish market. We are in the very early stages of the Hanseatic League and there was no such thing as statute or administrative infrastructure to this thing.

The merchants would refer to themselves as Gemeine Koopman or common merchants who traded under the protection the Holy Roman empor.  They would use use the privileges that were given to the emperor. As the empire declined, privileges were granted to cities or associations like the Gotlandfahrer. But who could claim them was rather vague. In the 1284 Bergen crisis some sanctions had to be imposed on Bremen for breaking the blockade.

So the merchants of the Wendisch cities excluded the citizens of Bremen formally from all privileges that the Gemeine Koopman enjoyed across Europe, in particular in Bruges, London and Novgorod. I am not sure I completely understand the legal basis of this move, but it did work in practice. That was the first exclusion from the Hanse, a “Verhansung” of a whole city. Bremen, as we will find out, will remain an odd one out for quite a long time. Despite Bremen breaking the embargo and the English harbours doing their best to keep Bergen supplied with essentials, the Hanseatic League did win.

Norway capitulated, paid damages and granted the German merchants far reaching privileges. These included the right to trade freely in all of Norway south of Bergen, they were freed from almost all taxes and tolls, could transport all products on their own ships and were allowed to set up a permanent establishment in Bergen. That put them into a position far superior not only to the other foreign merchants but to the Norwegians as well. Backed by the threat of another embargo, the Germans expanded their position well beyond the official privileges.

They moved into retail, bypassing the local traders. They bought land and estates in Norway taking over the production of other export products such as butter and meats. The one thing they did not do was trying to trade north of Bergen and on the Orkneys, Faroes, Shetlands, Iceland and Greenland. One theory is that they left it to the Norwegian fishermen because they were better at sailing across the stormy Artic seas.

But that is not completely convincing since ships from Gdansk and Prussia sail to Iceland in the 15th century. It is more likely that they realised that there was a limit to what the Norwegians were willing to endure. They had a lot less concern for the men from England and Bremen. They were ruthlessly squeezed out as their trading cost were much higher thanks to the taxes and tolls they still had to pay.

The Hansards took over the their trade routes and bring the Stockfish to the harbours on the eastern shore of England. There they would load up with wool they would sell in Flanders where they would pick up cloth going back to the Baltic. By the end of the 13th century the Hanseatic merchants, led by the association of Bergenfahrer in Lübeck, had a monopoly on stockfish in Europe.

And that monopoly was managed out of the Tyske Bryggen, the Bridge of the Germans, a historic harbour district in Bergen. In this district the Hanse built in total 30 merchant yards. They were constructed on a plot 10 to 20m wide and 100m long. There was a representative large house facing the harbour and behind it a courtyard with smaller 3-story houses and a storage facility at the end. Each of these merchant yards had about 90 rooms providing accommodation and storage facilities for almost 2,000 people. Given Bergen’s total population was just 10,000 the importance of this community becomes is quite apparent. The traders who came to Bergen were a rough lot.

Firstly, they were all men. No women were allowed on the Brygge. In particular there was to be no fraternisation with the locals. The Hanseatic cities who controlled the Kontor from afar were very worried that the merchants in Bergen would integrate into the local society, marry Norwegian women and over time turn Bergen into an independent merchant city.

These constraints meant that most of the inhabitants of the Bryggen were young, unmarried men, taking this as their springboard for a career in the world of long-distance trading. As I said before, the trade in Stockfish was much smaller than the herring trade. Not only was it less profitable, Bergen was also a hardship posting beyond the celibacy thing. The weather is famously challenging with 200 days of consecutive rain not uncommon and the winters are long and dark. Bergen became the place where young, ambitious men without family backing would have to go.

They would usually join a partnership with an established merchant. The young and ambitious guy would put in the labour and live in Bergen, whilst the other partner would put in the capital to get the business going. Profits would then be shared 50/50. If things went well the young entrepreneur would return from Bergen after a couple of years with sufficient capital to either send someone else to take his job on the Bryggen or expand to become a merchant across multiple trade routes.

Given that the Bergen Kontor was one of the few established routes to progress into the citizenship of the great trading cities, the young men of Bergen protected it against an influx of the spoiled scions of the great families. And the way they did that was through a challenging initiation rite, the Bergen Games that took place around Pentecost. All new arrivals on the Bryggen had to undergo three trials.

The first were the “Water Games” where the novice was thrown into the harbour and every time he resurfaced and climbed into a boat, he would be beaten mercilessly with twigs. That he had to do three times. In other sources it was said that the man was keelhauled three times, which I do not believe as that tends to be rather deadly. The second game was called the Castle Game. That involved a mock trial at the end of which the rookie was sentenced to a serious beating. That was handed out in a tent and the musicians were ordered to bang their cymbals to drown out the screams. After that the black and blue novice would return to the table and had to sing a cheerful bawdy song, preferably without spitting out too many of his remaining teeth. The last game was the Smoke Game. There the trainee was lowered into the chimney of the communal kitchen or into a barrel where a fire was lit. Often times the young man’s colleagues would look for fuel that made the smoke even more biting and painful. Whilst the delinquent is gradually being asphyxiated, he has to answer silly questions. If answers deemed not sufficiently amusing the torture was extended until the good sense of humour returned. The vast majority of participants survived, but they made sure that much embellished stories of the horrors circulated amongst the overindulged sons of the great burghers of Lübeck, Rostock, Wismar and Hamburg, leaving Bergen firmly in the hands of the great unwashed. What did not help in keeping discipline amongst this rough lot was that the Brygge was effectively extraterritorial. In 1370 king Haakon VI of Norway sent a list of complaints to the diet of the Hanseatic cities. He complains that whenever one of the men of the Bryggen had committed a serious crime, for instance murder, the Hanse would move him out of Bergen on their ships, thereby frustrating royal justice. Specifically the merchants had attacked the royal bailiff and made him do their bidding. They had broken into a monastery, abducted one of the royal servants and had him beheaded. When accused of the crime they bullied the bishop of Bergen to absolve them of the crime, threatening to burn the bishop’s hall and the whole city. Bergen by the way was built in wood and burned down quite regularly, the last time in 1955. No wonder the Norwegians tried to get rid of the Hanse merchants. But the stranglehold over the food supply tightened ever further. After the Black Death killed a large proportion of the population, local food production tanked even further, deepening the dependency on the cheap grain from the Baltic. They also established a credit system, offering the fishermen a part of the pay for their fish upfront in exchange for both interest and a fixed price for their product. The latter cut them out of any profit resulting from upward price volatility. In the mid-15th century tensions escalated to the point that the German merchants cut down the royal bailiff, the bishop and 60 Norwegians before burned down a monastery, all that without the king of Norway being able to do anything about it. The Hanseatic cities that formally set the rules for the Bryggen tried constantly to rein in the excesses and it is likely that they did succeed, at least sometimes. It is hard to conceive that the community in the Bryggen could have existed in a constant state of conflict with the city around it. There are stories of positive interactions between merchants and Norwegians, in particular with the fishermen. We also find Norwegian women being put in the wills of Hanseatic Merchants, suggesting the prohibitions weren’t quite as draconically enforced. The reign of the Kontor in Bergen came to an end when it got under almost sole control of the city of Lübeck. Other cities like Gdansk felt excluded from the trade in stockfish and opened up their own trade routes to Iceland and the islands. Once the solidarity of the Hanseatic cities had collapsed, the threat of an embargo disappeared. The King of Norway allowed direct trade outside Bergen and the city’s central role in the trade of Stockfish ended. The burghers of Lübeck sold their merchant’s yards to their apprentices or Norwegians and over time the Bryggen stopped being the Tyske Bryggen, the Bridge of the Germans, but just the Bryggen. Formally that name change happened in 1945 after the German troops that occupied Norway had left, but that is a story for another time. And if you want to find out what a Hanseatic Kontor looked like, you have to go to Bergen where it still stands, a Unesco World Heritage site. Bergen and Novgorod were not the only Kontors the Hanse maintained. There are two more, Bruges and London. Let’s talk about Bruges first. Bruges is today one of the great cultural destinations of Belgium. People walk through the picturesque alleyways, admire the canals and the market square with its towering Belfry before taking a look at the Beguinenhof. What they often fail to realise is how unbelievably important Bruges was in 13th century. It was the true centre of the commercial world north of the Alps. It was the place where Scots and Englishmen brought their wool, Dutch and Frisians brought cattle, merchants from La Rochelle and Bayonne delivered wine. All Iberian peoples were present, Basques, Navarrese, Castilians, Portuguese bringing iron, fruit and again wool. In 1277 a fleet from Genoa arrived, opening up a direct trade route between Italy and Northern Europe via the Atlantic coast. Moreover, the Italians brought with them the emerging art of finance. The great banking houses of Venice, Genoa and later Florence set up shop in Bruges, accepting and issuing letters of credit and bills of exchange. A bourse was opened in 1309, one of the first of its kind. There entrepreneurs could raise funding for audacious trading adventures from other merchants or from the representatives of the great banking houses. If you look at the Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery, you can see one of these Italian bankers who had settled in Bruges. He may wear a silly hat and awkward posture, but underneath it is a man as shrewd and as ruthless as any New York hedge fund manager, and he did pretty much the same things, buying and selling participations in enterprises, funding start-ups and helping to buy out retiring merchants, just with an abacus instead of three blinking computer screens. Unsurprisingly the Baltic Hanse was keen to be present in this epicentre of European trade. They brought in their herring, stockfish, grain, beer, copper, pelts, butter, beeswax and ash needed for the weaving process. At the same time they could find literally anything medieval artisans and farmers could produce. All kinds of luxury goods from the Mediterranean could be picked up and sold on to some Swedish count or Teutonic Grand master. But mostly they were interested in Flemish woollen cloth that had become the most desirable kind of textile across Europe. In 1252 the countess of Flanders offered the German merchants to set up a physical Kontor in Damme, the harbour of Bruges. It would have been a place very much like the Bryggen in Bergen and the Peterhof in Novgorod. A place for the Hanseatic merchants to stay when in Bruges, to store their wares and buy and sell goods. But that did not work out as either the citizens of Bruges pushed back or the Hansards went too far in their demands. Still the countess granted the merchants from the various cities of the Holy Roman empire wide-ranging privileges, including to be exempt from trial by combat, not to be made liable for the debt of other Hanseatic merchants and to be exempt from the lex naufragii, which allowed the locals to seize all property washed ashore after a shipwreck. They were also given lower tariffs on their goods and the right to maintain their own weighing scales at the harbour in Damme. The community of the Gemeine Koopmans, the Common Merchants grew at the same breakneck speed as the city of Bruges expanded in the 13th century. Initially it was the men from Bremen who had been welcomed for their beer, but soon the Lübecker and Hamburger overtook them. Though they did not have their own separate yard, there were two streets named after these cities suggesting that many of them congregated in designated inns or yards. And this where we encounter more of the inland members of the Hanse. We have already heard that Dortmund was crucial in the early development of Lübeck and the Gotlandfahrer, as were Soest and Münster. These Westphalian cities lay along the Hellweg, an East-West link between the Elbe River and the Rhine. Many Baltic goods travelled down that way to bring say herring to the faithful in Nuremberg. Equally goods from the south like wine from the Rhine and Moselle valley travelled north along this road. Where it hits the Rhine the city of Duisburg beame a major inland harbour which at least during my childhood was the biggest inland harbour in the world. Today that is apparently Nanjing in China though that could also be classified as a seaport. Though Dortmund is initially the most important of these Westphalian Hanseatic cities, there is another massive one that takes over from the 13th century onwards, and that is Cologne. But today is not the day to discuss Cologne, that will be next week. But suffice to say that Cologne too was closely involved in the trade with Bruges. The city I want to talk about in this episode is my favourite city in Germany and the place I still feel most at home, and that is Hamburg. Germany’s second largest city is also one of the older ones beyond the Limes, the ancient Roman defensive wall against the Germanic tribes. Saint Ansgar, the Apostle to the North was posted to the Hammaburg in 834 and built a wooden church there. Over the centuries that followed the city remained a modest outpost despite its formal role as a seat of an archbishop. The local Abodrites as well as Danish Vikings burned the settlement multiple times. And even when Lothar of Supplinburg and Henry the Lion defeat the Slavic tribes that did not mean that Hamburg was safe. Various Saxon noblemen burned it as late as 1138. The counts of Holstein had become overlords of Hamburg in the 1120s but most of their focus was on developing Lübeck. Only once they lost Lübeck to Henry the Lion and failed to get it back after the duke of Saxony had fallen did they focus on Hamburg. In 1188 do they establish the Neustadt, the new Town built on the site of the former ducal castle. It is again settlers from Flanders and Holland who make up the first inhabitants of the city. Hamburg claims that it received a wide range of freedoms and privileges from the emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1189. It is now firmly established that this letter is a fake, which does not stop the Hamburgers from celebrating the date of its issuance as their annual Hafengeburtstag or harbour anniversary. Whether the fake was a deliberate attempt to gain rights the merchants of Hamburg never possessed or was just meant as evidence of rights they did possess either legally or by tradition is in equal measure unclear as it is irrelevant. By the mid 13th century Hamburg acted like a free imperial city setting its own laws and jurisdiction. But Hamburg was at the time a minor city within the League. Its purpose was mainly to act as the North Sea harbour for Lübeck. The Hanseatic merchants preferred landing the goods from Scania, Sweden and Novgorod in Lübeck and then transport them overland or by river to Hamburg from where they would then be shipped to Bruges or London. That explains the importance of Hamburg merchants at the Kontor in Bruges. And that gets us back to the role of the Hanse in Bruges. The local merchants became increasingly irritated by the foreigners gaining ever more privileges in the city. It was the counts of Flanders who granted them these rights which often came at the expense of the locals. Tensions between the two groups rose, not dissimilar to what happened in Bergen. The German and Spanish merchants claimed that the locals disrespected their rights, whilst the people of Bruges said that the foreigners disregarded the obligation only to sell to citizens of Bruges. The latter was quite important. As long as the citizens of Bruges could prevent the foreigners from trading directly with each other, they could make a very decent living just by standing in the middle drawing a margin from both sides. In 1280 the conflict burst out into the open. The Hanse and the Spaniards sat down with the count of Flanders and gained the right to move their staple to Aardenburg, 20 km east of Bruges. What that meant is that these traders were allowed to bring their goods to Aardenburg and sell them there to whoever they wanted, basically cutting out the citizens of Bruges. That was a high stakes game. Because it wasn’t just the citizens of Bruges who lost out in this. Since not all wholesalers operating in Bruges had moved to Aardenburg, there was a lot of trading the Hanse merchants could now no longer access from their new location. It was essentially an embargo that went two ways. In this conflict the question is, who has more to lose. The Hanse merchants needed to find new buyers replacing those who did not dare to upset the citizens of Bruges by coming to Aardenburg. Ad they needed to find a way to buy cloth from the great Flemish weaving towns, including Bruges, for resale in the Baltic. If they could not bring the cloth, competitors could bypass them and unwind the whole Hanseatic trading system in the Baltic. What it boiled down to was not just a question of stubbornness and discipline, but also a question of whether either side could find substitutes. I.e., could the Hanse merchants find other places to sell their grain, beer, herring, beeswax and furs and buy cloth directly in Ypres, Ghent and elsewhere, whilst for Bruges the question was how desperately do they need the products from the Baltic. An initial analysis suggests that Bruges should be in a stronger position. They are the world’s trading centre. Losing the margin on some significant trade volumes could be painful but not devastating. Whilst the Hanse was staring down the barrel of not being able to procure the most important good sold in the North, woollen cloth from Flanders. If the embargo persisted, the discipline amongst the various Hanseatic cities deprived of this important supply should quickly fall apart. Still, the Hanse prevailed. The citizens of Bruges caved within mere months and agreed to a wide range of further concessions, including the big one, they allowed the Hansards to trade directly with other foreigners. Why did Bruges cave? The sources do not say and my trawling through the secondary literature was also unsuccessful. My hypothesis is that the most powerful argument of the Hanse was grain and beer. Flanders was not quite as dependent upon Baltic supply of grain as Norway, but it did need to bring in provisions from abroad, be that England, Northern France or the Baltic. Baltic grain was rye, oats and barley which featured mainly in the diet of the poor. Rich people ate wheat bread. So when the Hanse cut the supply of the foodstuff of the lower classes, there was no simple way to replace it with other product at a similar price. The city councils in the Middle Ages weren’t democratically elected representatives of all the inhabitants of the city. They were usually comprised of the Patrician upper classes and new members were co-opted by their peers, not elected. In other words, they were the representatives of the city oligarchy tasked with preserving the existing social order. As a consequence they lived in constant fear of uprisings. Flanders in particular was regularly convulsed by strikes and uprisings of the weavers who toiled in huge almost industrial facilities. Fear the embargo could trigger an imminent hunger revolt of the city’s underclass seems to have forced the council’s hand, overriding the more long-term challenge to the Hanseatic trade system. Given this embargo had been so successful, the League would use the same technique again in 1307/09, 1358/60 1388/92 and 1436/38 and was successful in all these instances gaining new privileges every time. Bruges may today be one of the lesser known trading posts, but was in reality the by far most important Kontor of the Hanseatic League. Whilst I am sure winning the fight with Bruges’ city council was celebrated across the Baltic as a great success and many a brick gothic cathedral bears witness to the economic gains made by the burghers of Lübeck, Wismar, Rostock, Gdansk, Riga, Tallin and so many more. But some economic historians believe that this deal had serious negative implications for Eastern Europe. The export of grain funded the import of manufactured goods, in particular cloth which meant there was little point and also little chance for a manufacturing industry to emerge in the great Hanseatic cities. And it is indeed true that few if any of the Hanseatic cities developed a manufacturing capability beyond brewing beer. The Hanse was a trading system designed to ship commodities from east to west and bring back higher value goods. By establishing export routes for grain and other commodities the Hanse helped to first establish and then sustain the great agricultural estates in Poland, Prussia and the Baltic states. And these estates kept a small class of landowners, often of German extraction in power, suppressing entrepreneurship and democracy. At least that is the argument. Do I buy that? It is certainly an interesting way to explain the split of Europe in the 19th century into an agricultural east and an industrialised West. But then there are many other factors that help or hinder the emergence of innovative economies. The rule of law, absence of military conflict and access to capital to name a few. And one can argue that is exactly what the Hanseatic League provided in its cities, the rule of law, safety from military attack and access to capital. So I am not yet convinced we can blame the Hanseatic merchants in the 13th century for Russian autocracy in the 19th. This is not the last time we will hear about the Kontors in Bruges and Bergen. But we are done for today. Next week we will look at the most famous of the Hanseatic Kontors, the Steelyard in London. I hope you will join us again. Before I go, let me thank all of you who are supporting the show, in particular the Patrons who have kindly signed up on patreon.com/historyofthegermans. It is thanks to you this show does not have to do advertising for products you do not want to hear about. If Patreon isn’t for you, another way to help the show is sharing the podcast directly or boosting its recognition on social media. If you share, comment or retweet a post from the History of the Germans it is more likely to be seen by others, hence bringing in more listeners. My most active places are Twitter @germanshistory and my Facebook page History of the Germans Podcast. As always, all the links are in the show notes.     And just to remind you, the sub-podcast The Hanseatic League is still running. So if you want to point a friend or relative towards the History of the Germans but want to avoid confusion, just send him there. The Hanseatic League is available everywhere you can get the History of the Germans.

And last but not least the bibliography. For this episode I again relied heavily on:

Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz: (3) Rules of Inclusion, Rules of Exclusion: The Hanseatic Kontor in Bergen in the Late Middle Ages and its Normative Boundaries | arvids alvea – Academia.edu

Carsten Mueller Boysen: Die Deutsche Bruecke in Bergen in Die Hanse, Lebenswirklichkeit und Mythos, herausgegeben von Jürgen Bracker, Volker Henn and Rainer Postel

Philippe Dollinger: Die Hanse

Rolf Hammel-Kieslow: Die Hanse

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