"...dat wie up dat gemelde kunthoer tho Brugge...eyn kleyn upmercken gehat und noch hebben...".

Neue Forschungen zur Geschichte des Brüggener Kontors


  • Volker Henn




The following essay gives a comprehensive survey of the studies on the history of the Hanseatic Kontor at Bruges published during the last 25 years approximately, in Germany as well as in other European countries. The report starts with the lectures given at a conference at Bruges hosted by Hansischer Geschichtsverein in 1988, the aim of which it was to document the state of research achieved at that time and to raise new questions. At greater length the results of the Kiel-Greifswald research project initiated by Werner Paravicini will be discussed. The starting point
of the project was the rediscovery of customs accounts being preserved in the Bruges city archives. They include the names of more than 1800 Hanseatic merchants who had paid the excise duties on wine and beer during the years 1360 up to 1388. The analysis of this source by means of prosopographic methods has revealed a number of new insights into the business activities of the German merchants, their integration into the local society, the role of the Bruges hostellers and money changers, the Organisation of the Hanseatic trade with Flanders or the network structure of the Hanse itself. It goes without saying that further publications dealing with the different aspects of the history of the Kontor and having been prepared irrespective of the said project will also be taken into consideration.
However, since the choice of the subjects has been dependent of the authors’ individual interests definite focuses of research cannot be traced.
Finally some attention will be paid to the communities of other foreign merchants in Bruges, especially those from Italy and the Iberian Peninsula. Though they were competitors on the one side, they were trading partners on the other side, having common interests in the face o f the local authorities.