Bremen, Harderwijk und die Zuiderzee


  • Adolf E. Hofmeister



Bremen, Harderwijk and the Zuiderzee
The Harderwijk peace treaty of 8 May 1446, negotiated by envoys of the duchy of Burgundy and the Hanse town Bremen and ratified by duke Philip the Good of Burgundy on 8 July 1446, brought to an end a war which had lasted for four years, during which Bremen had waged war on the Burgundian territories of Holland, Zealand, Flanders and Brabant in order to gain compensation for ships and goods which had been captured (mainly by privateers) in the conflict between Holland and the Wendish towns (1438– 41). During the latter conflict, neutral ships were been seized if they were suspected to be carrying Dutch or Flemish goods – a practice which also affected skippers and merchants from Kampen, Harderwijk and Deventer. Therefore Kampen repeatedly took the initiative to midwife an agreement between Bremen and Holland. At first, this failed to produce an acceptable result because Flanders could not be included. In the end, however, the negotiations in Harderwijk in April and May 1446 succeeded in bringing the war to an end. Bremen and Stade obtained financial compensation, to be funded by the towns of Holland and Zealand. Evidence of direct connections between Bremen and the Zuiderzee towns begins in the 14th century and concerns quarrels with citizens of Kampen and Deventer or the naturalization of immigrants from the Zuiderzee towns in Bremen. Beginning in the 12th and 13th centuries, vessels from Holland, Utrecht and Flanders on the one hand and from Bremen and Stade on the other used the shipping route via Vecht, Almere (later Zuiderzee) and Vlie for traffic and trade. From the 13th century, merchants from Bremen and from the Zuiderzee are found side by side in Norway and Scania trading in fish. In the 15th century, merchants of Kampen bought grain in Bremen, whereas merchants of Bremen purchased cloth in Deventer. Furthermore, Kampen, Deventer and Zwolle mediated in Bremen’s quarrels with merchants from Osnabrück and Cologne, with the town of Groningen and especially with Antwerpen. In the 16th century, the political and economic situation of the Zuiderzee towns changed radically, as they were first incorporated into the state of emperor Charles V, and then joined the Republic of the United Netherlands. At the same time, Bremen’s trade shifted to West Friesland and Amsterdam. Thus the intermediary position of the Zuiderzee Hanse towns – poised between Bremen and Holland – came to an end.