Die Zuiderzeestädte in der Hanse
Informationsaustausch, Konflikte und Konfliktlösung
The Zuiderzee towns and the Hanse: information exchange, conflicts and conflict resolution.
This article uses the Zuiderzee region, and in particular Deventer, as a case study, to put forward two theses. First of all, that the exchange of information was a vital component of conflict resolution – and more broadly, of conflict management – within the Hanse. The analysis shows that the concepts of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’, which have been recurrent in the discussions on the position of the Zuiderzee towns in the Hanse, were very relative. Wherever a conflict occurred which needed to be dealt with, information circles emerged as well, as the production and circulation of copies of letters and documents shows. The second thesis is that the exchange of information on conflict within the Hanse was embedded in a style of communication which was unique in the European context, and at the same time difficult to grasp because it was quite implicit and utterly self-evident to contemporaries. This leaps to the eye if we study the ramifications of a change of political context for Hanseatic towns like Deventer, which became part of the Habsburg Netherlands in 1528. A property conflict in the 1540s concerning a ship captured by Scotsmen, which was later bought by Deventer burghers, illustrates this. Rather than shaping their arguments to mesh with the new political conditions, they argued their case along the lines in which conflicts, and their resolution, had been handled and communicated in the Hanse.