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Forum News

Hanse and International Law? Governance Dimensions

18. Dezember 2023

Organiser: Universität Hamburg

Place: Europäisches Hansemuseum, Lübeck (Germany)
Time: 01.02.2024 - 03.02.2024

Deadline for registration: 14.01.2024

This conference brings together Hanse historians, legal historians, and international law experts to explore the governance dimension of the Hanse and its repercussions for the understanding of contemporary international law.

For decades Hanse historians have been struggling to adequately conceptualise the interplay between Hanse towns, Kontors, and merchants, as the execution of political and legal power in the multidimensional configuration of the Hanse can neither be adequately explained by applying the analogy of the “nation-state” nor by reducing it to private networks. The legal and functional nature of the Hanse has therefore been hard to grasp. Scholars of public international law likewise push on overcoming the focus on the “nation-state” that has been prevailing since the wake of the international order that emerged from the Westphalian Peace. Explaining the multilevel governance structures of today’s globalised international legal order requires new perspectives and approaches. The Hanse serves as an interesting historical example of the complex coordination between various more or less independent actors and institutions.

The conference will allow us to address a range of topics such the (legal) character of the Hanse, the role of cities in the internal and external dimension of governance, decision-making procedures and enforcement, as well as conflict-management within poly-centric governance settings.

To attend the conference, please register until January 14th 2024 via:


Thursday, 1st February 2024
15:30−16:45 Keynote, Randall Lesaffer, University of Tilburg: The Hanse, the law of nations and the contractual state in Old Regime Europe

17:15-18:15 Session I: Hanse and Governance Dimensions
Ulla Kypta, University of Hamburg:
Pluralistic Governance and its Limits

Johann Ruben Leiss, University of Oslo:
Polycentric Jurisdictions in the Hanse and in contemporary international law

Friday, 02nd February 2024
9:30-11:00 Session II: The Role of Cities in Governance

Helmut Aust, Freie Universität Berlin:
Hanseatic Implications for the Urban Turn in International Law?

Marju Luts-Sootak, University of Tartu, Merike Ristikivi, University of Tartu:
Plague and Restrictions in the Hanse: Case of the 15-Century Merchant and Ratsherr Family in Reval

Stefan Oeter, University of Hamburg:
The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg – Implications of the Dual Status as Free Imperial City and Hanse Member in Hamburg´s Late Medieval Constitutional History

11:30−13:00 Session III: Organizing Joint Governance
Søren Koch, University of Bergen: Ratio sit Anima Legis – pluralistic governance and conflict management at the Hanse Kontor in Bergen

Dave De ruysscher, Tilburg University: The Hansa kontor of Bruges in Antwerp: Armwrestling over Jurisdiction (c. 1530-c. 1580)

Lars Regula, University of Hamburg: Back in business? – Governance structures in the Hanseatic Orient policy of the 19th century

14:30−15:30 Session IV: Governing Conflict Management
Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz, University of Amsterdam: The ‘correct procedure’ of conflict management in the Hanse: policies and practices

Freya Baetens, Oxford University: Nil novi sub sole: Unilateral economic pressure as conflict management

Saturday, 3rd February 2024
10:00−11:30 Session V: Governing Security
Philipp Höhn, University of Halle-Wittenberg: Of herring and cod. What the “Bernburg herring war” can tell us about gradual membership and premodern conflict regulation in pluralistic governance structures

Gregor Rohmann, University of Rostock: The Language of Violence in a Pluralist Legal Regime. Contested Semantics of Maritime Predation in Late Medieval Northern Europe

Contact: ulla.kypta@uni-hamburg.de

Source: Hanse and International Law? Governance Dimensions., In: H-Soz-Kult, 15.12.2023, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/event-140810>.