policies of the member states and mediating disputes among them takes on Hanseatic tasks as well Cities however no longer directly play any part in the two modern alliances of the EU and the WTO It is the na tional states that negotiate agreements and pass joint resolutions By contrast in the Medieval Age the Han seatic League was based on the unanimous consensus of some 70 cities The decisions were binding upon the merchants from more than 200 cities from the estuary mouth of the Rhine river all the way to Estonia A Hanseatic League of science The idea of a confederation of cities though has not completely disappeared In 1980 the New Hansa was formed a confederation of cities extending from Finland and Belarus via Poland and Germany all the way to France and the United Kingdom with a total of 190 modern day Hanseatic cities in 16 countries This commu nity is focused on exchange emphasizing culture and sci ence The cities aim to keep the Hanseatic spirit of the cultural and civic community alive The self awareness of the cities and towns within the national states and con federations of states such as the EU is to be strengthened An initiative like this should not be underestimated Ho senfeldt agrees Because access to knowledge is a re ally important commodity for the globalized economy as well Although such a close alliance of cities does not yet exist at a global level mayors from all over the world ex change their knowledge and experience at Habitat con ferences initiated by the United Nations This is intended to help master many challenges from climate change to growth in megacities such as Lagos in Nigeria Mexico City and Karachi in Pakistan more eff ectively Specifi c exchange of knowledge and people be tween cities and metropolitan areas even takes place Three masted caravel built hulk with weaponsSmall cog Cog with forecastle and aft ercastle THE HANSA COG FROM S TO XXL From the 13th century on the Hansa cog evolved into one of the most effi cient means of transportation at the time comparable with the signifi cance of today s container ships The ships would carry cargo of up to 200 metric tons 220 short tons and even small crews were able to safely navigate them in rough seas Besides Lübeck shown here on a wood cut illustration by Elias Diebel from 1552 24 other German cities today offi cially call themselves Hanseatic cities They include Bremen Hamburg and Rostock In total there used to be some 200 towns that at some point in time directly or indirectly belonged to the Hanseatic League including me tropolises like Gdánsk Berlin Stock holm London and Bordeaux By far not all of them were coastal towns ACROSS EUROPE 56 57

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