Lübeck, Hamburg, Bremen – everybody knows the major hanseatic cities. The actual heartland of the German Hanseatic League, called "Hanse" in German (Old High German for regiment, retinue) is Westphalia. From the 12th century Westphalian and Lower Rhine traders, travelling to the Baltic Sea, settled in the Low German towns, including some from Münster, Soest, Dortmund - and Hattingen. Their articles of trade were mainly woolen cloths and imported Spanish wool.
From trade association to league of towns
The hanseatic merchants provided the Lower German town with economic and political power and they laid the foundation of the Hanseatic League, which consisted of 200 towns and developed into the most powerful economic force on German territory, during its blooming period, between the 12th and 16th century.
Founding town of the Westphalian Hanseatic League
In 1983, Hattingen und 19 other former Westphalian hanseatic towns in Hessen, Lower Saxony and Westphalia rekindled the Hanseatic League and signed the founding treaty of the Westphalian Hanseatic League – nowadays, with 48 hanseatic towns, the largest regional organisation of the Hanseatic League - Die Hanse.
Further details with regard to the history of the hanseatic town can be found on Hattingen.de
"Das Haus der grauen Mönche"
Hattingen as part of the Hanse – this is even material for a historical novel, written by the author Jan Zweyer. Here, in Hattingen in the late Middle Ages, is the setting of the medieval saga in three-parts Das Haus der grauen Mönche. And Hattingen is also the setting for the ending of the third part of Im Dienst der Hanse about the orphan Jorge von Linden in the year 1511.
His novel protagonist Jorge von Linden spends his childhood at the „Haus der grauen Mönche“ (house of the grey monks), a Dominican Order institution. The stone building that was constructed in the 15th century was probably near the St Georg church and the Kirchstraße until it was torn down in 1855.