Fish and Ships

Weblog of the research project "Between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea: Interdisciplinary Studies of the Hanse"

Welcome to the weblog of the research project "Between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea: Interdisciplinary Studies of the Hanse". The aim of the project is to investigate the economic and cultural connections of merchants from Northern German cities, such as Bremen and Hamburg with the North Atlantic islands of Iceland, Shetland and Faroe during the 15th to 17th centuries. The project is based at the German Maritime Museum (Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum) in Bremerhaven and funded by the Leibniz Association (2015-2018).The research is carried out by four team members, each with their individual research objectives and disciplinary background. With this blog we want to provide information about the current state of our research, and create a platform to make available results and new knowledge. Read more...

The cultural impact of German trade in the North Atlantic

Natascha Mehler, 19 October 2016

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the North Atlantic islands of Iceland, Shetland, and to some extent also Faroe, were closely tied to the cities of Bremen and Hamburg. Merchants from these hanseatic cities regularly travelled North to exchange goods such as grain / flour, beer, timber and tools for stockfish and sulphur. In the second half of the 16th century about 500 to 750 merchants, sailors, craftsmen, priests and others from Hamburg and Bremen spent their summers in Iceland. On the other hand, a considerable number of Icelanders used Hamburg and Bremen ships to travel to the continent, e.g. to be educated in jurisprudence or theology at the universities in Copenhagen, Rostock and Wittenberg. They brought back new knowledge that changed the insular societies.

The German presence on the islands and the stay of islanders in Northern Germany had a profound impact on the North Atlantic insular societies. Tracing this impact will be the main aim of an interdisciplinary research seminar that takes place from 26 to 28 October 2016 at the museum Schwedenspeicher in Stade near Hamburg. It is organized in cooperation with the archive Stade and the museum Schwedenspeicher Stade.

The main aim of this seminar is to trace and disentangle the forms of impact. The topics and questions we want to discuss during the seminar include:

  • What role did the German connections play in the assertion of the reformation in Iceland, Shetland and Faroe? What was the position of the Danish and Scottish crown? How did religious life change on the island?
  • What was the cultural effect of the reformation and how did the new scholarship change the insular societies? How did knowledge transfer happen?
  • What role did hanseatic measurements (e.g. the Hamburg ell) and coinage (e.g. Reichsthaler) play on the islands and how were their values converted into the Icelandic, Faroese and Shetland value system? Did the different value systems effect the economic connections?

For more information on the seminar click here to download the flyer for the cultural-impact-research-seminar.

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Lecture about current research in past cod fisheries in the North Atlantic

Natascha Mehler, 14 October 2015

On Wednesday, 4 November 2015, Dr. Guðbjörg Ásta Ólafsdóttir and Dr. Ragnar Edvardsson, University of Iceland, will speak about their new research project on the history of cod fishing in the North Atlantic. The lecture takes place at the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven, starting 14:00, and is open to anyone interested. Here is a short summary about the content of the lecture.

Abstract_Ólafsdóttir

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First project workshop to take place in Bremerhaven

Natascha Mehler, 5 October 2015

The first workshop of the project takes place at the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven from 2-4 November 2015.

The “Travel-Workshop” is the first workshop of the interdisciplinary research project “Between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea: Interdisciplinary Studies of the Hanse” funded by the Leibniz Association (Leibniz-Gemeinschaft) (2015-2018). The project focuses on the cultural and social links between the German cities of Bremen and Hamburg with the North Atlantic islands Faroe, Shetland and Iceland in the period c. 1400-1700.
The aim of this workshop is to bring together specialists from different disciplines and countries to shed light on several aspects of the process of travelling, and the stay of the Germans in their destination ports. The workshop is organized in two parts. The first session concentrates on the journeys: which ships were used for these journeys, what do we know about the crews, how did navigation work and which sea routes were used at that time? What were the climatic conditions and how did this affect sailing and navigation? The second session addresses questions regarding daily life on board. How was the provisioning on board and what happened when sailors fell ill? How was space on board organized? What do we know about religious life on board an on land?

Download the workshop flyer here: Flyer Travel Workshop DSM

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