Rostock welcomes Europe

Organizers have been planning this event for almost three years: the 38th International Hanseatic Day, beginning on June 21st, celebrates Rostock’s 800th birthday. Young and old can discover historic and modern culture, art, music, and gastronomy in seven regions of Rostock, including the inner-city and harbor. The main events are concentrated near the Neuer Markt and the main shopping street to the Kröpeliner Tor, where hanseatic cities are presented, stage performances can be viewed, and an art exhibition is displayed under the open sky.
The opening ceremony, beginning at 7 p.m. on June 21st with a concert and a premiere anniversary-cantata from the North German Philharmonic Orchestra Rostock, and a parade of ships in the city harbor are the highlights of the first day. Other highlights include the NDR summer tour on June 22nd, with appearances from Wincent Weiss and Philipp Dittberner, ROST(R)OCK – the big show on the eve of the city birthday with a local Rostock band, lightshow and fireworks, as well as a livestream of the Football World Cup – the parade “Rostocker Ümgang,” and the closing ceremony with a celebratory handover of the hanseatic flag on the 24th.

It is a great honor for the hanseatic and university city to welcome more than 2000 delegates, politicians, entrepreneurs, tourism experts, and creative artists from DIE HANSE cities. “We are showing our guests from 115 hanseatic cities across 16 nations Rostock in the best light. The modern hanseatic day and the hanseatic league shows much potential for cooperation in shared projects in economic, touristic, and city-planning areas” Roland Methling, the mayor of the hanseatic and university-city Rostock, explains. The support stretches from the registration and an innovative event management system and shuttle services to the bi- and multilingualism of the event.

As host, Rostock invites the public to a traditional welcome reception in the baroque hall on June 21st. Here, just like at the other planned events, the buffet will largely consist of fair trade or regional products. “We, Rostockers, find fair trade and sustainability to be very important. Rostock can call itself a fair-trade city since 2012, within the Hanseatic league frame work, where Rostock chairs the work group Faire Hanse”, Methling elucidates.

Emphasizing the issue of sustainability was a request from the Youth Hanse. The regulations devised by the work group “Fair Hanse/Fair Trade” are to be decided on at the meeting of the delegates on the 23rd. Additionally, a market selling fair trade and regional products is to be assembled on the Alter Markt, which will inform visitors about sustainability through talk shows, art installations, workshops, and of course food samples.

The 38th International Hanseatic Day emphasizes two ideas that are illustrated through the logo – the cog – and the slogan “Take action.” “Rostock is an attractive travel destination due to its maritime flair and hanseatic traditions. The Hanseatic Day highlights these merits and brings them to life for Rostock natives and guests from across Europe” clarifies Matthias Fromm, Tourism Direktor Rostock & Warnemünde. The cogs give off a traditional vibe and invite guests to explore Rostock from a unique water-side view. By the passenger quay sits the “Cap San Diego”, the largest driveable museum freighter of the world, and invites viewers on board to open ship. More than 100 teenagers from twelve nations become real mariners on sail training boats.

When choosing the seven event areas, the focus was placed purposely on historically relevant places such as the Alten and Neuen Markt, the Kröpeliner Tor, and the city harbor. All three big inner-city churches will also be involved in the Hanseatic Day. Remaining true to historical hanseatic days, the meeting of delegates will take place in a church – the St. Nikolas Church. The delegates will celebrate the ecumenical service together on Sunday in St. Mary’s Church. At the foot of the St. Peter’s Church, the birthplace of Rostock, on the Alter Markt, a beer festival with Antenne MV will take place from Friday until Sunday, in which all breweries from our coastland will participate. “Rostocker Oehl” was the main export good of the hanseatic city during the Middle Ages.

The „Kamper Kogge“ already left her native Netherland harbor on June 5th to make her way to Rostock. On board she stows – as with the hanseatic ship “Lisa von Lübeck,” the cog “Wissemara” and the Estonian light ship “Hiiu Ingel” – typical products from hanseatic towns. These goods will be unloaded late Friday morning (June 22.) with a historical wooden crane by the “Hansevolk zu Lübeck” near the big Middle Age market on the silo-peninsula. “Whether Störtebeker beer from Stralsund, cake from Deventer, cheese from Kampen, liquor from Riga, or potato chips from Greifswald, sugar from Anklam, and salt from Lunenburg – we are delighted, that so many companies decided to join our cause, thereby help support the traditional ships.” accentuates Rita Berkholz, project coordinator of Hanseatic Day Rostock.

By way of thanks, the Hanseatic Brewery Rostock will send each ship back to their respective native harbors with a box of birthday brew. “We would also like to thank the many other companies that support the Hanseatic Day, such as ROSTOCK PORT, that made it possible for “Cap San Diego” to reside in Rostock” adds Berkholz. Radio TEDDY organized a program for the youngest Hanse and Rostock fans on the silo-peninsula in the city harbor, with a live broadcast and workshops on Friday, June 22nd.

As the project “Hanse Trading“ revitalizes old trade routes, the Hanseatic Congress ventures into new terrain. The congress is a real multi-talent due to its special concept: among other things, it is a talent exhibition, contact-exchange service, and a birthday present. Economic and scientific representatives from the Rostock region as well as representatives from other European cities will get a chance to speak. “We are looking forward to our guests from the Netherlands, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Finland, and Ukraine, as well as the many guests from German hanseatic towns. In order to also ensure lasting business contacts for our lower and middle class, a joint cooperation contract with our trade association and the trade association MKBD from Deventer (Netherlands) will be signed,” reports Manuela Balan, director of the trade association Rostock-Mittleres Mecklenburg e.V.

The Hanseatic Congress isn’t the only birthday present for Rostock. Rostock also wants to give back and make its residents and their guests happy. “We are installing seven Ferris wheels in the Rostocker Oval, on which free rides will be offered. Additionally, we prepared two special treats for music lovers: the concert “Karat meets Classic” in the city hall, and the FESTival by the city harbor with Joris and Fritz Kalkbrenner on June 24th” explains the manager of the project office double-anniversary Franziska Nagorny. An additional birthday highlight will be the big parade – along with the 115 hanseatic cities, around 80 associations and companies from Rostock will join the march, in total around 2400 people – emitting a diverse and upbeat image of Rostock that the whole world can enjoy live through (for ex.) NDR Hanseblick.

Text/photos: Annika Schmied