European Hansemuseum

Exhibition “Consensus.” starting in May in the European Hansemuseum

From May 10 to July 8, 2018, the museum in Lübeck presents the unique exhibition and educational project “Consensus. Europe’s culture of political decision-making”.

While Rostock celebrates the Hanseatic Day, or Hansetag, 2018, the European Hansemuseum shines a light on the Hansetag 1518 in its new special exhibition – and in doing so, highlights surprising parallels between the history of the Hanse and the current political and executive challenges faced by the European Union. The reason is a cultural heritage which links the delegates of the Hansetag and the members of the current European council: consensual decisionmaking. Despite differences of opinion, the participants do finally manage to reach an agreement. In Lübeck, you can thus discover the good reasons for seeking consensus by means of often difficult negotiations, why everyone involved hopes this will give their resolutions greater political weight – and the “little ones” assume the procedure will protect them from the “big

Im Europäischen Hansemuseum kann man mehr über die Hanse und den Konsens erfahren. Foto: Olaf Malzahn.

The project provides a good illustration of how time-consuming and fascinating the search for consensus was and is. The Hanse itself had a variety of different mechanisms for persuading hesitant delegates. At all times the “unity” of the Hanse was paramount, along with the process of reaching a consensus. For a long time this principle of unanimity was considered to be a problem for the development of the Hanse, but it may have been part of its success. Today the European Council, one of the EU institutions, acts on the basis of unanimous consent. At these meetings, the currently 28 heads of state or government discuss all the topics that are important for the future of the EU. But how can the sometimes very different national positions be reconciled to arrive at a common European standpoint? And is that actually good for Europe anyway? It is a highly topical question given the dramatic challenges currently facing the EU.

Surprising and multifaceted, entertaining and opinionated, the exhibition looks at a largely ignored virtue that has been part of the European identity for centuries. Two specially developed strategy games give you the opportunity to practice reaching a consensus yourself.

The special exhibition will be open daily, 10 am to 6 pm, from May 10 to July 8, 2018. It is partof the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018 “Sharing Heritage” and sponsored by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Possehl-Stiftung.

More information is available on