The last International Hanse Day festival took place in King’s Lynn on 20th and 21st May 2017, the grand two-day event celebrating the town’s membership with the New Hanse League.
During the festival there was a rare chance to see inside the incomparable Elizabethan tower at Clifton House. The owners of this historic merchant’s house opening the tower especially for the festival.
Hanse Walks explored the fascinating history of King’s Lynn’s links with the Hanseatic ports. The walks, led by Kings’ Lynn Town Guides, were hour-long tours of the town’s key Hanseatic buildings. Both walks took place on Saturday 20th May.
The History and Archaeology Symposium comprised a lecture and a book launch at Marriott’s Warehouse. The Lecture by Robert Kenny shined a light on medieval ships and trade and, in particular, told the fascinating story of the Newport ship. After the lecture Cllr. Nick Daubney launchede a new book ‘Six Essays in Hanseatic History’. The book, published by Poppyland, is based on talks given by historians at previous Hanse Festivals.
Hanse Musik, an hour-long concert celebrating King’s Lynn’s Hanseatic, nautical and fishing heritage, took place in All Saints Church at 5pm on 20th May.
On Saturday at 5pm, the focus of the festival moved to King’s Staithe Square, where an evening of live music began. A line-up of international acts performed until 10.00pm, including Georgia Shackleton Trio, Victor Menace and Trad.Attack.
On the second day of the festival, Sunday 21 May, the programme of events was even more extensive. There were fun activities for children at the town hall. Children made a cardboard Hanse ship (cog) with local Artist Emma Jarvis. They met a medieval trader’s wife and found out what was being traded from where, in the time of the Hanse. They were also able to make a medieval circle braid to take home.
The ever-popular medieval dancing in the Stone Hall at the town hall returned to delight audiences and had everyone tapping their toes.
Live music took place on the Sunday in King’s Staithe Square from 1pm to 6pm. Local band the Fried Pirates was first up, followed by Remi Harris Trio, Ruth Theodore and Band and Flats and Sharps.
For much more information please visit the official King’s Lynn Hanse Festival website.
The annual Hanse Day celebrations in King’s Lynn all began as we know it in 2009 when the Borough Council organised the town’s first ever Hanse Festival, and maritime merriment was had by all. During the festival weekend visitors enjoyed the sound of sea shanties and songs of the sea along the quayside, street theatre, an al-fresco food fair, heritage walk and much more maritime merriment. The majestic Lisa von Lubeck, a 15th Century caravel reconstruction, cruised up the River Great Ouse from its port in Lubeck, Germany to greet the crowds on the King’s Lynn quayside.
As seen in the above video, for 2014 the International Hanse Day in King’s Lynn was a massive three-day celebration, with people being entertained by a rich and colourful selection of dance, music, activities for all the family and food & craft markets, culminating with the headlining internationally-renowned classical choral ensemble The Mediaeval Baebes.
Building upon all previous celebrations, This year’s International Hanse Day will be a truly spectacular weekend for the town, celebrating the historic town’s international connections and rich maritime heritage.