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A Bönhase (also: Böhnhase ) was in northern Germany , especially in Hamburg, a non-guild craftsman , i.e. not belonging to a guild.


The words Bön, Böhn, Bon, Been, Beun, Bün, Bühn, Bühne for the ( attic ) floor of the dwellings, in which craftsmen who were not admitted to the guilds and who were rarely expelled from the guilds, were used against the guild statutes or city regulations , i.e. mostly illegally, pursued their learned activities. If the houses faced the street on the eaves side , the floors were often connected to one another and the Bönhasen was able to flee from controls, visitations and persecutions across several attics . The word “rabbit” symbolizes the agility of their escape. With boen hare huntingThis was the term used to describe the tracking down and pursuit of these “illegal” craftsmen by the city authorities and the guilds: they were then chased like hares over the Bön , the attic of their homes.

Since tailors only need a sewing box and cloth, they in particular went about their work in attics.

Due to the lack of product controls by the guilds and because there were other adverse working conditions, such as working in hidden corners, the goods manufactured by Bönhasen in Lohnwerk often had defects, which is why Bönhasen were sometimes considered bunglers and bunglers among the citizens. The Bönhasen were mainly recruited from the large number of trained craftsmen who had to make a living from their profession, but were not granted a guild license. You couldn't apply for citizenship. In Hamburg, the obligation to prosecute these non-guilds was one of the statutes of the Krameramt in the 17th and 18th centuries. The basic problem could not be solved with the repressive measures used against the Bönhasen, and it only disappeared completely after the freedom of trade prevailed in the 19th century .

Later naggers, thieves and boobies were also referred to as Bönhasen. As a disparaging general-purpose word , Bönhase then lost its colloquial and written precision in the course of the 18th century.


The word Bönhase also jokingly referred to cats roaming around in attics and on roofs; that is still contained in today's, rare badger with the same meaning.

See also


  • Reinhold Pabel : In the shadow of Michel. The Kramer office in Hamburg and its widow's apartments on Krayenkamp . Christians, Hamburg 1978, especially pp. 15-20

Web links

Wiktionary: Bönhase  - explanations of meanings, word origins , synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Bönhase . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition. Volume 3, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1905, p.  201 .