Mountain driver

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Schütting of German merchants on Bryggen
Schütting of the mountain drivers in Lübeck

As a climber Hanseatic merchants and sailors were referred from the Middle Ages to modern times, which are primarily in Norway trade in the city of Bergen and the local office Bryggen worked. In their hometowns they were united to form mountain driver corporations, through which they defended their economic, political and social interests. Corporations of the mountain drivers existed in the Wendish cities of the Hanseatic League on the Baltic Sea, in particular in Lübeck and Stralsund , but also in the competing sister city of Bremen on the North Sea. In Bergen itself, all mountain drivers were subordinate to the office as an independent legal person, called communis mercator hanse Theutonicae Bergis existens in Latin or Der gemene kopmann to Bergen in Middle Low German . In contrast to the Hanseatic League itself, the office had its own seal, which shows a crowned stockfish , later divided vertically, connected with half a double-headed eagle of the Holy Roman Empire to highlight the imperial German merchant. The crowned stockfish is also part of the coats of arms and symbols of the mountain drivers of the individual cities.

Lübeck mountain driver

Terracotta relief plate with the coat of arms of the mountain drivers by Statius von Düren
Epitaph on the shipwreck of the mountain driver Hans Ben in 1489 (Lübeck, Marienkirche, letter chapel)
Coat of arms of the Lübeck mountain drivers (19th century)

The corporation Lübeck climber was from the 14th century until 1853 when the merchants corporations overall in the merchants of Lübeck were combined. The exact beginning of Lübeck's trading activities cannot be determined, but in any case it was before 1250, because this year, after previous disputes, a peace was concluded between Lübeck and King Haakon IV of Norway , which guaranteed the Hanseatic merchants important privileges. However, these privileges could only actually be enforced through a trade blockade by the Hanseatic League in 1284 against the resistance of Norwegian merchants. The trade policy of the Hanseatic cities under the leadership of Lübeck, based on these trade privileges, was henceforth against the interests of the Norwegian economy. The Norwegian krone tried again and again to balance this conflict of interests. As a result of the plague that broke out in 1350, the food supply in Norway collapsed due to the loss of the labor necessary for the harvest. This strengthened the position of the Wendish cities on Bryggen, which as exporters brought the grain from the southern Baltic coast, from Holstein , Mecklenburg and Pomerania to Norway and thus secured the country's supply from outside.

In Lübeck, the mountain drivers are first mentioned in 1380 as an association of merchants. They emerged as a spin-off from the Schonenfahrer corporation, which has been documented since 1363 . Within the corporation of mountain drivers, the merchants belonging to it organized the process of exchanging goods with the local office. The influence of this group can certainly be attributed to the fact that Lübeck controlled the office in Bergen, especially in the 15th century; at that time it had about 200 members. This supremacy was lost in the 16th and 17th centuries and the office increasingly came under the control of the Bremen mountain drivers.

The mountain drivers who were able to advise were not in the highest esteem among the corporations of the merchants in Lübeck and could not measure themselves in their social importance and political power development with the first-class circle society . Accordingly, they made up significantly fewer councilors from their ranks and only two Lübeck mayors , but as proven practitioners of navigation in the waters of the Baltic Sea in armed conflicts together with the members of the corporation of Schonenfahrer proportionally the highest proportion of Lübeck fleet leaders. In the literature, the unanimous view is that their great importance for the Lübeck patriciate lay in their high social permeability and that many Hanseatic merchants were initially accepted into the merchant class via the mountain drivers, from where they could rise to the ranks of the circle society. On the other hand, from the civic recession of 1669 , the mountain drivers determined the composition of the senate and the citizenry together with the other civic corporations until the constitutional reform of 1848 .

The insignia of the mountain drivers can still be found today as coats of arms on the side cheeks of the stalls of the Schiffergesellschaft or in the Lübeck museums, but also in the seal of the merchants, which united all the seals of the corporations that were absorbed into it. The medieval vicariate registers document the rich foundation activity of the corporation with numerous entries. The Lübeck Cathedral originally had a mountain driver's seat, in the Jakobikirche a commemorative painting donated by the mountain driver hangs on the sinking of the captain and mountain driver Thomas Köster on October 31, 1508 in front of Marstrand . Remains of the Bergenfahrer stalls from the Marienkirche can be found today in the St. Anne's Museum , as well as panels from the older reredos of the Bergenfahrer by a Lübeck student of Conrad von Soest, as well as the altar by the Bergenfahrer Hans Rese and sixteen sandstone sculptures from a cycle of apostles and saints from 1420 from the Bergenfahr chapel of the Marienkirche. The Bergenfahr chapel was located between the two towers in front of the west portal of the Marienkirche and was destroyed in the air raid on Lübeck in March 1942. The mountain driver's chair from 1518 with the carved Saint Olav as the patron saint of the company on the cheeks of the stalls and the reredos of the Olavs altar of the mountain driver with paintings by Hans Kemmer from 1524 fell victim to the destruction . In the letter chapel, however, the picture of the Bergen driver to commemorate the shipwreck of Hans Ben in 1489 has been preserved.

Also in the St. Anne's Museum got the sculpture of St. Olav oak, made in 1472 by Johannes Stenrat , from the former Kompagniehaus Lobben the climber in the Broad Street no. 67. The Lobben fell in 1889 a Gründerzeit new measure victim (See also the corresponding entry in the list of former Lübeck buildings ).

In the years 1548 to 1766 the Lübeck mountain drivers had the patronage of the Marienkirche belonging to the Kontor in Bergen, so that the pastors of this church were selected and committed in Lübeck during this period.

The archive of the Lübeck mountain drivers is now in the archive of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck .

The mountain driver altar in the Nikolaikirche (Stralsund)

Stralsund mountain driver

In the Nikolaikirche in Stralsund a mountain driver altar is still shown today , which is attributed to the corporation of mountain drivers there.

The mountain driver society in Bremen

The Bremer Bergenfahrergesellschaft strengthened with the decline of the Bergenfahrt of the Wendish Hanseatic cities under the leadership of Lübeck. Beginning around the middle of the 16th century, Bremen rose to become the new leading power in the Bergen office and remained so until the end of this Hanseatic office. The mountain drivers had their own order from 1550, which was adapted to the changing conditions in 1564 and 1632. Essentially, the freight was then distributed by the freight owners. The Bergenfahrer existed as an organization until the beginning of the 18th century and during this time also had their own Bergenfahrer room in the Bremen town hall .

Rostock mountain driver

In Rostock , trade with Norway was dominated by the city's most distinguished company, that of Wiekfahrer , who among the Wendish cities concentrated particularly and almost exclusively on the Hanseatic factories in Oslo and Tønsberg . There was also one of the mountain drivers among the five other Rostock merchants' companies.

The mountain drivers in Wismar

Much like in Lübeck, the mountain drivers in Wismar also used the tower chapel of "their" St. Mary's Church as a chapel, which has been preserved as a structure with the remaining tower of the council church.

See also


  • Anna Elisabeth Albrecht: Stone sculpture in Lübeck around 1400. Foundation and origin. Reimer, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-496-01172-6 (also: Kiel, Univ., Diss., 1994).
  • Uwe Albrecht , Jörg Rosenfeld, Christiane Saumweber: Corpus of medieval wood sculpture and panel painting in Schleswig-Holstein. Volume 1: Hanseatic City of Lübeck, St. Annen Museum. Ludwig, Kiel 2005, ISBN 3-933598-75-3 .
  • Georg Asmussen, Ulrich Simon and Otto Wiehmann (edit.): Archives of the Bergenfahrerkompanie zu Lübeck and the Hansische Kontor zu Bergen in Norway from (1278) and 1314 to 1853. (= Archive of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck Finding Books 9) Lübeck 2002 ISBN 3- 7950-0785-2 ; (PDF)
  • Mike Burkhardt: The Hansekontor in Bergen in the late Middle Ages - organization and structure. In: Hansische Geschichtsblätter. Volume 124, 2006, pp. 21-71, ISSN  0073-0327 .
  • Richard Carstensen : Bergen - development picture of a Norwegian port city, especially with regard to Bergen's relationship to the Hanseatic League (= communications from the Geographical Society of Lübeck . Issue 53, ZDB -ID 206036-x ). Geographical Society in Lübeck, Lübeck 1973.
  • Philippe Dollinger : The Hanse (= Kröner's pocket edition. Volume 371). 2nd, revised edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 1976, ISBN 3-520-37102-2 .
  • Gerhard Fouquet : "Historical Images" in an Imperial and Hanseatic City. Christian von Geren and his chronicle of the Lübeck mountain drivers (approx. 1425–1486). In: Rolf Hammel-Kiesow , Michael Hundt (Hrsg.): The memory of the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. Festschrift for Antjekathrin Graßmann on her 65th birthday. Published in conjunction with the Association for Lübeck History and Archeology and the Hanseatic History Association. Schmidt-Römhild, Lübeck 2005, ISBN 3-7950-5555-5 , pp. 113-125.
  • Volker Henn , Arnved Nedkvitne (ed.): Norway and the Hanseatic League. Economic and cultural aspects in a European comparison (= Kiel work pieces. Series A: Contributions to Schleswig-Holstein and Scandinavian history. Volume 11). Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1994, ISBN 3-631-47950-6 .
  • Antjekathrin Graßmann (Hrsg.): The Hansische Kontor zu Bergen and the Lübecker Bergenfahrer (= publications on the history of the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. Series B, Volume 41). Schmidt-Römhild, Lübeck 2005, ISBN 3-7950-0480-2 .


  • The Chronicle of Christian von Geren (1350–1486). In: Friedrich Bruns (Hrsg.): The Lübeck mountain drivers and their chronology (= Hanseatic historical sources . NF Volume 2, ZDB -ID 503419-x ). Pass & Garleb, Berlin 1900, pp. 348–381.

Web links

Commons : Bergenfahrer  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. On the effects of the Black Death in Norway : see main article Plague epidemics in Norway . Grain cultivation was made more difficult at the beginning of the 15th century by the Little Ice Age .
  2. See Scena Mass .
  3. An evaluation of the medieval wills of the mountain drivers showed that over 78% of the mountain drivers stated when testing that they had earned their fortune themselves. See Dollinger, p. 214
  4. Older mountain driver's table on the Schleswig-Holstein museum server
  5. Rese altar .
  6. Attributed to the master of the Darsow Madonna .
  7. The text of the two banners of the painting reads: Anno Domini MCCCCLXXXIX des Fridags vor alle Gaden Hilgen do bleff Schipper Hans Ben up de Bergenreise before then Berksunde with XXXIII Mann de Got al gnedich si. Pater Noster ver all Cristen souls - and - Oh good fellows do not hold to light he gi to scepe gat gat jo to the Bicht something so kort ene Tüt dat wy our living things would qvid en Pater Noster in front of all Cristen souls
  8. ^ Stenrat: Saint Olav on the Schleswig-Holstein museum server , description from Albrecht: Corpus of the wooden sculpture. P. 215 ff.
  9. Middle Low German, after the (stick) fish in the coat of arms.
  10. Carstensen, p. 128 ff.
  11. Ruth Prange: The Bremen merchants of the 16th and 17th centuries in terms of social history (= publications from the state archive of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. Volume 31). Schünemann, Bremen 1963, pp. 34-36.
  12. ^ Wilhelm Stieda : The Schonenfahrer feast in Rostock. In: Hansische Geschichtsblätter. Vol. 19, 1890/91, ISSN  0073-0327 , pp. 115-150, here p. 134.
  13. ^ Albrecht: Stone sculpture in Lübeck around 1420. P. 36 (fn. 164), with reference to Antje Grewolls: The chapels of the north German churches in the Middle Ages. Architecture and function. Ludwig, Kiel 1999, ISBN 3-9805480-3-1 (also: Kiel, Univ., Diss., 1997), there p. 193.