The Hansa, the German Guild of Merchants, created an overseas office at Bryggen in 1360 and for almost 400 years they dominated this side of town.

From the 13th to the middle of the 15th century, the Hanseatic League dominated the trade between the north-east and the north-west of Europe, and covered the raw material and food supplies of the West from the East, and the east with the Western products. These included, for example, furs, wax, grain, fish, flax, hemp, wood and timber products such as pitch, tar and potato. In return, the Hanseatic merchants brought into these countries the industrial finished products of the West and South like cloths, metal goods, especially weapons, and spices.

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It is somewhat unclear as to when the Hanseatic times originated in Bergen, but one knows for sure that there were trades going on between Bergen and Germany in 1100's. In Germany the Hanseatic time is considered to have lasted from around the 1200's to the 1500's.

Bergen was not a Hanseatic town as such, but actually one of the four Hanseatic quarters, which also included Brügge, London and Novgorod. The Hanseatic period lasted longer in Bergen than the rest of Europe and without a doubt, Bergen had great importance. It should be noted that Bergen was marked on the world map from the Middle Ages, where London was not.