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Norway and Gdansk – trade and much more!

Gdansk is nowadays one of the favourite destinations for tourists from Norway. However it’s worth mentioning that contacts between Gdansk and Norway date back to as early as XIVth century. Read more in yet another article by prof. Andrzej Januszajtis.

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The Hanseatic League, to which Gdansk belonged from 1361, had a trading post in Norway’s main city at the time – Bergen, and residents of Gdansk would also travel there. Trade with Norway existed as early as in 1369, when the cities of Torun and Elblag informed Gdansk about its suspension – but only for a short while. The reason for this was that Bergen introduced too steep a head tax.

In 1379, first mentions appeared of a Gdansk merchant travelling with his wares between Boston (in England) and Bergen. Norway was primarily a source of fish – predominantly dried (stockfish), and our merchants would sell them grains and animal skins. In 1398, Hans Zandow, a resident of Gdansk, lost the following as a result of an attack on the ship belonging to Jakub Mewes: “two hundred pieces of fish, 10 rabbit skins, 15 ox skins and 120 calf skins, the total value of which was more than 5 pounds”.

In 1438, another resident of Gdansk, Berthold Buramer, and the future commandant of Bergen, Olav Nilsson, were granted the management of Iceland by King Eric of Pomerania! Their task was to collect tolls and taxes for Denmark. However, before they were able to assume their position, the King was dethroned and the whole matter fell through.

Founded in 1919, the Gdansk sailing company Bergenske belonged to Det Bergenske Sibsselskab, a Bergen company founded in 1851. Its fleet numbered 40 ships which regularly travelled between Gdansk and 18 ports in England, France, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the Baltic States.

During World War II, the Germans transformed the Norwegian shipyard in Laksevag near Bergen into a facility which produced and renovated submarines, a branch of the Gdansk Shipyard (Kriegsmarine Werft – Danziger Werft). The shipyard became one of the main targets for the Allied air force.

Nowadays, Norway is one of the main clients of the Gdansk shipyards belonging to the Remontowa holding, which renovate and build drilling platforms, ferries and specialised hybrid vessels.