King’s Lynn set for International Hanse Day celebrations

King's Lynn will be celebrating International Hanse Day on Saturday with a packed programme of events and activities to showcase the town's sea-trading heritage.

The modern Hanse League is made up of 177 cities in 16 countries and Lynn is the only English member.

Each year, all member cities are encouraged to celebrate their Hanseatic heritage and their involvement in the modern Hanse network.

By the 13th century, Lynn was one of England's foremost ports and the commercial opportunities and rewards offered by the town attracted merchants from the Baltic, Hamburg and Lubeck.

Hanseatic ships travelled together in convoys across The Wash for safety, especially against pirates.

This year's Hanse Day celebration centres around the invasion of the town by pirates and swashbucklers will be rampaging around the town centre from 10.45am.

They will be raiding the wine cellars of St George's Guildhall, attacking the Custom House and breaking into a wealthy merchant's house, taking hostages as they go.

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Youngsters are invited to be mini pirate detectives for the day and they will have the chance to catch the pirates and put them on trial at the town hall.

The day starts with an opportunity for children to meet the pirates at True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum and enjoy pirates' crafts and stories.

Anyone wishing to be a mini pirate detective, special constable, or a member of the jury at the court, can apply by contacting the Tourist Information Centre on 01553 763044.

Other events to celebrate the special day include an exhibition of Hanseatic documents from the Norfolk Record Office at the Custom House and a Hanse exhibition at St Nicholas Chapel, a concert, guided walks of Hanseatic King's Lynn and a fascinating talk at the Green Quay about the pirates who occupied the Wash at the time of the Hanseatic Sea Trade.

A pirates fun day for seven to 13-year-olds will take place in the Vancouver Quarter and there will also be a male voice choir concert at St Nicholas' Chapel from 7pm.

Borough council leader Nick Daubney, the English Commissioner for the League, said: 'International Hanse Day provides us with the perfect opportunity to celebrate King's Lynn's rich history and Hanseatic heritage.

'The guided walks will show the best of the town's medieval merchant houses and historic buildings, while the rampaging pirates will give families a great opportunity to find out why the Hanse League was so important.'

To find out more about International Hanse Day, visit the King's Lynn Tourist Information Centre in the Custom House or call 01553 763044.

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