Störtebeker & Company

Date: 02/2019 – 09/2019

Location: Lübeck

Client: Europäisches Hansemuseum Lübeck

The sea provides plenty of opportunity for legends and stories. The world of pirates, in particular, lets the imagination run wild. In Germany, the name Klaus Störtebeker is closely associated with many of these stories. The question of who ruled the seas at the time of the Hanseatic League – pirates, privateers, the Victual Brothers or merchants – can now be explored inside the medieval Castle Friary at the European Hansemuseum.
In the Hanseatic City of Lübeck, the unique special exhibition “Störtebeker & Company – pirates of the Hanse period?” explores the lore and legends surrounding the notorious Klaus Störtebeker and associated concepts of piracy. The focal point of this exploration is piracy in the time of the Hanseatic League, which was active between the 14th and 16th centuries in the North Sea and Baltic region. The exhibition paints an accurate picture of piracy in the late Middle Ages by focusing on the stories of individual seafarers. Special model ships and original equipment used by these dubious sailors and pirate hunters are on display – including a sword, chain mail, a dagger and a cannon.

Though such tools were only rarely used in the actual plundering of ships, they bring the exhibition to life in a special way and fuel the atmosphere of adventure for exhibition visitors. Throughout the exhibition, biographies from well-known characters such as Gödeke Michels, Bartholomäus Voet, Paul Beneke and others span the centuries and reflect life at sea from the time of these influential alliances right up to the present day.
It is the first time an exhibition also dares to compare medieval piracy in the North Sea and Baltic region with current forms of piracy off the coasts of Somalia and Nigeria, for example. In doing so, parallels emerge between the “violent entrepreneurs” of the Hanseatic era and those of today.
Having been awarded the contract, molitor was tasked with designing and creating the atmospheric special exhibition in the Hansemuseum, which is a protected historical monument. Through exciting exhibits, shadow puppetry, interactive stations and pirate radio plays, the exhibition definitely invites visitors to dive into this fascinating topic.

Fotos: © Olaf Malzahn

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