The Medieval Hanseatic League is fairly considered to be the original model for the existing European Union. The traditions of Hansa proved to be very popular in the 20th - the 21st cc. That is why founded in 1980 the Hanseatic League of the Modern Age was based on the traditions of medieval Hansa.
Medieval Novgorod was a link between Old Russia and Europe, and the leading trade partner of medieval Hansa. That explains why in 1993 Novgorod became the first Russian member of the Hanseatic League of Modern Age and annually shares its medieval traditions at International Hansa Days. In the year of its 1150th anniversary, Novgorod is hosting the 29th international Forum "Hansa Days of the Modern Age", being hold under the motto "Expanding the Borders".
The Hanseatic League of the Modern Age - that was founded on the traditions of medieval Hansa in 1980 - has set preservation of cultural heritage as its first priority.
In 1993 there was the Hansa Committee gathering in the German town of Stade where it was decided to collect contributions all around the Hanseatic cities and towns for the restoring the unique St. Nicholas Cathedral (12th c.) in Veliky Novgorod.
Built in 1113 – 1136, the cathedral was sanctified in honour of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, a highly revered saint in Russia of all the times. In 1992 the cathedral was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
Being of about the same age as Veliky Novgorod itself, St. Nicholas Cathedral has been located in Yaroslav’s Courtyard at the very heart of Veliky Novgorod for over nine centuries, and, thus, by the late 20th c. it needed urgent and expensive restoration by the end of the XX century. Had the restoration never been started or never completed within a short period of time, the masterpiece of the 20th c. architectural design would have been lost for good. The state of the Russian economy in 1990s could not afford it, so the Hanseatic partners helped the city out of the problem again as they had previously done in the history of Russian-Hansa cooperation.
Residents of one hundred Hansa cities and towns from Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Estonia contributed to saving St. Nicholas Cathedral.
On June 20, 1994 the mayor of Veliky Novgorod Alexander Korsunov, and the President of the Hanseatic League of the Modern Age and the mayor of Lubeck Michael Bouteiller signed the Agreement between Veliky Novgorod and the Hanseatic Commission of financing restoration of St. Nicholas Cathedral.
When Novgorod was celebrating its 1140th year in 1999, the Cathedral grandeur was overpowering. During restoration works, the masterpiece of the 20th c. architecture was saved from total decay. Moreover, it was also given a makeover by removing the imprints of time: the marvelous cathedral was restored in its original form.
Novgorod gratefully remembers the names of the Hansa cities whose residents contributed to the project of saving one of the most outstanding architectural monuments of world importance. The names of the cities have been listed by the main entrance to the cathedral.