Boosting Domestic Tourism Through the Heritage of the Hanseatic League

MarketingOost used multimedia experiences to promote the heritage of the Hanseatic League through educational storytelling and inspire creativity.

MarketingOost used the Hanseatic Year to promote heritage for educational tourism, mixing creative design and technological innovation to create interactive and immersive visitor experiences that helped residents connect to their past and plan the future of the destination.

MarketingOost used the Hanseatic Year to promote heritage for educational tourism, mixing creative design and technological innovation to create interactive and immersive visitor experiences that helped residents connect to their past and plan the future of the destination.

DMOs frequently utilise thematic years to align marketing campaigns around the core products of a destination, position destinations and help diversify their image. As a DMO promoting domestic tourism, MarketingOost is an outstanding example of a DMO that understands the importance of promoting heritage for educational tourism. The DMO's focus on mixing creative design, technological innovation and heritage made it a worthy runner-up in the Digital Impact Award at the 2023 X. Awards.

2023, the Hanseatic Year

Across nine vibrant cities in the eastern Netherlands, 2023 marked a momentous occasion – the Hanseatic Year. The Hanseatic League, a powerful network of medieval trading cities (Doesburg, Zutphen, Deventer, Hattem, Zwolle, Hasselt, Kampen, Elburg and Harderwijk), laid the foundation for innovation, collaboration and a thriving spirit that echoed through the centuries.

The legacy of the Hanseatic League remains a powerful force. In 2023, the nine eastern Netherlands cities proved that history isn't a museum exhibit, but a living source of inspiration and strength. Their journey through the Hanseatic Year serves as a beacon, demonstrating how a shared past can empower communities to build a brighter, more collaborative future.

It wasn't just a celebration of 800 years of rich history, but a dynamic exploration of how the Hanseatic legacy continues to shape the present and inspire the future. More than just a nostalgic look back, the Hanseatic Year was a springboard for progress and growth. Entrepreneurs embraced the Hanseatic spirit of daring ideas and ingenuity to spearhead new ventures, while residents fostered a renewed sense of connection and pride in their communities. The year buzzed with initiatives celebrating the Hanseatic heritage, from immersive historical experiences to contemporary interpretations of art, architecture and cuisine.

Panorama Hanze

The 600-year-old Academiehuis Grote Kerk stands as a silent witness to Zwolle's vibrant past and present. Panorama Hanze brings this monumental landmark to life, weaving a captivating narrative around its growth and decline, mirroring the city's own fortunes. With a target audience focused on both primary and secondary education as well as historical associations, the initiative helps preserve the heritage of the Hanseatic League and brings the story to life for new audiences, while four satellite locations in the city help further expand the story.

Through immersive audiovisual experiences and a breathtaking climb to the rooftop, visitors journey through time, witnessing the building's evolution and appreciating its enduring symbolic power. But Panorama Hanze isn't just a walk down memory lane. The experience culminates in a thrilling challenge: bringing back the lost tower of the Grote Kerk. A dedicated design competition invites everyone, from visitors to residents, to become a part of Zwolle's future. The vanished tower, once a symbol of Hanseatic prosperity, becomes a canvas for reimagining the city's skyline in a sustainable and forward-looking way.

Panorama Hanze plunges you into Zwolle's vibrant Hanseatic era. Inspired by period paintings and illustrations, artwork dances across Academiehuis Grote Kerk's walls, seamlessly blending history with theatrical flourishes. But this isn't a flatscreen experience. Projection mapping technology weaves the animations into the very fabric of the building, making you feel like you've stepped into the bustling Hanseatic streets yourself.

The story unfolds through the eyes of Suella, a personified Zwolle, reflecting on her glorious past and turbulent times. This unique narrative approach lets the city breathe, feel and react – celebrating, mourning and ultimately looking to the future with hope. This is no dry historical lecture; it's a passionate, emotional journey powered by music, animation and theatrical magic.

The Academiehuis Grote Kerk doesn't just tell the Hanseatic story; it becomes a vibrant stage for the city's future. Beyond the immersive experience, the roof has hosted music, theatre and yoga, with plans for skyline dinners, transforming the temporary structure into a vibrant platform for local talent. This isn't just about entertainment; it celebrates sustainability, with the church showcasing its newly installed solar panels and the entire audiovisual experience is designed to complement, not compete with, this ancient monument.

Panorama Hanze is more than just an attraction; it's a catalyst for action. It inspires us to learn from the past, embrace the present and actively shape the future. By participating in the design competition and engaging with Zwolle's rich heritage, visitors become co-creators of the city's next chapter, ensuring that the angel Michael, the city's guardian, continues to watch over a vibrant and sustainable Zwolle. This made Academiehuis Grote Kerk the ideal location for hosting the opening of National Heritage Day, following the theme of 'Living Heritage'. 18,000 visitors came in Panorama Hanze's first three months during summer, with the ambition to reach 50,000 visitors during the entire year. Those who visited reported high satisfaction, showing how the blend of technology, storytelling and heritage is crucial for delivering positive educational experiences.

Kleur de Hanze

Kleur de Hanze was a collaborative light art installation where residents were invited to colour in drawings of 11 buildings across the nine Hanseatic cities. Approximately, 1,700 of these drawings were transformed into light projections and displayed between 22 and 30 December, a visual representation of diversity and inclusion.

Both young and old expressed themselves, with the main goal of increasing resident participation and pride in being a Hanseatic City resident. With over 5,000 downloads of the colouring pages, it’s clear to see that this innovative approach was successful, while also helping develop the appeal of the destination through new experiences.

This use of light projection draws significant parallels to the approach of Casa Batlló in Barcelona, where digital artist Refik Anadol used image banks to create an AI-generated moving artwork focused on the theme of 'Living Architecture' that was displayed on the building's facade. In contrast, Kleur de Hanze stands out for its focus on achieving widespread citizen engagement in designing the imagery. Some other excellent examples of citizen-led design include:

  • The Dalí's Dream Tapestry experience: With the assistance of the DALL·E AI tool, the Dali Museum in Florida helped its visitors turn their dreams into a work of art, showcasing how everyone has the potential to showcase their creative thoughts.
  • The Wild Escape: Connecting schools with museums, the project encouraged children to draw artworks of their favourite animal to help instil the importance of conservation, with all of these artworks incorporated in a digital landscape.

Key Takeaways

  • Make Thematic Years Stand Out: Go beyond the traditional themes of sports and nature when designing an annual series of events and marketing campaigns. Instead, highlight more specific aspects of culture and history or natural environments that are unique to your destination.

  • Design Immersive Experiences: Utilise technology to provide more innovative experiences, where visitors are fully immersed through multi-media approaches. Such an approach helps to capture attention and improve the retention of information among visitors.

  • Inspire Creativity Among Citizens: Engaging with local residents is crucial for facilitating civic engagement. Holding unique and engaging events inspires creativity, where citizens take an active role in reimagining the future of their destination.

  • Educational Tourism is a Highly Valuable Market: Students should not be overlooked as a tourism market, especially when covering topics such as cultural or heritage tourism. By encouraging visits from schools, attractions can benefit from visits during off peak periods and help reduce seasonality within their business.
Published on:
January 2024
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