Network of Cities

Magdeburg law shaped life in many Central and Eastern European cities for centuries and more than a few rules and laws codified earlier are still in force today in modified form. A growing number of cities in Central and Eastern Europe are now returning to this common foundation of their legal and value systems, thus revealing once again that precisely this community of shared values and cultural interrelationships is what unites Europe while highlighting this network of cities’ potential of for the future. Since the Middle Ages, the cities with Magdeburg law have been cultivating communication and consultation outside of official and government channels of diplomacy to resolve legal and administrative conflicts in urban life.

By reviving these historical ties and maintaining lively dialog in urban Europe, the network can play a role in further unifying Europe and in providing solutions to current cultural policy and social issues. A number of former cities with Magdeburg law have begun delving into this subject in recent years, publicizing their efforts and reviving their common identity. Among others, the following events have been held as part of these efforts:

  • Conference “Europäische Städte des Magdeburger Rechts. Tradition. Erbe. Identität” in Krakow in 2006
  • International research workshop “Die Auswirkungen des Magdeburger Rechts auf Politik, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft in Ostmitteleuropa. Überlegungen zu einem europäischen Ausstellungsprojekt” at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw in 2010
  • Conference “The European Route of the Magdeburg Law: Historical and Current Relations Between Cities“ in Vilnius 2013

The historical geography of Magdeburg law spans large parts of Central and Eastern Europe and can unite them today. This is increasingly drawing attention to the newer EU member states and their neighbors. The collective revival of such a subject as Magdeburg law accentuates longstanding common values that unite the different countries, thus furthering their integration in the European Union.

The network of cities with Magdeburg law can create a permanent platform for dialog among the members of this historical “legal tradition”. Moreover, the examination of Magdeburg law on the basis of a legal heritage and historical experience that transcend borders can develop perspectives for the future and enrich our common Europe with this historical and cultural dimension.

The 21st century is also referred to as the “urban century”. More people are living in cities than ever before. Cities are growing and facing new challenges. Recalling the time when numerous cities emerged in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the responses formulated in those days to issues that are still current today will enable the network to contribute collectively to meeting European challenges related to cultural policy and municipal government. A very large number of cities still exist, which were once organized on the basis of Magdeburg law. In the future, these pages will inform you about vestiges of Magdeburg law in these cities, which have endured into the 21st century, and the diverse development of this family of cities. A network thrives through active exchange among its members and interested individuals – join in and get to know and visit each other.


The Cities of the Network of Cities