Gdansk, Tallinn, Vilnius and Riga were every part as much of the Hanseatic League as Hamburg and Bremen. Even today, the cities’ beautiful medieval buildings are a reminder of that age. Now that the states along the eastern Baltic have joined the European Union, the old Hanseatic cities are rekindling their old bonds. In the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic League’s influence extended across much of Europe, and trade flourished. The Hanseatic cities even had their own legal system, which was an important factor in their economic and political success. Some experts say the Hanseatic League could serve as a useful model for European integration today.