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Palgrave Macmillan

Baltic Hospitality from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century

Receiving Strangers in Northeastern Europe

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2022

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  • Compares ideas, practices and spaces of hospitality in the Baltic Sea region from the Middle Ages to the 20th century
  • Addresses timely questions about hospitality in Europe which are relevant to current migrant crises
  • Explores discrimination towards migrants throughout history and analyses the circumstances which led to this hostility
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Migration History (PSMH)

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Table of contents (14 chapters)


About this book

Reflecting debate around hospitality and the Baltic Sea region, this open access book taps into wider discussions about reception, securitization and xenophobic attitudes towards migrants and strangers. Focusing on coastal and urban areas, the collection presents an overview of the responses of host communities to guests and strangers in the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea, from the early eleventh century to the twentieth. The chapters investigate why and how diverse categories of strangers including migrants, war refugees, prisoners of war, merchants, missionaries and vagrants, were portrayed as threats to local populations or as objects of their charity, shedding light on the current predicament facing many European countries. Emphasizing the Baltic Sea region as a uniquely multi-layered space of intercultural encounter and conflict, this book demonstrates the significance of Northeastern Europe to migration history.


“This truly transhistorical volume – spanning over a millennium, from ca 1000 to ca 1900 – brilliantly explores the paradoxical nature of hospitality – both about receiving and rejecting strangers – in the Baltic Sea region. Covering a multifarious gallery of social groups – migrants, missionaries, soldiers, peddlers, merchants and vagrant musicians – the book demonstrates how deeply hospitality is interlinked with securitization.”

Marek Tamm, Professor of Cultural History, Tallinn University, Estonia


“This book contributes to a very timely public and scholarly debate on the issue of immigration in Europe from a historical perspective. It is composed of theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich chapters unified in their focus on the issue of dealing with hospitality towards foreigners as a transhistorical phenomenon. The book convincingly highlights the limits and ambiguity of hospitality and demonstrates how specific responses depended on concrete historical, local, spatial, and cultural conditions. This is an important addition to literature on immigration issues.”

Andrea Spehar, Associate Professor in Political Science and Director of the Centre on Global Migration, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


"Covering a millennium of encounters between missionaries, soldiers, refugees and traders and settled communities around the Baltic rim, this engaging volume explores the ambiguity of hospitality as an intrinsic element of migration. The contributions consistently reveal that host populations across time considered mutual commitments and integration as the most efficient securitization measures, thus offering an alternative to the prevalent emphasis on conflict and confrontation found in many of the traditional national historiographies of the region.”

Lars Fredrik Stöcker, University of Vienna, Austria

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

    Sari Nauman, Wojtek Jezierski

  • Department of History, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

    Christina Reimann

  • School of History and Contemporary Studies, Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden

    Leif Runefelt

About the editors

Sari Nauman is Associate Professor in History at Södertörn University and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.


Wojtek Jezierski is Associate Professor in History at Södertörn University, Stockholm University, University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the University of Oslo in Norway.


Christina Reimann is Postdoctoral Researcher in History at Stockholm University, Södertörn University and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.


Leif Runefelt is Professor in the History of Ideas at Södertörn University, Sweden.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Baltic Hospitality from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century

  • Book Subtitle: Receiving Strangers in Northeastern Europe

  • Editors: Sari Nauman, Wojtek Jezierski, Christina Reimann, Leif Runefelt

  • Series Title: Palgrave Studies in Migration History

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: History, History (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-98526-4Published: 16 August 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-98529-5Published: 16 August 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-98527-1Published: 15 August 2022

  • Series ISSN: 2946-4358

  • Series E-ISSN: 2946-4366

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIV, 394

  • Number of Illustrations: 7 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: European History, Migration, Social History, History of Medieval Europe, Cultural History

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