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Emden (German: [ɛmdn̩]) is an independent city and seaport in Lower Saxony in the northwest of Germany, on the river Ems. It is the main city of the region of East Frisia and, in 2011, had a total population of 51,528.

Flug Emden 2010 191.JPG
Coat of arms of Emden
Coat of arms
Location of Emden
Emden is located in Germany
Emden is located in Lower Saxony
Coordinates: 53°22′1″N 07°12′22″E / 53.36694°N 7.20611°E / 53.36694; 7.20611Coordinates: 53°22′1″N 07°12′22″E / 53.36694°N 7.20611°E / 53.36694; 7.20611
StateLower Saxony
DistrictUrban district
 • Lord MayorBernd Bornemann (SPD)
 • Total112.33 km2 (43.37 sq mi)
1 m (3 ft)
 • Total50,195
 • Density450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
26721, 26723, 26725
Dialling codes04921, 04927 (Knock)
Vehicle registrationEMD


Historical affiliations
  County of East Frisia 1464–1744

  Kingdom of Prussia 1744–1806
  Kingdom of Holland 1806–1810
  First French Empire 1810–1813
  Kingdom of Prussia 1813–1815
  Kingdom of Hanover 1815–1866
  Kingdom of Prussia 1866–1871
  German Empire 1871–1918
  Weimar Republic 1918–1933
  Nazi Germany 1933–1945
  Allied-occupied Germany 1945–1949
  West Germany 1949–1990

  Germany 1990–present
The New Church in Emden (1648).

The exact founding date of Emden is unknown, but it has existed at least since the 8th century. Older names for Emden are Amuthon, Embda, Emda, Embden and Embderland. Town privilege and the town's coat of arms, the Engelke up de Muer (The Little Angel on the Wall) was granted by Emperor Maximilian I in 1495.

In the 16th century, Emden briefly became an important centre for the Protestant Reformation under the rule of Countess Anna von Oldenburg who was determined to find a religious "third way" between Lutheranism and Catholicism. In 1542 she invited the Polish noble John Laski (or Joahannes a Lasco) to become pastor of a Protestant church at Emden;[2]:xi and for 7 years he continued to spread the new religion around the area of East Frisia. However, in 1549 following pressure from the Emperor Charles V, the Countess was forced to ask Laski to leave for England and the experiment came to an end. Nevertheless, the legacy was important for the reformation in the Netherlands.

Emden was a very rich city during the 17th century, due to large numbers of Dutch immigrants such as Diederik Jansz. Graeff. It was a centre of reformed Protestantism at that time, producing the first Bible translation in Dutch.

The Emden Revolution in 1595 resulted in Emden becoming a distinct city-state.[3] The political theorist Johannes Althusius served as Syndic from 1604 to 1638.[2]:xii

In 1744 Emden was annexed by Prussia. In 1752 Frederick the Great chartered the Emden Company to trade with Canton, but the company was ruined when Emden was captured by French forces in 1757 during the Seven Years' War. The city was recaptured by Anglo-German forces in 1758 and for the rest of the conflict was used as a major supply base by the British to support the ongoing war in Westphalia.

During the Napoleonic French era, Emden and the surrounding lands of East Frisia were part of the short-lived Kingdom of Holland.

Industrialization started at around 1870, with a paper mill and a somewhat bigger shipyard. At the end of the 19th century, a big canal, the Dortmund-Ems Canal was constructed, which connected Emden with the Ruhr area. This made Emden the "seaport of the Ruhr area", which lasted until the 1970s. Coal from the south was transported to the North Sea port, and imported iron ore was shipped via the canal towards Rhine and the Ruhr. The last iron ore freighter was moored in the port of Emden in 1986.

In 1903, a large shipyard (Nordseewerke, "North Sea Works") was founded which still exists today.

The city centre was almost completely wiped out as a result of Allied bombing raids during the Second World War, destroying nearly all historic buildings. The RAF first bombed Emden on 31 March 1940. The most severe bombing took place on 6 September 1944, when roughly 80 percent of all houses in the city centre were destroyed. In the collective memory of the city, this date still plays an important role. The shipyard area was largely untouched – the British targeted the civilian areas, apparently in revenge for the bombing of Coventry by the Luftwaffe.[citation needed] The reconstructed city was opened on 6 September 1962, exactly 18 years after the bombing.


Climate data for Emden (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.7
Average low °C (°F) −0.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 66.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 53.0 70.7 122.7 179.5 216.6 204.4 211.3 186.2 143.3 112.7 54.3 51.5 1,606.2
Source: Météoclimat


The main industries in Emden are automobile production and shipbuilding. Volkswagen runs a large production plant which builds the Volkswagen Passat car and which employs around 10,000 people. Emden harbor is also one of the three main ports for car shipping in Europe (together with Zeebrugge in Belgium and Bremerhaven in Germany). More than 850,000 cars were imported and exported in 2005. The Nordseewerke shipyard, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp, employs around 1,400 dockers and specializes in conventional submarines. It also produces different kinds of cargo ships as well as ships for special purposes such as icebreakers, dredgers and other ships of that type.

Another important economic sector is tourism, mainly as a day trip destination for tourists staying in the surrounding villages on the North Sea coastline.

A university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule) was opened in 1973. At present, around 4.240 students are enrolled, most of them studying for technical degrees.

The airline Ostfriesische Lufttransport has its headquarters in Emden.[4]


The highest playing[clarification needed] association football club is BSV Kickers Emden. The capacity of the stadium is 7,200, due to safety objections of the German Football Association. In 1994, some 12,000 spectators followed a match against the reserves squad of Hamburger SV, which remains the record. In that season, Kickers Emden finished top of the 3rd League, but were not promoted to the Second League as they lost the promotion round.

Since Emden is not only located close to the North Sea, but also to the river Ems and various small rivers and canals, boat sports are very popular among inhabitants and tourists.

Notable peopleEdit

Self-portrait by Ludolf Bakhuizen

Ships and places named after the cityEdit

Retired light vessel Amrumbank in front of Emden city hall.
The City Hall (Rathaus)

Three German light cruisers were named after the city, two of which served in World War I and the third in World War II. Today, the fifth navy ship named after the city is in service.

A deep sea spot in the Pacific Ocean close to the Philippines is named after the first Emden ship, and is therefore called Emdentief in German. The spot (10,400 m deep) was sounded in the 1920s (in 1920, 1923 or 1928—sources vary).

In addition, the village of Emden, Illinois in the United States was named after Jacob Emden[5] due to the large number of emigrants from Emden to the village in northwestern Logan County, Illinois. Another namesake city in the USA is the unincorporated town of Embden, North Dakota (the b added to correct the pronunciation).[6]

International relationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Landesamt für Statistik Niedersachsen, LSN-Online Regionaldatenbank, Tabelle 12411: Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes, Stand 31. Dezember 2018.
  2. ^ a b Carney, Frederick S. (1995). Politica:Translator's Introduction. Liberty Fund. ISBN 9780865971158.
  3. ^ Mentzer, Raymond (1994). Sin and the Calvinists: Morals, Control and the Consistory in Reformed Tradition. Truman State University Press. p. 22. ISBN 1931112185.
  4. ^ "Imprint". (Archive) Ostfriesische Lufttransport. Retrieved on 4 August 2011. "Gorch-Fock-Str. 103 26721 Emden Germany".
  5. ^ Archived 29 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Wick, Douglas A. (1988). "Embden (Cass County)". North Dakota Place Names. Bismarck, ND: Hedemarken Collectibles. ISBN 0962096806. OCLC 18941733. Retrieved 12 May 2012.

External linksEdit