Flag of Emden
Coat of arms of Emden
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; 7.20611
StateLower Saxony
DistrictUrban district
 • Lord mayor (2019–24) Tim Kruithoff[1] (Ind.)
 • Total112.33 km2 (43.37 sq mi)
1 m (3 ft)
 • Total50,535
 • Density450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
26721, 26723, 26725
Dialling codes04921, 04927 (Knock)
Vehicle registrationEMD
Aerial view

Emden (German pronunciation: [ˈɛmdn̩] ) 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.


Historical affiliations

County of East Frisia 1464–1744
 Kingdom of Prussia 1744–1806
Netherlands 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

A church in Emden built in 1648

The exact founding date of Emden is unknown, but it has existed at least since the 8th century. Older names for Emden are Setutanda,[3] 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 Johannes a Lasco) to become pastor of a Protestant church at Emden,[4]: xi  and for seven 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.

At the end of the 16th century, Emden experienced a period of great prosperity. Due to the Spanish blockade of Flemish and Brabant ports at the start of the Dutch Revolt, Emden became the most important transshipment port on the North Sea. Thousands of Protestant refugees came from Flanders and the Duchy of Brabant to the Protestant city Emden to escape persecution by the Spanish rulers of the Low Countries. During this period, the predominantly Calvinist Emden came into conflict with the Lutheran counts of East Friesland.

The Emden Revolution in 1595 resulted in Emden becoming a distinct city-state.[5] With the support of the Dutch Republic, Emden became a free government city under the protection of the Dutch Republic. The Brabantian dialect became the official language of trade and civil administration. Emden was a very rich city during the 17th century, due to large numbers of Dutch and Flemish immigrants such as Diederik Jansz. Graeff. It was a centre of reformed Protestantism at that time. The political theorist Johannes Althusius served as Syndic from 1604 to 1638.[4]: 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 Wars, 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 and was in operation until 2010. During World War II, Emden was repeatedly targeted by Allied bombing raids, which destroyed the majority of the city center. The Royal Air Force (RAF) launched its first bombing raid over Emden in 31 March 1940, and both the RAF and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) continued to launch raids against the city for the duration of the war. On 6 September 1944, the RAF and USAAF launched their largest bombing raid against Emden, which destroyed approximately 80% of all structures in the city center. However, the Emden shipyards, in contrast to the rest of the city, was left largely unaffected by the bombing raids.[6] After the war, Emden came under Allied occupation and rebuilding efforts commenced. On 6 September 1962, exactly 18 years after the 1944 raid, the current Emden city hall was officially opened.[citation needed]


Climate data for Emden (1991–2020 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 5.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.9
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 0.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 69.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 20.6 16.0 15.6 13.9 14.0 15.3 17.7 16.7 16.4 18.6 19.3 21.0 205.4
Average relative humidity (%) 89.4 86.5 82.4 77.8 76.6 77.7 78.5 79.6 82.9 85.9 89.7 90.3 83.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 42.9 70.7 122.3 185.4 214.1 202.8 202.4 186.4 145.9 103.3 52.7 42.2 1,582
Source: NOAA[7]


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 1.4 million cars were imported and exported in 2017.[8] 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 had its headquarters in Emden.[9]


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 people

Ludolf Bakhuizen self-portrait
Melusine von der Schulenburg, ca 1705

Ships and places named after the city

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 or 34,100 ft deep) was sounded in the 1920s (in 1920, 1923 or 1928—sources vary).

The word "Yamandan" and "Emden" entered the lexicons of Malayalam and Tamil respectively after the bombing of Madras Harbour in 1914 by SMS Emden. The word in the local language means a humongous or huge and sometimes "a person who dares and works with precision".[13]

In addition, the village of Emden, Illinois in the United States was named after Jacob Emden[14] due to the large number of emigrants from Emden to the village in northwestern Logan County, Illinois. Other places in the U.S. named after the city include Emden, Missouri; Embden, Maine; and Embden, North Dakota.[15]

Twin towns – sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Germany

Emden is twinned with:[16]


  1. ^ "Verzeichnis der direkt gewählten Bürgermeister/-innen und Landräte/Landrätinnen". Landesamt für Statistik Niedersachsen. April 2021.
  2. ^ "LSN-Online Regionaldatenbank, Tabelle A100001G: Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes, Stand 31. Dezember 2022" (in German). Landesamt für Statistik Niedersachsen.
  3. ^ "Old Germanic Toponymie | PDF". Scribd. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b Carney, Frederick S. (1995). Politica:Translator's Introduction. Liberty Fund. ISBN 9780865971158.
  5. ^ Mentzer, Raymond (1994). Sin and the Calvinists: Morals, Control and the Consistory in Reformed Tradition. Truman State University Press. p. 22. ISBN 1931112185.
  6. ^ "You have no chance – Airminded". Airminded. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2020. Why are we doing so? It is not revenge, though we do not forget Warsaw, Belgrade, Rotterdam, London, Plymouth and Coventry. We are bombing Germany, city by city, and ever more terribly, in order to make it impossible for you to go on with the war. That is our object. We shall pursue it remorselessly. City by city: Lübeck, Rostock, Cologne, Emden, Bremen, Wilhelmshaven, Duisburg, Hamburg -- and the list will grow longer and longer.
  7. ^ "Emden Climate Normals 1991–2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on 16 September 2023. Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  8. ^ Emden Autoport. Retrieved 21 September 2021 (german).
  9. ^ "Imprint". (Archive) Ostfriesische Lufttransport. Retrieved on 4 August 2011. "Gorch-Fock-Str. 103 26721 Emden Germany".
  10. ^ "Alting, Johann Heinrich" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 764.
  11. ^ "Backhuysen, Ludolf" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 135.
  12. ^ "Kendal, Dukedom of" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 727, see second para = "In 1719 Ehrengarde Melusina (1667–1743), mistress of.......".
  13. ^ "108 years of Emden – the only World War I attack on India".
  14. ^ Emdenil.com Archived 29 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Wick, Douglas A. (1988). "Embden (Cass County)". North Dakota Place Names. Bismarck, ND: Hedemarken Collectibles. ISBN 0962096806. OCLC 18941733. Archived from the original on 10 September 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  16. ^ "Emder Städtepartnerschaften". emden.de (in German). Emden. Retrieved 30 November 2019.