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Emden is a city and seaport in the northwest of Germanymarker, on river Ems. It is the main city of the region of East Frisia; in 2006, the city had a total population of 51,692.


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. City rights and the city's coat of arms, the "Engelke up de Muer" was granted by Emperor Maximilian I in 1495.

Emden was a very rich city during the 17th century, due to large numbers of Dutchmarker immigrants such as Diederik Jansz. Graeff. It was a center of reformed Protestantism at that time, producing the first Bible translation in Dutch. During the Napoleonic Frenchmarker 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 Canalmarker 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 Rhinemarker and Ruhrmarker. The last iron ore freighter was moored in Emdens port in 1986.

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

The main city was almost completely wiped out during allied bombing raids during the Second World War, destroying nearly all historic buildings. The most severe bombing took place on September 6, 1944, when roughly 80 percent of all houses in the inner city were destroyed. In the collective memory of the city, this date still plays an important role. Of note is the fact that the shipyard area was largely untouched: The British targeted the civilian areas, which is believed by the locals to have been revenge for a bombing of an English city by the Luftwaffe. The reconstructed town was opened on 6 September 1962, exactly 18 years after the bombing.


Retired light vessel Amrumbank in front of Emden town hall.

The main industries in Emden are automobile production and shipbuilding. Volkswagen runs a large factory building the VW Passat car, where around 10,000 people are employed. Also, Emden is one of the three main ports for car transportation in Europe (together with Zeebrugge in Belgium and Bremerhaven in Germany). In 2005, more than 850,000 cars were imported and exported. The Nordseewerke shipyard, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp, employs around 1,400 dockers and is specialized in conventional submarines. Furthermore, it produces different kinds of cargo ships as well as ships for special purposes such as icebreakers, dredgers and the like.

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

In 1973, a university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule) was opened. At present, around 3500 students are enrolled, most of them in technical degrees.


The highest playing football (soccer) club is BSV Kickers Emden in the Third German League. The club was founded by Gustav Pluennecke & friends. 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 still is the record. In that season, Kickers Emden became the champion of the 3rd League, but failed to be promoted to the Second League since the team 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.

Famous people from Emden

The Town Hall (Rathaus)

Ships and others named after the city

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 "second" 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, Illinoismarker in the United Statesmarker was named after Emden [27886]due to the large number of emigrants from Emden to the village in northwestern Logan County, Illinoismarker.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Emden is twinned with:

External links

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