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Leer is a town in the district of Leermarker, the northwestern part of Lower Saxonymarker, Germanymarker. It is situated at the river Ems, on the border with the Netherlandsmarker.

It has a railway and autobahn connection to Groningenmarker, Netherlands, Emdenmarker, Bremenmarker and the South (Rheinemarker and the Ruhrpott industrial region).


Leer had been a settlement long before it was first mentioned in written documents. Originally the city was situated at a meander near the mouth of the river Leda into the Ems, which is still the center of the town today. Even though Leer is some 30 km (19 miles) away from the coast, it can be reached by large ships via the Ems.Leer lies close to the Dutch border, the district of Leer shares a border with the Dutch province of Groningenmarker.


There are many traces of early settlements in the area, including crude flint tools that are dated back to the 3200 BC.

In 791 AD Saint Ludger built the first chapel in East Frisia at the western edge of the settlement Leer, then still named Hleri after feetlot, willow. This chapel is mentioned in a written document from 850 AD for the first time.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, Leer was home town of the Ukena family which was one most influential East-Frisian chieftain families of that time. The town profited from the trade with the Hanse, and a fortress Leerort was built.
Remains of the Feste Leerort at the mouth of the Leda into the Ems river, 1453-1760

The right to have a market was obtained in 1508 by Count Edzard, which started the tradition of the "Gallimarkt" that is now an annual fair. In 1744 East Frisia fell to Prussia, then ruled by Frederick the Great. Town privileges were awarded in 1823 by George IV, King of Hanovermarker.

In 1854 Leer became connected to the "Hannoversche Westbahn" railway, which at that time connected Emdenmarker and Rheinemarker in the Ruhr area. In 1856 the Westbahn was connected to the central German railway network.

Unlike Emden, Leer only suffered little damage by Allied bombing in World War II. The city was occupied by Canadian troops on April 28, 1945.

On 1 October 1955 Leer got the status of an independent city.


Leer is a traditional Protestant city and home to both the Lutheran and Reformed churches. The German Reformed Church has its head office in Leer. Furthermore Leer offers an unusually large variety of smaller religious communities, especially Baptists, Mennonites, Methodists, Adventists and Mormons. Even though Eastern Frisia is a mainly a Protestant region, there is a small Roman Catholic community in Leer.


Since 1964 the city's government has been led by the Social-Democratic Party SPD. The major opposition parties are the Christian Democratic Union Party CDU, the Green Party and the AWG, an independent local party.

Local council:

  • SPD: 42.5 % / 16 Seats
  • CDU: 28.5 % / 7 Seats
  • AWG: 12.2 % / 4 Seats
  • Grüne: 10.1 % / 4 Seats
  • FDP: 4.8 % / 2 Seats
  • The Left: 2.3 % / 1 Seat

The mayor of Leer is Wolfgang Kellner.

Twin Towns:



Image:Rathaus Leer.jpg|City Hall in LeerImage:Leer city centre.JPG|City Centre in Leer

Each year in autumn the Gallimarkt is held. Traditionally a cattle-market, the Gallimarkt is now one of the largest fairs in Northwest Germanymarker.

Economics and infrastructure

Two autobahns (freeways) cross north of Leer, the A 28 (Leer - Bremenmarker) and the A 31 (Emden - Oberhausenmarker, Ruhr Area). The city itself has three junctions to the autobahns. Leer railway station is a relay station between Groningenmarker and Bremenmarker in the west-east direction and the South and Emden harbour (with a large VW factory and shipping facilities) in the north. The airfield Leer-Papenburg north of the city offers limited passenger flights to nearby airfields, most notably the East Frisian Islands. The closest international airport is Bremen International Airport.

Leer is home to many German shipping companies — about 20 per cent of the German merchant fleet are registered in Leer. The Bünting group [25245] is based in Leer and is one of the city's main employers. Although Bünting owns several German supermarket chains, the company is best known for their tea, which is available all over Germany.


In Leer are seven primary schools and numerous secondary schools. The two gymnasiums , Teletta Gross Gymnasium and Ubbo-Emmius-Gymnasiummarker, educate more than 1,500 pupils each and are two of the largest grammar schools in Lower Saxonymarker. The town also offers education at two vocational schools.

Notable persons

External links

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