Emden is a city of 50,000 people (2020) in Lower Saxony. The 1,200-year history of the city is closely linked to the seaport. The cityscape of Emden is characterized by 150 kilometers of canals and the typical brick buildings. The city can be explored very nicely by canoe or pedal boat ride from the water. For those who like it easy, there are harbour and canal cruises.
Emden is primarily known in Germany as the "capital" of the region East Frisia and for its most famous son, comedian Otto Waalke, who frequently alludes to his East Frisian heritage. While Emden does have a somewhat important harbour, it is a rather small city in a mostly rural area and struggled economically in the early 2010s. Besides the harbour and a big Volkswagen car plant the main economic draws in the area are tourists who pass through on their way to Borkum and the production and sale of windmills for the generation of energy.
Alongside Geneva and Wittenberg, Emden was one of the most important sites of the Reformation in the 16th century. The baptism of 300 adults in an antechamber of the Great Church marked the beginning of the Anabaptist movement in north-west Germany and the Netherlands. The Synod of Emden (1571) was the first national synod of the Dutch Reformed Church.
Emden sees regular hourly train service from Bremen. There is also Inter-City service from further away with direct service to/from Cologne and Leipzig among others.
- 1 Emden Hauptbahnhof. The main station, for easy access to the city
- 2 Bahnhof Emden Außenhafen. Next to the harbor where ships for Borkum leave.
A31 connects the city to the German Autobahn network.
- 3 Flugpatz Emden (EME IATA). A tiny general aviation airstrip. OFD flies to Borkum.
If you are arriving from farther away, Bremen (BRE IATA), Groningen (GRQ IATA) and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS IATA) are your best bet.
AG EMS runs ferries to Borkum and a couple of other places. The ferry to Borkum is able to carry cars.
- 1 Dat Otto Huus (Otto Waalkes' House), Große Straße 1, ☏ +49 4921 22121. Shop and museum of the German actor and comedian Otto Waalkes.
- 2 Leaning Tower of Suurhusen. The village church steeple in Suurhusen was a previous Guinness World Record holder for having the largest angle of unintentional tilt. It beat the Leaning Tower of Pisa by over a degree.
- VW factory, ☏ +49 4921 86 23 90, email@example.com. M-F 09:45-13:15. You can tour the local Volkswagen factory (prior advance notice necessary) at every weekday when it produces free.
- Hafenhaus, Promenade am alten Binnenhafen 8, ☏ +49 4921 689 56 90, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 09:00-01:00. lunch from €6.30.
- Heerens Hotel, Friedrich Ebert Straße 67, ☏ +49 4921 23740. Free Wi-fi for guests. single from €77 double from €95, suite from €90 (one person) or €118 (two people).
- Norden Norddeich
- Delfzijl (Netherlands)
- Groningen (Netherlands)
- Many visitors to Emden only pass through on their way to Borkum, the largest by area of the East Frisian islands