EMDEN, a maritime town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Hanover, near the mouth of the Ems, 49 m. N.W. from Oldenburg by rail. Pop. (1885) 14,019; (1905) 20,754. The Ems once flowed beneath its walls, but is now 2 m. distant, and connected with the town by a broad and deep canal, divided into the inner (or dock) harbour and the outer (or "free port") harbour. The latter is m. in length, has a breadth of nearly 400 ft., and since the construction of the Ems-Jade and Dortmund-Ems canals, has been deepened to 38 ft., thus allowing the largest sea-going vessels to approach its wharves. The town is intersected by canals (crossed by numerous bridges), which bring it into communication with most of the towns in East Friesland, of which it is the commercial capital. The waterways which traverse and surround it and the character of its numerous gabled medieval houses give it the appearance of an old Dutch, rather than of a German, town. Of its churches the most noteworthy are the Reformed "Great Church" (Grosse Kirche), a large Gothic building completed in 1455, containing the tomb of Enno II. (d. 1540), count of East Friesland; the Gasthauskirche, formerly the church of a Franciscan friary founded in 1317; and the Neue Kirche (1643-1647). Of its secular buildings, the Rathaus (town-hall), built in 1574-1576, on the model of that of Antwerp, with a lofty tower, and containing an interesting collection of arms and armour, is particularly remarkable. There are numerous educational institutions, including classical and modern schools, and schools of commerce, navigation and telegraphy. The town has two interesting museums. Emden is the seat of an active trade in agricultural produce and live-stock, horses, timber, coal, tea and wine. The deep-sea fishing industry of the town is important, the fishing fleet in 1902 numbering 67 vessels. Machinery, cement, cordage, wire ropes, tobacco, leather, etc. are manufactured. Emden is also of importance as the station of the submarine cables connecting Germany with England, North America and Spain. It has a regular steamboat service with Borkum and Norderney.
Emden (Emuden, Emetha) is first mentioned in the 12th century, when it was the capital of the Eemsgo (Emsgau, or county of the Ems), one of the three hereditary countships into which East Friesland had been divided by the emperor. In 1252 the countship was sold to the bishops of Münster; but their rule soon became little more than nominal, and in Emden itself the family of Abdena, the episcopal provosts and castellans, established their practical independence. Towards the end of the 14th century the town gained a considerable trade owing to the permission given by the provost to the pirates known as "Viktualienbrüder" to make it their market, after they had been driven out of Gothland by the Teutonic Order. In 1402, after the defeat of the pirates off Heligoland by the fleet of Hamburg, Emden was besieged, but it was not reduced by Hamburg, with the aid of Edzard Cirksena of Greetsyl, until 1431. The town was held jointly by its captors till 1453, when Hamburg sold its rights to Ulrich Cirksena, created count of East Friesland by the emperor Frederick III. in 1454. In 1544 the Reformation was introduced, and in the following years numerous Protestant refugees from the Low Countries found their way to the town. In 1595 Emden became a free imperial city under the protection of Holland, and was occupied by a Dutch garrison until 1744 when, with East Friesland, it was transferred to Prussia. In 1810 Emden became the chief town of the French department of Ems Oriental; in 1815 it was assigned to Hanover, and in 1866 was annexed with that kingdom by Prussia.
See Fürbringer, Die Stadt Emden in Gegenwart und Vergangenheit (Emden, 1892).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)