Emden – The North Sea’s Gateway to Germany
Location: At the Mouth of the River Ems
Emden is located near where the River Ems flows into the ocean, on the north-western coast of the state of Lower Saxony. The city is well linked to Germany’s transport infrastructure–with a major port, road, and rail connections, and even an airfield, though many travelers elect instead to fly into the larger Bremen Airport, and take public transport from there. A number of ferries provide access to the various nearby North Sea islands.
Business: Automobile and Watercraft Production
Vehicle production is Emden’s largest industry. Volkswagen operates a large manufacturing plant in Emden, where roughly 10,000 employees build their Passat model. Over at the Nordseewerke (“North Sea Company”) shipyard, everything from cargo ships to icebreakers and submarines are constructed. Tourism is important in Emden as well, as the town is a prime ferry link between mainland Germany and many of the North Sea islands where beachgoers flock.
Culture: A Long Maritime Heritage
While many of Emden’s older buildings were damaged or destroyed during wartime bombardment, some distinctive churches (such as The New Church, constructed in 1648 after the reformation) have survived. Don’t skip the Kunsthalle Emden for fine examples of classical art; and should you be visiting in June, take in the revelries of the Matjesfest, which celebrates the local herring industry–a historic backbone of the community.
Activities: Outdoors Excursions
Emden is a town best explored outside of an automobile. The streets are very bicycle-friendly, and many of the neighboring villages can be reached on two wheels. Visitors will also enjoy the nearby coastline and river mouth via canoe or kayak–paddle over towards the Kesselschleuse (“Canal Crossroad Lock”)–the only one of its kind in Europe, where four canals converge into a round central basin.