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State:Lower Saxony
Adm. Region:Weser-Ems
Area:2881 km²
Inhabitants:304,700 (2001)
pop. density:106 inh./km²
Car identification:EL

Emsland is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is bounded by (from the north and clockwise) the districts of Leer, Cloppenburg and Osnabrück, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (district of Steinfurt), the district of Bentheim and the Netherlands.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Geography
3 Coat of arms
4 Towns and municipalities
5 External links


Long time the Emsland was extremely sparsely populated, due to the fens on both sides of the river. Small villages were established in medieval times along the river and on the Hümmling. In the 13th century the bishops of Münster gained control over the region; the Emsland remained property of the bishop until 1803, when the clerical states were dissolved. It came under Prussian rule, but after the Napoleonic Wars the Congress of Vienna decided to hand the territory over to the kingdom of Hanover. It was now called the duchy of Arenberg-Meppen. When Hanover was annexed by Prussia (1866), the dukes were deposed soon after.

The now Prussian province of Hanover was subdivided into districts in 1885; four districts were established on the territory of what is now the Emsland. The districts were merged in 1977 to form the present district.

In 1950 a governmental plan for the development of Emsland was adopted. It should turn the region into an industrial location. This was made by draining the fens and establishing projects like the test track of the maglev "Transrapid" or several large shipyards in Papenburg. Although Emsland lost much of its original character, some areas could retain their naturalness, for example the Hümmling.


The district is located on the Dutch border. It is named after the Ems river, which crosses the region from south to north. It is an absolutely plain countryside, which was once full of fens. The only elevations are in the Hümmling, which is a hilly forest area east of the Ems.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms displays:
  • a megalithic grave, typical for the Hümmling area
  • the roses from the arms of the duchy of Arenberg-Meppen
  • the anchor from the arms of the medieval county of Lingen
The wavy line symbolises the river Ems.

Towns and municipalities

  1. Freren
  2. Haren
  3. Haselünne
  4. Lingen
  5. Meppen
  6. Papenburg
  1. Dörpen
  2. Freren
  3. Herzlake
  4. Lathen
  5. Lengerich
  6. Nordhümmling
  7. Sögel
  8. Spelle
  9. Werlte
    Free municipalities
  1. Emsbüren
  2. Geeste
  3. Rhede
  4. Salzbergen
  5. Twist

External links

Official website (German)
Touristical website (German, English, Dutch)\n