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Friesland (district)

State:Lower Saxony
Adm. Region:Weser-Ems
Area:608 km²
Inhabitants:99,900 (1999)
pop. density:104 inh./km²
Car identification:FRI

Friesland is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is bounded by (from the southeast and clockwise) the districts of Wesermarsch, Ammerland, Leer and Wittmund, and by the North Sea. The city of Wilhelmshaven is enclosed by, but not part of the district.

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


Friesland was ruled by local chieftains until the 15th century - see Ostfriesland for details. In 1438 the state of Jever was founded, which was the first state to comprise all of Friesland. Ostfriesland was from then on regarded as a hostile territory, and lots of skirmishes between Friesland and Ostfriesland took place during the 15th and 16th centuries. The last ruler of Friesland was Maria of Jever, who ruled until 1575.

After her death Friesland became a part of Oldenburg, but Ostfriesland made a claim for the territory as well. In the following decades Ostfriesland tried to block all roads between Friesland and Oldenburg. It was not before the 17th century, that the hostilities between Ostfriesland and Friesland ended.

From 1667 to 1793 Friesland was an exclave of Anhalt-Zerbst, and afterwards the westernmost exclave of Russia. In 1818 Friesland became a part of Oldenburg again.

The district was established in 1933 by merging the former districts of Jever and Varel. In an administrative reform of 1977 this district was planned to be dissolved and divided between the neighbouring districts of Wittmund and Ammerland. The population successfully protested against the dissolution of their district, and the reform was undone in 1980.


In the east the district is bounded by the Jadebusen, a shallow bay of the North Sea. The island of Wangerooge, belonging to the East Frisian Islands, is a part of Friesland.

The inhabitants of Friesland insist, that they are not a part of Ostfriesland ("Eastern Frisia"). This is somewhat confusing, since Friesland is situated east of Ostfriesland. Anyhow, geographers regard Friesland as a part of Eastern Frisia. The distinction has historical reasons: Friesland was an independent state from 1438 to 1575 (see above for details). Then and afterwards the region bore the name "Friesland", although this is also the German name for entire Frisia.

Coat of arms

The lion is from the arms of the chieftains of Jever; it was the symbol of the state of Friesland, which had existed from 1438 to 1575.

Towns and municipalities

  1. Jever
  2. Varel
  1. Bockhorn
  2. Sande
  3. Schortens
  4. Wangerland
  5. Wangerooge
  6. Zetel

External links

Official website (German)

Friesland is also the name of a Dutch province (see Friesland) and the German name for the entire region of Frisia.