Leer (East Frisia)

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coat of arms Germany map
Coat of arms of the city of Leer (East Frisia)
Leer (East Frisia)
Map of Germany, position of the city of Leer (East Frisia) highlighted

Coordinates: 53 ° 14 '  N , 7 ° 27'  E

Basic data
State : Lower Saxony
County : Empty
Height : 3 m above sea level NHN
Area : 70.29 km 2
Residents: 34,786 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 495 inhabitants per km 2
Postal code : 26789
Area code : 0491
License plate : LER
Community key : 03 4 57 013
City structure: 9 districts

City administration address :
Rathausstrasse 1
26789 Leer (East Friesland)
Website : www.leer.de
Mayoress : Beatrix Kuhl ( CDU )
Location of the city of Leer (East Frisia) in the district of Leer
Borkum Lütje Horn (gemeindefrei) Bunde Weener Westoverledingen Rhauderfehn Leer (Ostfriesland) Ostrhauderfehn Detern Jemgum Moormerland Nortmoor Brinkum Neukamperfehn Holtland Firrel Schwerinsdorf Filsum Uplengen Hesel Landkreis Leer Landkreis Leer (Borkum) Niedersachsen Landkreis Emsland Königreich der Niederlande Emden Landkreis Aurich Landkreis Wittmund Landkreis Friesland Landkreis Ammerland Landkreis Cloppenburgmap
About this picture
View of the town hall and the leisure harbor

Leer (Ostfriesland) (East Frisian Læær or Läär) is the district town of the district of Leer in Lower Saxony and an independent municipality . With 34,786 inhabitants, it is the third largest city in East Frisia after Emden and Aurich .

Due to its seaport , the town on the Ems and Leda has been shaped by trade and seafaring for centuries. It is one of the largest German shipping company locations. Leer is also considered the most important shopping town in East Frisia and a medium-sized center . It describes itself as the gateway to East Frisia and is located at the intersection of road, rail and river modes of transport.

The old town is considered to be the "most valuable" in the region because of the good state of preservation of its historic houses. Four castles, numerous town houses and churches from several centuries can be found in the city.

Leer is the seat of the regional church office of the Evangelical Reformed Church , the command rapid emergency medical services of the Bundeswehr and the headquarters of the Bünting Group .

The 'Department of Seafaring' of the University of Emden / Leer is located in Leer . Other public service providers have their headquarters or a branch in the city.

In the late 14th and early 15th centuries, Leer was a political center of East Frisia through the chief Focko Ukena . However, Leer was not elevated to the status of a town until 1823. Before that, the place was considered a market town , but had taken on urban features long before the town charter was granted.

The name of the city of Leer can probably be derived from the Germanic word "hlér" ("pasture").

The inhabitants are called Leeraner in standard German and Leerders in Low German , the associated adjective is also like that.



The mouth of the Leda (right) into the Ems

Leer is located in southern East Frisia at the mouth of the Leda and the Ems . Originally its town center was on a loop of the Leda in the immediate vicinity of the mouth of the river; by expanding its area and incorporating it, the city expanded towards the Ems. Since the incorporation of the districts of Bingum and Nettelburg in 1972, the urban area has also extended to areas west of the Ems and south of the Leda. Seagoing ships reach the seaport of Leer via the Ems and Leda as well as a sea ​​lock that protects the port. The city is about halfway between Groningen and Oldenburg .


The core area of ​​the city is located on a foothill of the Oldenburg-East Frisian Geestrücken from ice age sands . Sand and boulder clay are particularly prevalent in the area of ​​the core city and in parts of Loga and Logabirum . The Geestrücke is enclosed in the west, south and south-east by the river marshes of Ems and Leda. The area near the rivers consists of over- arched marginal moors. In the north-easternmost part of the urban area, in the north of the Logabirum district, there is also peatland . Originally there were sand hills in the north of the city , which were removed by the beginning of the 20th century. Today the urban area extends to heights between one and seven meters above sea ​​level .


Leer lies in the temperate climate zone, mainly in the direct influence of the North Sea . In summer the daytime temperatures are lower, in winter often higher than in the further inland. The climate is characterized by the Central European west wind zone.

After the climate classification of Köppen is empty is in the classification Cfb . (Climate zone C : warm-temperate climate, climate type f : humid-temperate climate, sub-type b : warm summer )

Within the temperate zone, it is assigned to the climate district of Lower Saxony flatland North Sea coast , which has a maritime character and is characterized by relatively cool and rainy summers, relatively mild winters with little snow, prevailing westerly and south-westerly winds and high annual rainfall.

The mean annual temperatures are currently 9 ° C with maximum values ​​in July and August around 30 ° C and average minimum values ​​around −2 ° C in December and January. The most rainy days on average are 14 in November and December, the least in March and May, where there is an average of nine days of precipitation. The number of average hours of sunshine per day varies between one (December / January) and six hours (May / June).

The mean frost-free time is given as 170 to 187 days. The mean amount of precipitation is 738 mm / year, the mean annual sunshine duration is 1550 to 1600 hours. The proximity to the Ems and Leda creates a higher level of humidity, especially in the cooler months, and thus increases the formation of fog.

The nearest weather station is 27 kilometers northwest in Emden .

Climate table for Leer
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 4th 5 8th 12 17th 20th 21st 21st 18th 14th 8th 5 O 12.8
Min. Temperature (° C) −2 −1 1 3 6th 9 11 11 9 6th 2 0 O 4.6
Precipitation ( mm ) 59.2 40.1 51.4 46.0 61.5 77.4 74.8 67.2 65.6 62.5 69.1 63.2 Σ 738
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 1 2 3 5 6th 6th 6th 6th 4th 3 2 1 O 3.8
Rainy days ( d ) 13 9 12 10 11 11 11 11 11 11 14th 14th Σ 138
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Neighboring communities

The city of Leer is centrally located within the mainland area of ​​the district of the same name. It borders on seven of the eleven other municipalities in the district, namely (clockwise, starting in the northeast) the integrated municipalities of Hesel (including the municipalities of Holtland and Brinkum ) and Jümme (including the municipalities of Nortmoor and Detern ), the municipalities of Rhauderfehn and Westoverledingen , the city Weener and the communities of Jemgum and Moormerland .

City structure

Districts of Leer

Leer is divided into the core city and eight other districts. These are Bingum , Heisfelde , Hohegaste , Leerort , Loga , Logabirum , Nettelburg and Nüttermoor . Two parts of the city are separated from the rest of the city by rivers: Nettelburg lies south of the Leda in Overledingerland , Bingum west of the Ems in Rheiderland . In addition, there are smaller localities that are not counted as independent districts, for example Siebenbergen, Logaerfeld and Eisinghausen.

Since the approximately 34,000 inhabitants are spread over around 70.3 square kilometers, Leer has the second highest population density in East Friesland . With 486 inhabitants per square kilometer, it is not only above the East Frisian average, but also above that of Lower Saxony (around 168 inhabitants per km²) and the federal government (around 230 inhabitants per km²).

In addition to the core city, the districts of Leerort, Heisfelde and parts of Loga are densely built up. The other parts of the city are sparsely populated and partly clearly characterized by agriculture. This applies to a large extent to Hohegaste and Nettelburg, which do not have a settlement core.


Prehistory and early history (up to around 800)

The area of ​​today's city of Leer, conveniently located in the confluence of the Leda into the Ems, was settled early on. In Logabirum , in the northwest of the city, there are the remains of a large stone grave in which important finds from the period from 2900 to 2700 BC are located. Were discovered. 17 body burials of the individual grave culture and 26 Stone Age cremation graves of the funnel cup culture (TBK) were uncovered. Individual finds as well as settlement remains in Loga and Logabirum are known from the late Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age . In the 2nd and 3rd centuries there was a relatively wealthy settlement in the area of ​​today's Westerhammrich . During archaeological investigations, several work and storage pits, five wells and postings were discovered here, which obviously belonged to three-aisled hall houses with storage tanks. Finds of domed furnace systems as well as bronze melts suggest that non-ferrous metal processing was carried out on a larger scale. Further artifacts indicate early iron smelting, for which there are only finds from this time in Holtland . The settlement is interpreted as a trading and craft location. Apparently agricultural products from the hinterland and luxury goods from the Roman Empire were traded there and Roman numerals were used. A carving on a local ceramic shard serves as evidence for this. It is considered to be the oldest surviving document in the region. This settlement was apparently abandoned again in the 4th century.

Development of the trading settlement (from around 800 to 1430)

The east wall of the crypt in the old reformed cemetery in Leer , East Frisia. The crypt is the last remnant of the medieval church building, which stood on the site of the first church donated by St. Liudger in East Frisia. Old gravestones have been worked into the wall.

The actual settlement core of today's city Leer was in the area of ​​the reformed cemetery. From the 7th to 8th centuries, plagues were thrown into a terp here . In 791, the Frisian apostle Liudger evangelized the Leeraner after their integration into the Franconian Empire and founded the first chapel in the East Frisian area on the western edge of the former settlement, a wooden church. It represented one of the ecclesiastical focal points of the dominant lordship of the Werden monastery in Friesland. Later other monasteries also acquired property here, such as the Fulda monastery.

Leer became a mint in the 11th century. It was run by Gottfried II (Lower Lorraine) , the Count of Friesland, and Gottfried I, the father of Gottfried von Cappenberg , the Count of Emsgau . Between 1063 and 1066 Adalbert von Bremen also had coins minted here.

The construction of the Romanesque St. Liudger Church began around the year 1200, replacing an older wooden building. Around the middle of the 13th century Leer became the seat of a provost's office and from then on was subordinate to the diocese of Münster in both spiritual and secular terms . The economic development of the port in particular was hampered by the stacking requirement in Emden , which was enforced there around 1400 by the local Abdena family .

During the time of the East Frisian chiefs , Leer came under the control of chief Focko Ukena from Neermoor, who from then on called himself chief of Leer. He expanded the place to the center of his sphere of influence and built the Fockenburg here in 1421 in the type of East Frisian chieftain's castles, which can still be recognized today by the Bunderhee stone house . Ukena was originally an ally of the tom Brok , the most powerful family of chiefs at that time, which was the first to establish their own sovereignty in East Frisia. When there was increasing resistance in East Frisia, Focko Ukena placed himself at the head of the chiefs, who were dissatisfied with their dependency, and thus became the leading figure in their struggle to restore Frisian freedom . In 1427 Ukena finally defeated the tom Brok with the support of allied pirates , but from then on went over to establishing their own sovereignty in the legacy of tom Brok. Leer became the capital of East Frisia from 1427 to 1430. Other East Frisian chiefs and farmers saw their freedom increasingly threatened and began to defend themselves against Ukena. Around 1430, the Freedom League of the Seven East Friesland was established in Brookmerland under the leadership of the Cirksena , which raised a state contingent and besieged the castle in Leer in the same year. After this could no longer be held, Focko Ukena fled to Emden. The Fockenburg was then razed.

Leer under the Cirksena (1430 to 1744)

Leerort fortress

The up-and-coming Cirksena took advantage of the opportunity and in 1433 linked themselves independently with the city of Hamburg . This wanted to put an end to the widespread toleration of pirates, which was widespread in East Frisia, and therefore relied on a strong sovereign in East Frisia. The foundation stone for the rule of the Cirksena in East Frisia that soon followed. In order to safeguard their own interests, the people of Hamburg built castles at strategically favorable locations in East Frisia, for example in Stickhausen and, from 1435, in what is now the Leerort district . In 1453 the entire Hamburg property in East Friesland, including the Leerort fortress, was transferred to the chief and later Count Ulrich Cirksena against payment of 10,000 marks . The castle became the seat of Count Drosten and bailiff and expanded into the strongest fortress in East Frisia. The newly formed Leerort office included Leer with the Moormerland , the western Overledingerland and the Upper rheiderland up to the current Dutch border.

Count Edzard the Great granted Leer market rights in 1508.

In the 16th century, Leer began to rise to become a market town. To counterbalance the Trade Center Groningen creating, extending from 1506 to 1514 in the sphere of Count Edzard I was, this gave the city in 1508 for economic and political reasons, the market law at St. Gallus day , creating the crimes committed today Gallimarkt as Flax market . This laid the foundation for Leer’s development into an important center of cloth production , whose raw material was flax.

During the Saxon feud , Heinrich I of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel invaded East Friesland with an army of 20,000 men and besieged the Leerort fortress, which was only defended by a few farmers and soldiers . However, he was killed there on June 23, 1514 by an aimed cannon shot. The troops that had become leaderless as a result then withdrew from East Friesland. After the Saxon feud ended, Count Edzard I had to give up his claims to Groningen and limit himself to East Frisia. In 1528 he granted Leer permission to hold another market day on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross , the Kreuzmarkt , on September 14th and a weekly market day every Thursday. The fast market as well as horse and cattle markets were added later.

The Reformation was introduced into the city by the preacher Lübbert Cansen (also: Lübbert Kanz ), who was deposed in Münster in 1525 and expelled from there , who triggered an iconoclasm . Monstrances, chalices and all gold and silver were removed from the churches and Latin inscriptions and paintings on the walls were whitewashed.

At first the Lutherans and the Reformed lived next to each other in Leer, then the Reformed prevailed. The reformed community took over the administration of the market town and became very wealthy. In 1525 she established the first elementary school. The Lutherans were pushed more and more out of city life and as a result moved first to Esklum and then to Logabirum .

During the Geldrian feud in 1533, after the battle of Jemgum , the village was looted and set on fire twice by the Geldrian troops of Balthasar von Esens . A year later, Mennonites settled in the place for the first time . Dutch Mennonites improved and expanded the long-established linen weaving and trade from the middle of the 16th century. Linen weaving in particular benefited from this. While this was previously only operated as a house weaving mill, it was now produced in larger factories for the first time . As a result, Leer achieved prosperity through its craftsmen, especially the linen weavers. The place experienced a further boost in development through the influx of Dutch religious refugees - mainly Reformed and Mennonites - from the Ommelanden and Groningen . Among them were also rich, noble and influential people. Because of this inflow of capital and a stronger division of labor between the city and the surrounding area, Leer experienced an economic upswing from 1566 and developed an extensive network of relationships among long-distance traders. In 1580 there were about 160 refugees in the city. As a result, it expanded to the east on the Ledaufer and around 1600 had between 3000 and 3500 inhabitants who lived in around 500 to 550 houses. It was also the Dutch refugees who recognized the port's possibilities and expanded it as a location for their shipping companies and the linen trade. In 1570, therefore, the scales were moved to the Leda.

Under the reformed Count Johann , a Latin school was founded in Leer in 1584, which was headed by Ubbo Emmius from 1588 to 1594 . At the beginning of the 17th century the place had about 3500 inhabitants. There were many newcomers among them. In addition to the Dutch religious refugees, many people from other places such as Meppen, Münster and Oldenburg moved to the emerging port town. The fact that only very few had access to the guild professions is shown by a list of the respective professions: five copper makers, four blacksmiths, four tailors, four shoemakers, three carpenters, two box makers, two bakers, two jug makers, two brewers, two butchers, two glasses as well as a shopkeeper , Blickschlager , wheelwright and basket maker. During this time - verifiably from 1611 - Jews settled in Leer . Their community, founded in 1650, later became very important in the cattle trade.

During the Thirty Years' War, the place suffered great hardship from the troops of the Protestant military leader Ernst von Mansfeld , who stayed in East Frisia from 1622 to 1624 and occupied the city. The contributions demanded from the residents (November 1622: 5000 Reichsthaler , February 1623: 1000 Reichsthaler) plunged many into poverty, as the majority had to fall back on loans in order to pay them. After Mansfeld had moved his quarters to Aurich on August 19, 1623, French troops subordinate to him looted the place. On January 14 and 15, 1624, Count Mansfeld released his troops, which then withdrew. They were followed by troops of Tilly's League Army in 1629 , which remained until 1631. This was followed by a brief phase of economic recovery, which ended when Hessian troops under the leadership of Landgrave Wilhelm V of Hessen-Kassel occupied the area again in 1637 and set up their headquarters here. The Hessian troops stayed until August 1650 and again exploited the place and the country with high contributions.

Even after the war, Leer had to endure occupations. The disputes between the East Frisian sovereigns from the House of Cirksena, who were now prince, and the East Frisian estates initially led to Münster troops allied with the prince taking up quarters in Leer from 1676 to 1678. From 1687 onwards, the emperor's troops, the "Salve Garde", were supposed to maintain peace in East Frisia. The imperial family were also quartered in the empty area. For the first time Catholic clergy came to town with them.

Lutherans resettled in the village around the middle of the 17th century. The Luther Church was built in 1675. In addition, the influx of expelled Reformed Protestants continued unabated. These came to Leer from the Palatinate and southern Germany. The place benefited from this, especially in economic terms. In the domestic linen industry, the number of weaving mills increased considerably.

The imperial “Salve Garde” remained in Leer until the Cirksena died out in 1744, but could not prevent the roll call war between Prince Georg Albrecht and the estates. In 1726 there were several heavy fights between princely and Emden troops in Leer.

Prussia (1744 to 1806)

Empty around 1800

After the death of the last Prince of East Friesland, Carl Edzard from the House of Cirksena (reign 1734–1744), East Friesland, and with it Leer, fell to Prussia in the course of an expedition . A few years later, during the Seven Years' War in 1757, French and Austrian troops invaded East Friesland and occupied Leer. Looting did not take place, but the place was again heavily burdened by billeting and contributions to be paid. Four years later, a free corps of German auxiliary troops of the French army, under the command of Louis Gabriel Marquis de Conflans, moved into East Friesland and mainly plundered the area of ​​Leer and Evenburg. Overall, the damage done by the mercenary troops to East Friesland was estimated at 358,557 Reichsthaler. Almost two thirds of this sum, 226,096 Reichsthalers, went to Evenburg and the Leer area. After the end of the war, Frederick the Great supported Leer and enjoyed renewed economic growth. The textile industry in particular flourished. In 1763 there were 194 linen weavers among the slightly more than 4,000 inhabitants, eleven weavers, seven old craftsmen, eleven linen shipowners, 66 harvestmen, 25 tailors, four hat makers, four button makers, one blue dyer and one color printer. Within the Jewish community, 14 battle Jews, five trade Jews each, and Lombard and exchange Jews are named.

The port of Leer around 1850

The dismantling of the Emden stacking requirement, which was abolished in several steps in 1749, 1765, 1808 to 1842, was also of great importance. This lifted the port's barriers and a brisk butter trade with England developed. Between 1766 and 1770, 430 ships called at the port, including 76 from Leer. The sea trade Leers caught up with the Emder and even surpassed it from 1792 to 1798.

In the course of the proto-industrialization , several factories opened in the second half of the 18th century, including a small soap factory, a stocking factory, a glue factory, a hat factory, an oil mill, a leather factory and other smaller businesses. The Leeraner linen weavers, on the other hand, who worked in the publishing system , had to struggle with the new, more modern methods of production at the end of the century after the steam engine had spread rapidly in textile production. In 1782 Leer had 4,405 inhabitants.

The old Reformed Church of St. Liudger , built around 1189, was demolished in 1787 because it was dilapidated. Only the crypt has been preserved to this day. The new church was consecrated on September 16, 1787.

Napoleon (1806 to 1813)

Eleven days after the battle of Jena and Auerstedt , on October 25, 1806, Dutch troops entered Leer on the orders of their King Louis Bonaparte , a brother of Napoleon . As always, the soldiers were quartered in private houses. During the occupation until 1813, Leer belonged first to the Kingdom of Holland (until 1810) and finally as part of the Ems-Oriental department of France. During the continental blockade, traders were only allowed to use precisely prescribed routes. For the first time soldiers were raised in East Frisia in March and April 1811. On April 2, 1811, there were riots in the Lutheran church of Leer by the seamen who had gathered there, but they were suppressed. The French left the city on November 12th, 1813, and its inhabitants cheered the arrival of the Russian Cossacks. The city became Prussian until the Congress of Vienna.

Kingdom of Hanover (1815 to 1866)

After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the city fell to the Kingdom of Hanover . In October 1816, Prussia set up consulates in Leer and Emden. The town was granted city rights by King George IV in 1823. The linen industry played an increasingly less important role, and the importance of distilleries and breweries declined drastically. In 1824 the city had 5,908 inhabitants.

The opening ceremony of the Hanoverian Westbahn: the train station and the new port facilities in Leer

In the revolutionary year of 1848 , Leer was the first East Frisian town whose inhabitants submitted a political petition to the King of Hanover. This included demands for political equality for all citizens, reform of the electoral law, abolition of censorship, publicity and orality of court proceedings and a German national parliament. As a result, there were citizens' assemblies, vigilante groups and popular arming in the city until 1849. In Hanover, East Frisia seemed restless overall. Nowhere is it worse than in East Friesland, from which I keep getting petitions , said King Ernst August on April 24th. Three days later he announced: Unfortunately the mood in East Friesland is almost the worst in the whole country, révolutionaire au possible .

The liberal official assessor Carl Groß was sent to the Frankfurt Paulskirche parliament. He belonged initially to the casino and later to the Landsberg faction . After the fall of the revolution, the citizens of Leer were considered to be extremely loyal to the king.

By the middle of the 19th century, Leer developed into East Frisia's most important port of export for agricultural products, while the port of Emden became muddy at the same time. In 1856, the city received its first railway connection with a station on the Hanoverian West Railway from Emden to Rheine . The Georgsdock , which is independent of the tide, was built next to the train station by 1861 . In this way, Leer gradually became the most important traffic junction in East Frisia.

On August 6, 1861, Georg V , King of Hanover, gave the city its first city coat of arms. East Frisia, and with it Leer, fell back to Prussia in 1866 with the end of the Hanoverian Kingdom.

In the German Empire (1871 to 1918)

Cleanup after the 1901 storm surge

The expansion of the infrastructure was continued under Prussian rule. The rail link to Oldenburg was built from 1867 to 1869, and the one to the Dutch border to Neuschanz in 1876. Leer thus became the railway junction in East Frisia with connections in all four directions.

The economic rise of Leer was particularly evident in the term of office of Mayor August Dieckmann, which lasted from 1888 to 1913. In 1900 the Leer – Aurich – Wittmund small railway was opened, which was used for passenger traffic until 1956 and for freight traffic until 1967. During this time, Leer had an additional fifth railway connection in a northeastern direction. Between 1900 and 1903, Leer took various construction measures to make the port navigable without tides . The Leda loop was cut off from the river and connected to the Leda with a sea lock. The city inaugurated the new port on September 19, 1903 with a big celebration. The expansion of the port was financed through bonds: In contrast to Emden, where the Prussian state had taken over the port and thus also the financing of the expansion, Leer had to carry the financing itself. Investments were also made in building the dykes on the Ems and Leda, so that flooding in the city area, as occurred during storm surges in 1877, 1883 and 1901, was a thing of the past after 1901. 1901–1903 Leer built the first sewer system in East Frisia, and in 1910 it was supplied with electricity.

The Jewish community first built a synagogue in Leer from 1883 to 1885 . Planning for the town hall began in 1887, as a considerable part of the construction costs (around 40 percent) were covered with around 160,000 marks from the estate of the Leeraner Schelten. After five years of construction, the town hall was inaugurated on October 29, 1894. It was designed by the architect Karl Henrici , who taught at the Technical University of Aachen .

Brunnenstrasse in 1906

Politically, in the first decade of the empire, the national liberals were the dominant party in Leer , as in large parts of the Reichstag constituency Emden / Norden / Leer. From the 1880s, however, they were overtaken by the left-wing liberal liberals . Until 1912, the two liberal parties taken together always achieved an absolute majority of the votes in the Reichstag elections in Leer. In 1891 the basket maker Georg Bartels founded a social democratic workers' association in Leer . Leer was the first East Frisian town to have a social democratic workers' association. A local association of the SPD was formed in 1905. In Leer, the East Frisian Social Democrats had achieved their best results by 1912, only then were they replaced by the Emden comrades. Occasionally there were strikes in Leer , for example in 1906 when the approximately 900 employees of the Leeran iron foundries went on strike in order to get colleagues who had been dismissed because of membership in a union to continue to work. Mayor Dieckmann, although he was a national liberal himself, mediated the strike, which ended with the re-employment of the trade unionists.

Up to the turn of the century, a number of industrial companies or larger industrial workshops were founded in Leer. In addition to the iron foundries, there were also tobacco and soap factories, spirits manufacturers, machine and paper factories, and an oil mill. The largest company in the entire district of Leer was a straw cardboard factory with around 400 employees. The increase in the population corresponded to the economic rise, between 1880 and 1912 it increased by 29 percent (from 9,900 to 12,000).

The outbreak of the First World War was celebrated by the people of Leer as much as those in other cities in Germany. As the war went on, however, the euphoria gave way to disillusionment. The war led to a noticeable decline in cargo handling in the port, and the supply situation became more difficult even in a town like Leer with a fertile surrounding area. As early as 1916, “ goulash cannons ” financed from city funds had to ensure supplies for the needy in the streets of the city .

Weimar Republic (1919 to 1933)

War memorial in Mühlenstrasse

After the military defeat in World War I, workers 'and soldiers' councils also temporarily took power in Leer. On November 9, 1918, a delegation of 20 marines from Wilhelmshaven appeared in the city and asked the soldiers stationed in Leer to set up a workers 'and soldiers' council together with workers. Among other things, the garrison commander was represented in this, which subsequently had a positive effect on the acceptance of the council and the cooperation with the city administration. Together with a liberal-minded citizens' association and representatives of merchants as well as the graduate degree (and later Lower Saxony Minister of Education ) Adolf Grimme , the members of the Workers' and Soldiers' Council primarily tackled the pressing nutritional problem. The Workers 'and Soldiers' Council ensured public order and enforced cultivation in the agricultural sector and trade. This included the establishment of a food commission under the merchant Engelke Eimers and the containment of the black market . The Workers 'and Soldiers' Council also called for the previously underprivileged classes to be included in the political life of the city.

In the local elections on March 2, 1919, 30 mayoral heads were elected as the city parliament - for the first time after general and equal elections. There was unanimity in the fact that the parties, the citizens' association and the trade unions had already agreed on a common list of candidates before the election, based on the results of Leer in the election for the National Assembly in January. The SPD received eleven out of 30 seats. For the first time, a social democrat was represented in the former magistrate, which roughly corresponds to today's administrative committee of a municipality. The workers 'and soldiers' council dissolved in the period that followed.

The Dr. vom Bruch bridge built in the 1920s .

Erich vom Bruch , who came from Solingen , took office as mayor in November 1920 . He kept it for almost 13 years. In the following years, the Bruch secured not only the support of the bourgeois parties, but also that of the Social Democrats. The collapse of the economy during inflation up to 1923 had an effect in a peripheral city like Leer long after a recovery was already on the horizon in the economic centers of Germany. Therefore, from the mid-1920s, urban economic policy was pursued with the vast majority of the mayor. A large cattle market was set up on the Nesse peninsula in the harbor. In addition, a water tower, a new port transshipment point and the town hall bridge were built, which connected the old town with the companies on the Nesse peninsula. In 1926, a German Libby dairy factory was established on the Nesse Peninsula . However, the city went into debt for these investments - a fact that the National Socialists later chalked up about the break.

Leer was not spared from the global economic crisis that began in 1929. The unemployment rate rose rapidly. In the employment office district of Leer (districts of Leer, Weener, Aschendorf and Hümmling) only 692 job seekers were registered on October 1, 1928. In December 1929 there were 2,857, a year later 4,643 and finally more than 8,200 in December 1932. In the city, which had around 13,000 inhabitants in 1930, almost 2,000 people were already dependent on crisis support from the employment office and the city's welfare benefits by September 1932 .

Approval for the parties of the Weimar coalition dwindled to the extent that the right-wing DNVP and the National Socialists gained popularity. This can hardly be said of the SPD, which received 28.3 percent of the vote in the 1933 Reichstag elections. The Catholic Center Party played only a subordinate role in the evangelical Leer. While it received 7 percent of the vote in 1919, it was 5.2 percent in 1933. On the other hand, the liberal parties, which in the 1920s still had a major influence on urban politics, lost a particularly significant amount. In 1919 they still had an absolute majority of votes in the polling stations in Leer for the Reichstag election, in the March elections in 1933 it was only 4 percent. The National Socialists were the strongest party for the first time in the 1932 Reichstag elections and gained around 43 percent of the vote in March 1933, which was the average for the Reich. By contrast, they were not represented in the Leer city parliament until 1933.

Period of National Socialism (1933 to 1945)

In the local elections on March 12, 1933, the NSDAP received 50 percent of the vote. Since the KPD elected could no longer take their seats after their party was banned, there was already an arithmetical absolute majority for the NSDAP. This was reinforced by the members of the DNVP, who voted with the NSDAP. The only remaining opposition party was the SPD, which provided eight representatives. The right-wing majority took away the right to speak from the Social Democrats in the constituent session, whereupon the SPD MPs left the assembly. The SPD was banned on June 22nd. The mayor and former member of the Reichstag, Hermann Tempel , fled to the Netherlands .

NSDAP politicians took the city's debt since 1925 as an opportunity to rail against the alleged “corruption” and “mismanagement” of the former city leaders and to take the mayor and other administrative officials into “protective custody”. He was released after a day, but his salary was banned. In 1934, the Aurich district court ruled in favor of the mayor on charges initiated by the public prosecutor's office for alleged breach of trust. I did not experience that from the break; he shot himself on May 7th in his official apartment in the town hall. His successor was the NSDAP district leader Erich Drescher . In order to make this possible, the city statute, which dates back to Hanoverian times, had to be changed, according to which the mayor “ must be knowledgeable about the law ”.

Supplement to the East Frisian daily newspaper of July 20, 1935: "Purely German shops in Leer"

After the seizure of power by the Nazi regime , the Jews in Leer had under repression suffered state organs. On March 13, 1933, the Jews' slaughter knives were burned in a public action . On April 1, 1933, the boycott of Jewish shops began . The first Jews left Leer in 1933 and 1934. The synagogue in Leer was destroyed in the November pogroms in 1938 ; afterwards other Jews emigrated or fled. About 90 percent of the Jewish Leeraner (1925: 289 people) were murdered in the Holocaust ; about 20 to 30 of them survived.

During the first five years of the war , Leer was hardly bothered. Occasional bombs dropped only caused damage to a few houses. At the end of the war, however, the city was fiercely defended and suffered accordingly. The city commandant had the bridges over Ems and Leda blown up on April 24, 1945, whereupon the Canadians on the western bank of the Ems responded with artillery and air raids. The superior allied forces conquered Leer on 28/29. April. In the previous bombardment, 210 houses were destroyed and 400 civilians died.

Private Willi Herold was separated from his unit at the end of the war and "promoted" himself to captain. On April 25, 1945, he had five Dutch prisoners shot "for espionage" in Leer. Since April 2014 a plaque commemorates the crime.

Post-war development

Old scales on the left and town hall tower in the center, town hall bridge on the right
Renovated from 1971 to 1990: the old town of Leer

In the first years after the war, the city and district of Leer were ruled by a British military commander . Political life in Leer reawakened from 1946: the SPD was founded in March, followed by the CDU, KPD and FDP in April. In the first free local elections on September 15, 1946, the SPD received an absolute majority of the votes cast. It was able to hold this position for two years, and from 1948 bourgeois parties came together for an absolute majority for 16 years.

Soon after the end of the war, the city took in large numbers of displaced persons and refugees. While the population was around 14,200 at the end of the war in 1945, five years later it was well over 20,000. Of these, 5,578 were displaced, which corresponds to a share of 27.1 percent. Massive investments in residential construction were necessary, with the city building its own houses in addition to housing associations. New school buildings were also required and implemented.

In the post-war period , the district of Leer was the most heavily populated of the three East Frisian districts with refugees from the East, because - unlike the districts of Aurich and Wittmund - it was not used as an internment area for prisoners of war German soldiers. However, the district of Leer subsequently accepted most of the people in Lower Saxony who were already unemployed or unemployed in the eastern regions. The proportion of people over 65 was also higher than the average in Lower Saxony. In contrast, the district of Leer recorded the lowest proportion of male refugees from the East between the ages of 20 and 45 of all districts in Lower Saxony.

The influx of refugees and displaced persons and the return flow of returning soldiers presented the city with economic problems. The number of jobs was nowhere near enough. Since the late 1940s, the city has therefore pursued a settlement policy for companies from outside, which achieved its first success in 1950 with the settlement of the Martin Jansen shipyard . In 1957 a branch of the office machine manufacturer Olympia was built, which developed into the largest employer in Leer with at times 2,700, most recently around 1,300 employees. The number of industrial companies increased from 20 to 36 between 1948 and 1960, and the number of wholesale companies from 80 to 119.

In 1950 the Lower Saxony Minister of the Interior granted the city ​​of Leer the right to use a new coat of arms. The new city coat of arms was based on an imprint of a seal from 1639. On October 1, 1955, Leer was given the status of an independent city. In 1968 Heisfelde and Loga were Leeraner districts, Leerort was incorporated in 1971. Bingum, Hohegaste, Logabirum, Nettelburg and Nüttermoor finally followed in 1972, when the number of inhabitants exceeded the 30,000 mark for the first time in the city's history.

Politically, the SPD had had the upper hand in the town hall since 1964. For the next nearly four decades it provided the majority in the city council and also the mayor. Horst Milde , who comes from Lower Silesia, was elected mayor in 1968. He was followed in 1973 by Günther Boekhoff , who held this office until 2001, making it by far the longest of all post-war mayors.

Starting in 1971, the old town of Leer was renovated considerably with its own as well as federal and state funds in accordance with the Urban Development Act . Was initially a surface restoration similar to parts of the Norder provided Old Town, it succeeded committed citizens to persuade the politicians to rethink and put at property and Ensemble renovation. Between 1971 and 1990 about 60 million D-Marks flowed into the city center (one third each city, state and federal) and around 70 million D-Marks in private investments. This had positive effects on tourism and strengthened Leer as the most important shopping town in East Friesland (see Economy). In 2001, parts of the eastern part of Leer on both sides of the railway line were included in the Socially Integrative City program and have been redeveloped since then.

The closure of the Olympic plant in 1984 and 1985 drove unemployment in Leer to heights of 23 percent. The Jansen shipyard went bankrupt in 1987. The establishment of the first shipping companies in the 1980s turned out to be the basis for what is now a successful industry in the city. In the following years, other shipping companies were added.


The communities Heisfelde and Loga were incorporated in 1968. Leerort was added on February 1, 1971. Bingum, Hohegaste, Logabirum, Nettelburg and Nüttermoor followed on January 1, 1973.

Population development

Population development of Leer (East Frisia) .svg Population development of Leer (East Frisia) - from 1871
Population development of Leer. Above from 1745 to 2018 according to the adjacent table. Below is an excerpt from 1871

Relatively reliable population figures for East Frisia have been available since the beginning of the first Prussian rule (1744). At least since that time, Leer was the second largest town (since 1823 the second largest town) in East Friesland after Emden. Due to extensive incorporation in 1972, Aurich grew considerably and now has this rank. Leer is now the third largest city in the region.

Leer grew significantly during the industrial revolution , in the century between 1810 and 1910 the population increased by more than 100 percent. The city , which remained largely unscathed during the Second World War , took in a larger number of displaced persons , which resulted in a further increase in the population. A further increase in the population meant the incorporation of surrounding municipalities between 1968 and 1972. Since then, the population has been consistently over 30,000. According to a forecast by the Bertelsmann Stiftung published in the Guide to Demographic Change , this will continue to be the case in the years to come. The authors expect a slight increase in the number of inhabitants by 0.9% to 34,160 inhabitants in the years up to 2020.

Due to the demographic development, however, the distribution of the population is shifting to individual age groups. Due to increasing life expectancy, the proportion of older people is increasing. At the same time, the low birth rates are leading to a decline in children, adolescents and young adults. It is expected that this will increase the median age from 41.6 years (2006) to 46.5 years (2020).

year population
1745 4,500
1814 5,353
1848 6,940
1880 10,086
1910 12,690
year population
1930 12,981
1940 13,898
1945 18,071
1950 20,414
1961 21,418
year population
1970 34,262
1980 31,303
1990 31,859
2000 33,849
2008 34,154
year population
2010 34,301
2016 34,129
2017 34,226
2018 34,486

Development of the place name

Leer is one of the first places known by name in East Frisia. The city was mentioned for the first time in a biography of St. Liudger , probably dating from the 9th century . In the 10th century the name of the city appeared in the land records of the Werden monastery as hleri . This is interpreted as a pasture . Later spellings of the place name are Lüer , Ler , Lheer and Lier .


Great Church , main church of the Reformed Church in Germany

Leer has been Protestant since the 16th century , and so there are mainly Lutheran and Reformed parishes in the city . The Evangelical Reformed Church in Germany has its headquarters in Leer. In Leer there are also congregations of the Catholics , the Pentecostal movement , Baptists , Mennonites , Methodists , Adventists , the New Apostolic Church , the Russian Orthodox Church , the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons .

Probably the earliest church in East Frisia was erected in the area of ​​today's city of Leer. This was probably initiated around 800 by the missionary Liudger . Around 1200 this was replaced by a stone church, which before 1270 had a deanery and was elevated to the status of a provost church . This had a leading role in the Moormerland.

Around 1525 the Reformed Reformation entered Leer. As a result, there were no Catholics for a long time and the Lutherans were increasingly ousted. When the Lutherans grew rapidly after the Thirty Years' War, a long legal battle with the Reformed ensued. It was sparked by the approval of the Lutherans and their church building (1675), was rekindled each time the church was expanded and ended in 1766 with a severance payment of 1000 guilders to the Reformed.

Evangelical Reformed Church

St. Michael Church , the first new Catholic church in East Friesland after the Reformation

The reformed church was the first evangelical one in Leer. It was founded around 1525 by Lübbert Cantz (Cansen), who introduced the Reformed Confession and the associated liturgy, community regulations and instruction here. For centuries the community had a strong political and economic influence in the village. She was responsible for cradle justice , which secured her large income, with which she financed services of general interest and ran a Latin and elementary school as well as a poor house and an orphanage. Dutch was preached until the first half of the 19th century. The parish registers and the archive were also kept in this language. After the old main church of St. Ludgeri had been demolished due to dilapidation, a new building was erected in 1787 at the center of the village. A common synodal ordinance was issued for all Reformed parishes in the province of Hanover in 1882, and a church authority with a collegial constitution, the consistory , was established by order of the King of Prussia in Aurich . This was moved to Leer in 1954, where the regional church office of the Evangelical Reformed Church and the district pension office have since been located. Today there are Reformed parishes in Nüttermoor, Loga and in the core city with the parish districts of Große Kirche and Heisfelde .

Evangelical Lutheran Church

After the Reformation, the Lutherans visited the neighboring Lutheran congregations until 1639, especially in Esklum. Afterwards they were looked after by the community of Logabirum, five kilometers to the east. By 1675 the number of Lutherans in Leer rose to about a quarter of the population, which at that time was 3000–4000 people. On December 20, 1673, the Lutherans Leers approached Princess Christine Charlotte and asked for permission to build her own place of worship. The princess granted the Lutherans the freedom to practice their religion and donated building materials from the former Thedinga monastery to the community for the construction of the church, which began on June 2, 1675 and was completed in the same year . There are currently seven Lutheran parishes: the Luther parish and the Christ parish in Leer , the Paulus parish in Heisfelde, the Petrus parish and the peace parish Loga, the Matthäikirchengemeinde Bingum and the parish Logabirum. The Lutheran Church maintains the church district office for the district in Leer.

Roman Catholic Church

With the imperial troops, the first Catholic priest after the Reformation came to the place as field priest in 1676 and formed the starting point of the community, which was added to the Diocese of Osnabrück . She first built a small chapel in 1728 and the St. Michael Church in 1775 . The community experienced a strong growth spurt after the Second World War due to the influx of many expellees from the eastern regions of the German Empire . A second Catholic parish was founded for them in 1955, and in the same year it received its own church, the Marienkirche. The number of parishioners has shrunk sharply since the 1990s. In 2002, therefore, the St. Michael parish with the Catholic parish of Oldersum and the St. Josefs parish in Weener formed a community, which the St. Marien parish is also to join. To promote further cooperation in the future parish community, a steering group was set up in 2009, to which each of the four parishes sends two representatives.

Russian Orthodox Church

The only Russian Orthodox church in East Frisia is located on the Ringstrasse . According to their own statements, the services are regularly attended by around thirty parishioners. About a hundred visit them sporadically. The catchment area of ​​the community extends over the whole of East Frisia to Vechta and Wilhelmshaven . The first Orthodox services were held in 2006. The congregation was initially allowed to use the Luther Church for this purpose, and later the Catholic Church. In 2008 a parishioner finally bought a former ballet school. This was converted into a house of worship and rented to the community. The closest municipalities are in Groningen and Bremen .

Evangelical Free Churches

Baptist Church

Mennonites can be identified for the first time in 1534. The rapidly growing community split in two directions, each of which maintained its own church in the 18th century. In 1825 the Mennonites built a common church. One of the well-known members of the Mennonite community in Leer was the writer Wilhelmine Siefkes . Due to the National Socialist tendencies of the Lutheran pastors Leers, she left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1933 and joined the Leer Mennonite congregation a little later. Today the Mennonite congregation Leer forms a pastoral association with the congregations in Gronau, Emden and Norden.

The beginnings of the Baptists in Leer go back to Johann Gerhard Oncken , the founder of the German and continental European Baptists. On October 11, 1845, the merchant Christian Bonk and the weaver Hinderk Coords von Oncken were baptized in a kolk near Leer . This became the talk of the town and aroused opposition from both Reformed and Lutheran clergy. Regardless of this, Bonk and Weber began extensive missionary work in the surrounding area of ​​Leer, which led to the establishment of the Baptist congregation Ur in 1846 and to the establishment of a branch in Leer, which initially consisted of ten members. The secret worship services initially took place in various private apartments. Further moves followed until the congregation was able to inaugurate its first church on Ubbo-Emmius-Straße on April 13th (Good Friday) 1900. On this day, the Leer branch broke away from its mother church in yours and was accepted as an independent congregation in the Federation of German Baptist Congregations. The East Frisian Baptists experienced a surge in growth after the Second World War when refugees moved in from the eastern regions. In 1983, after the old church was demolished, the congregation built a new church on the traditional property.

The beginnings of the Methodists in Leer go back to 1891 when Bible studies were held for the first time . Four years later, the community built a church building on Friesenstrasse.

Leer is home to one of two East Frisian Adventist communities. Together with the Advent churches in the north and the Advent church in Papenburg in Emsland , it forms a district.

The Pentecostal movement belongs to the Free Christian Community Leer e. V. (Moorweg). It has been running its own social service with two kindergartens, a crèche and two facilities for senior citizens since the 1960s. The community on Mühlenweg and the mission work Christ for you (Meierstrasse, Leer-Loga), which is closely connected to this community , are charismatic . The community on Mühlenweg is a free community that emerged in the 1970s from social diaconal work for people in crisis situations and has grown steadily to this day.

Other Christian denominations

Efforts had been made since 1929 to found a New Apostolic congregation in the city, which was implemented in 1933. The congregation has had its own church in Jahnstrasse since 1957. The community in Leer had around 260 members at the end of the 1980s.

The Mormons in East Frisia have around 150 members. About 70 parishioners live in Leer and the surrounding area. The community center is located on Heisfelder Straße.

Other Christian religious communities active in Leer are the Catholic-Apostolic Congregation in Annenstrasse and the Jehovah's Witnesses , whose Kingdom Hall is on Logaer Weg in Heisfelde.


Since the arrival of so-called guest workers and refugees, especially in connection with the Yugoslavia conflict , there have been Muslims in the city who, however, do not have their own place of worship. Their services are currently held in private prayer rooms. The nearest mosque has been in Emden since October 2009 .


Memorial plaque in the Jewish cemetery

The Jewish community existed for a period of around 300 years from its beginnings in the 17th century to its end on October 23, 1941. Before 1933 the city was a center of the German cattle trade and consequently a central place for the East Frisian Jews who worked there. which is why the community had developed into the third largest in East Frisia with 289 members by 1925. After 1933, the exclusion and persecution of Jews began, but due to their importance for the cattle trade, they were only completely removed from economic life in the mid-1930s. The synagogue , built between 1883 and 1885, was destroyed on November 9, 1938 during the Night of the Reichspogrom . At least 236 Jews from Leer were murdered during the Holocaust , three died by suicide and the fate of 61 is unclear. The few survivors live all over the world.

The Jewish residents of the city are remembered today with a plaque in the Jewish cemetery and in the former Jewish school in Leer .

A memorial for the destroyed synagogue on Heisfelder Straße has been located directly opposite the former location of the church since 2002. The site was fully financed by donations from the citizens of Leer. In the place of the old synagogue, there is only a memorial plaque, as a car repair shop has stood on the property since the 1960s. For a long time, the rumors about possibly still intact cellar vaults of the synagogue could not be investigated. In September 2019, the new owner of the area presented plans for the development of the fallow land. In the new building, according to the planner, an extension with a room of silence should point to the synagogue. The Archaeological Service of the East Frisian Landscape carried out an archaeological investigation prior to the new development. In the course of the investigations, she had two excavator cuts carried out on the site in June 2020. In the first cut, the archaeologists discovered the foundation of the northern outer wall of the synagogue at a depth of two meters, the exact location of which on the property has thus been clarified. The layer of fire from the fire from November 1938 and an approximately 50 cm thick layer of construction and fire rubble from the synagogue were found on the foundation floor. The second cut opened the entrance to the basement of the former rabbi's apartment. There three steps lead down to a reddish cement screed. According to the construction plans, this area is the entrance area to the boiler room and possibly also to the immersion bath. In order to document the last remains of the synagogue before it was finally destroyed, further archaeological investigations are to be carried out in coordination with the city of Leer and the building owners' association. The site will then be rebuilt.


City council

The council of Leer consists of 38 council women and councilors. This is the specified number for a municipality with a population between 30,001 and 40,000 inhabitants. The 38 council members are elected for five years each by local elections. The current term of office began on November 1, 2016 and ends on October 31, 2021.

The full-time mayor Beatrix Kuhl (CDU) is also entitled to vote in the municipal council.

In addition to the parties SPD, CDU, FDP, Greens and Left, the three voter communities AWG, CDL and BfL are also represented in the council. From 1964 to 2006 the SPD parliamentary group consistently held the majority in the city council. In the current electoral term (until 2021) it is the strongest group, but has lost its majority in the Council.

The last local election on September 11, 2016 resulted in the following:

Party / list Share of votes Seats Remarks
SPD 36.7% 14th + 2 seats
CDU 27.9% 11 + 1 seat
Alliance 90 / The Greens 13.9% 5 - 3 seats
General voter community (AWG) 10.2% 4th unchanged
Christian Democratic Voiders (CDL) 03.5% 1 - 1 seat
The left 03.1% 1 unchanged
FDP 03.0% 1 unchanged
Citizens' Community for Leer (BfL) 01.3% 1 + 1 seat

The turnout in the 2016 local elections was 56.1%, slightly above the Lower Saxony average of 55.5%. For comparison - in the previous local election on September 11, 2011, the turnout was 50.3%.


Since 1997 there has been a directly elected mayor in Leer. In that year the single track was introduced in Leer and the post of city director as head of administration was abolished. In the last mayoral election on June 15, 2014, Beatrix Kuhl from the CDU prevailed in a runoff election with 54.7 percent against the previous incumbent, Wolfgang Kellner, who was not a party to the party. She took office on November 1, 2014.

Representatives in the Land and Bundestag

Leer belongs to the constituency of Leer . 15 parties ran for the state elections in Lower Saxony in 2017 . Six of these parties had put up direct candidates. The directly elected MP is Ulf Thiele ( CDU ). Meta Janssen-Kucz ( Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen ) also entered the Lower Saxony state parliament via the state list .

The city belongs to the Bundestag constituency Unterems (constituency 25), which consists of the district of Leer and the northern part of the district of Emsland. The constituency was redesigned for the 1980 federal election and has remained unchanged since then. So far, only CDU candidates have prevailed in this constituency. While the SPD was in front of the CDU in almost all municipalities in the district of Leer, the latter led very clearly in the municipalities of the northern Emsland - much more clearly than the SPD in the Leer area was in front of the CDU. The constituency is represented in the Bundestag by the directly elected CDU MP Gitta Connemann from Leer.

coat of arms

Arms of Leer
Blazon : "In blue the silver capital letter L, which is crowned with a silver rose with four petals and whose vertical shaft is each covered by a six-pointed silver star."
Justification of the coat of arms: The city was given the coat of arms, which is derived from an old seal of the area Leer (oldest illustration from 1659), by the Lower Saxony Minister of the Interior in 1950 . Previously, the coat of arms awarded by King George V of Hanover in 1861 was used. This coat of arms showed, among other things, "in the red field a silver castle, over which a golden lion walks, and also on a red shield leaning against the gate of the castle the white horse of our royal coat of arms". However, the city council found this coat of arms too overloaded in 1950, whereupon the old seal of the stain was remembered and a simpler coat of arms was chosen.

City partnerships and sponsorships

Leer has partnerships with the British city of Trowbridge and the Polish city of Elbląg (Elbing).
The contacts to Trowbridge have existed since the 1960s and go back to an initiative of the Leer Accordion Orchestra. The partnership document was signed in 1989. In addition to schools, various clubs have close contacts, especially the Leeraner swimming club Poseidon with the amateur swimming club Trowbridge.
A friendship certificate was signed with Elbląg in 1992 and a partnership certificate in 2001. There are contacts between school and university students and dance athletes. Reciprocal trade fair visits are the rule. Since Trowbridge and Elbing have also entered into a partnership, a triangular partnership results.

Leer has also taken over a sponsorship through the school aid organization Arabras for the school city ​​of Leer in Araquacema ( Brazil ).

Culture and sights

Museums and theaters

House Samson , built in 1643 in baroque style. There is a wine shop on the ground floor; On the first and second floors, a private museum exhibits East Frisian living culture.

In Leer there is the local history museum , the tea museum of the Bünting group , the Böke museum with works by the artist Karl-Ludwig Böke , the Samson house (a museum for living culture in the 18th and 19th centuries) and the museum harbor with historical ships. The ship Prinz Heinrich from 1909 was restored until 2017. After the work has been completed, trips by ship will be undertaken again. The Kunsthaus Leer sees itself as an archive for art from East Frisia. It was opened on March 10, 2012 and shows three to four exhibitions per year, which deal with the themes of East Frisian contemporary art from the last hundred years and mostly deal with the work of individual artists. The former Jewish school is also used for exhibitions and cultural events.

Leer is the venue of the Landesbühne Lower Saxony North based in Wilhelmshaven . Several amateur theaters and home theaters are located in the city. The auditorium with 800 seats attached to the Emsschule is used as a theater hall. As a result of renovation work, the auditorium has been structurally decoupled from the school since 2010 and also received its own foyer. At the same time, the theater and concert hall was renovated at a cost of three million euros. Since then, the building has been called "Theater an der Blinke".


The city library is housed in the Hermann-Tempel-Haus in the historic old town and has a stock of 52,000 items.

Churches and organs

Crypt of the abandoned first church in Leer

The most famous churches in the city include the Luther Church and the Great Church , the main church of the Evangelical Reformed Church in Germany. After predecessor churches made of wood, the oldest stone church at the west end of Leer near the Plytenberg was built around 1200 and consecrated to the Frisian missionary Liudger . After about 450 years, the church became increasingly dilapidated and threatened to collapse after a storm in 1777. In 1787 it was torn down to the level of the floor and auctioned , while the crypt with the oldest vaults in East Frisia was preserved. The successor building was the Great Church, which was completed in the center of the city in 1787 after two years of construction by the master carpenter Isaak Woortmann from Leer. The peculiar octagonal floor plan of the new building in the form of a Greek double cross found models in the Amsterdam Noorderkerk and the Emden New Church . According to the Reformed tradition, the church and furnishings are kept simple, without a cross or altar. The Last Supper table also dates from 1787. In contrast, the baptismal font dates from around 1200 and was probably taken over from the old church. The organ of the Great Church has grown over four centuries and is therefore one of the oldest organs in East Frisia. Some registers come from the Thedinga monastery and go back to the 16th century. Extensions and renovations were carried out in 1763–1766 by Albertus Antonius Hinsz , 1845–1850 by Wilhelm Caspar Joseph Höffgen and 1953–1955 by Paul Ott . Today the organ has 37 registers on three manuals and a pedal . The outer system with two Rückpositiven has been peculiar since 1955 , while the upper structure is empty. The Renaissance pulpit was made by Andreas Kistemaker in 1609. The roof of the church rests on four free-standing columns. The tower was only erected in 1805 and carries a three-masted wind vane, the "Schepken Christi", symbol of the Reformed Church.

Bell tower of the Luther Church in Leer

It was not until 1675 that the Lutherans were allowed to build a church within the city. The nave was expanded in various stages in the 18th and 19th centuries in the form of a Greek cross and the bell tower was added in 1766. The splendid interior is predominantly baroque, such as the altar, which was made in 1696, and the princely chair from 1732. The pulpit, however, which probably comes from the Ihlow monastery and dates around 1500 , is much older . The organ that Jürgen Ahrend built in 2002 with 39 registers on three manuals and pedal behind the prospectus by Hinrich Just Müller (1795) has achieved national fame . The wooden barrel vault from 1793 was painted in 1910 including older paintings that were rediscovered.

In Leer the first new church of the Catholics of East Friesland after the Reformation was built: the St. Michael Church, consecrated in 1776. The organ was installed in 1972 by the Alfred Führer company with 14 registers on two manuals. In 1825 the classical Mennonite Church in Leer was built as a simple hall church without a tower. The organ by Wilhelm Eilert Schmid (1826) has nine registers and has largely been preserved.

Other structures

On the right the historic restaurant "Zur Waage und Börse"
Bünting houses on Brunnenstrasse, in the classical style

Leer is known for its historic old town, which is considered the most valuable in East Frisia. There are 365 buildings in the city that are listed as individual monuments . There are also 35 ensembles with a total of 233 buildings.

The town hall, designed by the Aachen architect Karl Henrici , whose style is based on the Dutch Renaissance , dates from 1894 and, together with the neighboring historical scale (1714), forms an ensemble in the style of the Dutch high baroque . The district court from 1720, a former palace, is also in baroque style.

A large number of residential and commercial buildings in the city center can be assigned to classicism and historicism . Among other things, the Klasen'sche Haus (1806) and a three-person ensemble on Brunnenstrasse, which includes the headquarters of the Bünting company, which was also built in 1806, deserve special mention. The former poor house of the Lutheran church in the Süderkreuzstrasse dates from 1788 and is now used as a youth hostel; only the old facade is preserved. Other historic houses are located on the Brunnenstrasse, Königstrasse and Mühlenstrasse streets.

There are four so-called castles in Leer. The two oldest are reinforced stone houses, while the two younger ones are castles. The Harderwykenburg is the oldest of them; it dates from the first half of the 15th century. The Haneburg built from 1621 is the seat of the district adult education center. The Evenburg , of which the outer bailey has been preserved, was built around 1650 . The castle was rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style in 1861, suffered in the Second World War and reconstructed from 2004 to 2006 according to historical plans. It is surrounded by a landscaped park. The Philippsburg is a baroque palace from around 1730.

The water tower , the Leda barrage and the Jann Berghaus bridge , one of the largest bascule bridges in Europe, are to be mentioned as important technical structures . In 2008/2009, the passage width was increased from 40 to 56 meters for the cruise ships of the Meyer shipyard .

Parks and recreation

Leeraner miniature land

There are several parks in Leer, including the Evenburg Castle Park and the Philippsburger Park, which adjoins the castle there. The largest is the Julianenpark. It was created in 1889 on a private initiative of Count Carl Georg von Wedel and provided with a small pond. In 1929 the city bought the park from the count's family.

The Leeraner Miniaturland model building landscape has existed in the commercial area on Konrad-Zuse-Strasse since June 2011 . In a 1200 m² hall, over 1000 houses and other attractions of East Friesland on a scale of 1:87 ( H0 ) are shown on 520 m² . A park-like green area has been created around the hall.

In the district of Logabirumerfeld there are extensive hedge areas , in the district of Logabirum there are also forest areas.

Regular events

The Gallimarkt Heralds
Incense smoker placed in front of the town hall during Advent

Every year in autumn, the Gallimarkt , which has been in existence since 1508 , is one of the largest annual markets in north-west Germany, with the associated Galliviehmarkt. The cattle market is held in the Ostfrieslandhalle (3000 seats). The Ostfrieslandschau, a trade fair for companies and associations from the region, is held every two years.

The annual Ossiloop , a running event, begins in Julianenpark and ends in Bensersiel . Another part of the sports scene is the charitable city run Leer with around 2000 participants, which has been organized by the Police Inspectorate Leer / Emden since 1991 on the first Sunday of September.

In the odd years the event Leer Maritim , an international touring skipper meeting, takes place. The sporting highlight is a dragon boat regatta .

The traditional Leeraner Rowing Regatta (DRV Regatta) also takes place every year in the last weekend in August or in the first weekend in September. A particular highlight is the nationwide unique night sprint .

In the Zollhaus cultural center, a listed brick building, the Zollhausverein has been offering concerts, cabaret events, exhibitions and children's theater regularly for 15 years (around 8,000 visitors annually). Another venue for concerts is the municipal youth center. Events also take place in the Kulturspeicher, a former harbor warehouse built in 1778.

A Christmas market takes place in Leer every year from the end of November to December 30th. In the form of large, outdoor incense smokers , a four-story Christmas pyramid and a nativity scene in the Erzgebirge style, Leer pays tribute to the Erzgebirge folk art at this time.


Real torture cruids

As the headquarters of Bünting, Leer is one of the three cities in East Frisia where companies are based that produce real East Frisian tea. On average, every East Frisian drank around 300 liters of tea in 2012, which was roughly twelve times the German average, making it the highest in the world. Founded in 1806, Bünting is the oldest still existing tea trading house in East Friesland.

Leer is also known as a distillery location for several local spirits. The best-known among them is the kruiden , a 32 percent herbal bitter .

The best-known main course in winter is kale with pinkel and smoked pork or streaky bacon.


The Hoheellern Stadium of VfL Germania Leer

In Leer there are more than 40 sports clubs with over 11,000 members. As in other places in East Frisia, the Frisian sports Boßeln and Klootschießen are practiced .

The largest sports clubs include VfL Germania Leer , Frisia Loga and VfR Heisfelde, which offer a wide range of sports. VfL Germania, founded in 1915 through its football and athletics departments, is known beyond the region. In the 1930s, the footballers played in the Northwest German Oberliga, the top division at the time. In the 1950s, Germania rose to the amateur league Lower Saxony-West, which was the second highest division at the time. Sepp Piontek was discovered by the Leeraner team and poached by SV Werder Bremen . Until November 2009 Germania played in the Oberliga Niedersachsen-West , but withdrew the team during the season for financial reasons. After the consolidation and the resurgence in 2012, the club plays in the Landesliga Weser / Ems . The athletes in the athletics department attracted attention with their successes at national championships. The former pentathlon world record holder Lena Stumpf became the only East Frisian sportswoman of the year in 1949 , a male East Frisian athlete has not yet succeeded in this. The rower Christina Hennings , who became vice world champion with the women's eight in 2006, starts for the rowing club Leer, which was founded in 1903.

Leer has an indoor swimming pool, the Plytje , which opened in 2019 . The previous building from 1964, consisting of an indoor and outdoor pool, was demolished in autumn 2016. The largest stadium in the city is VfL Germania's Hoheellern Stadium , which has a capacity of 5,000.

Furthermore, Leer is the start or finish of the Ossiloop every year , the start is in Julianenpark. The goal is the monument square in Mühlenstrasse.

Economy and Infrastructure

Leer is primarily a service city and is considered the shopping city of East Frisia. It has the highest retail centrality among the East Frisian cities, which was 170 percent in 2007. In the same year Aurich came to 153 percent, Emden to 116 percent.

A number of industrial companies and shipping companies are based in Leer. Because of the small area used, agriculture does not play a major role, which is particularly true for the local labor market.

Data on unemployment in the city of Leer itself are not collected. In the Leer division of the Employment Agency, which includes the district of Leer excluding Borkum, the unemployment rate in February 2018 was 7.6%. It was 1.4 percentage points above the Lower Saxony average.

Established businesses

Shipping companies

The city of Leer has been shaped by trade for centuries thanks to its seaport. Traditionally, only a few shipping companies were based in the city. This changed when, in the mid-1980s, graduates of the Maritime Institute (since January 1, 2000, part of the Emden / Leer University of Applied Sciences ) ventured into the shipping business. Further companies were founded, so that 16 shipping companies were established by 2007. Almost all shipowners and many of their executives are graduates of the Institute for Seafaring and the affiliated Technical College for Seafaring, which has thus made a significant contribution to this development. Other factors that favored growth were the economic expansion of global goods traffic and close cooperation with banks and financial service providers in the investment sector. More than 390 ships with their home port in Leer are now registered in the German shipping register, making the city the second largest German shipping company location.

On land, several hundred people are employed by the shipping companies and in their vicinity, for example in the area of ​​ship financing. The larger shipping companies include Briese (over 120 ships) and its subsidiary BBC Chartering (160 ships), Buss (70 ships), Hartmann (more than 40 ships), Thien & Heyenga (34 ships) and Triton (35 ships). All of the shipping companies mentioned operate worldwide.

Credit institutions

One of the two headquarters of the Sparkasse LeerWittmund (next to Wittmund ) and the headquarters of the Ostfriesische Volksbank are located in Leer .

Postbank , Deutsche Bank , Targobank , Commerzbank , Oldenburgische Landesbank and Sparda-Bank Hanover are also located in Leer .

Other companies

Bünting's central warehouse, 2009

In Leer there are IT service providers as well as companies that have specialized in the operation of wind turbines .

With the Bünting Group , a large German trading company has its headquarters in Leer and a distribution center in the neighboring community of Nortmoor right on the city limits. Bünting includes the Combi hypermarkets , Famila Nordwest and Markant Nordwest. The company employs around 9,500 people, but only a part of them in East Frisia. In the public eye, however, the name Bünting is primarily associated with the associated tea trading house, which is one of three in East Frisia that produces real East Frisian tea . The company was founded in 1806.

The electronics mail order company ELV Elektronik is based in Leer-Logabirum and employs around 300 people. The software company Orgadata employs over 400 people worldwide, around 215 of them at the headquarters in Leer. The transshipment and logistics company Rhenus is represented in the port of Leer . Other industrial companies located in the port are a shipyard and a raw materials and recycling company belonging to the Interseroh Group and a natural stone company. Other industrial companies in Leer include Leda, which employs around 200 people and produces stoves, heating and fireplace inserts as well as cast iron components for industry, a manufacturer of plastic films and bags, machine builders, an automotive supplier and a company that specializes in Specializing in power generation equipment. The Oldenburg energy supplier EWE maintains a natural gas storage facility south of the Nüttermoor industrial park .

Public facilities

Leer is the seat of the district administration of the district of Leer. The city also has a district court, a tax office and a land registry office as a branch of the Lower Saxony state authority for geoinformation, rural development and real estate (Aurich district). All three are responsible for the Leer district, with the exception of Borkums, which is looked after from Emden. The Rapid Emergency Medical Service Command (Kdo SES) is stationed as part of the intervention forces of the Central Medical Service of the Bundeswehr with around 900  soldiers in the Evenburg barracks (until autumn 2010 Von-Lettow-Vorbeck barracks) in Leer.

The police are represented by several departments. Leer is the seat of the Leer / Emden police station , responsible for the district of Leer and the city of Emden. Is located at the motorway junction Leer-West, a Commissioner of the highway patrol . The water police also have an office in the city. The Leer district office of the Employment Agency is responsible for the Leer district with the exception of Borkums and the northern district of Emsland . The Emden Waterways and Shipping Office has a branch in Leer.

The Leda-Jümme Association , consisting of a dike and a drainage association , is based in Leer. The association is responsible for the south-eastern part of the district of Leer and parts of the neighboring districts of Ammerland , Cloppenburg and Emsland . The city also has branches of the Weser-Ems Chamber of Agriculture and the Main Agricultural Association for East Friesland.

The district hospital in Leer (Klinikum Leer gGmbH) is supported by the district of Leer, the Borromeo Hospital by the Catholic Church. The DRK is responsible for the rescue service on behalf of the district of Leer . He reports to six rescue stations in Leer (headquarters), Borkum , Bunderhee , Hesel , Rhauderfehn and Weener .


The Ostfriesen-Zeitung is based in Leer and appears in all of East Frisia. The in Rheiderland lying district Bingum is also in the circulation area of the Rheiderland newspaper . In the city there is a studio for the citizens' radio station Radio Ostfriesland . Various advertising-financed newspapers ( Der Wecker am Sonntag , Sonntags-Report , Leer Aktuell , Der Leeraner, etc.) appear weekly or monthly and complement the local reporting. Some small publishers like Schuster , Rautenberg and De Utrooper publish literature on regional topics. From the beginning of 2011 to August 2013, the Internet TV station Heimat Live broadcast programs produced by EWE Tel in Leer, among other places. In the district of Nüttermoor there is a telecommunications tower with a height of 160 meters. It is not open to the public.


There are seven municipal primary schools and several secondary schools in Leer. These include the Teletta-Groß-Gymnasium and the Ubbo-Emmius-Gymnasium , which are among the larger high schools in Lower Saxony with well over 1,000 students. After the Johannes-Althusius-Gymnasium Emden and the Ulrichsgymnasium Norden, the Ubbo-Emmius-Gymnasium is the third oldest high school in East Friesland and is one of the oldest schools in the German-speaking area (16th century). The vocational schools in Leer offer several upper secondary levels with a specialist focus. There are seven primary schools in Leer: one each in the districts of Heisfelde, Loga, Logabirum and Bingum, and three in the city center. There are also two secondary schools, a secondary school and two special schools in the city. The high schools and vocational schools are sponsored by the district, the city is the sponsor for the other schools. At various secondary schools in Leer, it is possible to choose Dutch as a second compulsory or optional foreign language with the option of taking the Abitur examination in this subject. The traditional seafaring school in Leer, today the seafaring department, is part of the Emden / Leer University of Applied Sciences . Leer is the seat of the district's adult education center , the Ost-Friesland vocational academy , the district music school, the Leer study seminar , the administrative and business academy and other private educational institutions.


Leer, the “Gate of East Frisia”: lettering on the water tower

Leer is located at the intersection of the most important east-west and north-south traffic axes in East Frisia, both in road and rail traffic. It is also on a federal waterway with the Ems . This means that Leer and Emden are the cities in East Friesland with the most convenient transport connections - Emden has the advantage of being closer to the lake and the deeper fairway, while Leer is more southerly and has an interface function. The city of Leer therefore also calls itself the gateway to East Frisia .

Road traffic

Leer is connected to the two federal motorways A 28 (Bremen - Oldenburg - Leer) and A 31 (Emden - Leer - Bottrop). There are four motorway interchanges in the city area. These are from west to east: Jemgum (west of the Ems), Leer-West , Leer-Nord and Leer-Ost . In the north of the city there is the motorway triangle Leer with the A 28 and the A 31. In the north-west of the city is the Emstunnel in the course of the A 31. The tunnel is after the Elbe tunnel in Hamburg the second in the mouth of a German river, which because of the high altitude of the seagoing vessels passing the river. A bridge over the Ems would have had to be enormous: the cruise ships of the Meyer Werft upstream in Papenburg protrude more than 40 meters out of the water.

The B 70 runs through the town in a north-south direction , starting north of Leer near Neermoor and heading south towards Emsland. It crosses the A 28 at the Leer-Nord junction in the north of the city. South of Leer, the B 70 joins the B 438 . This connects the entire Overledingerland , the southeastern part of the district of Leer, to the district town and is accordingly heavily traveled. The B 436 , which runs from west to (north) east , also runs through Leer. It begins at the Weener junction of the A 31 and reaches the Leeran urban area south of the Bingum district. It crosses the Ems on the Jann Berghaus Bridge . The federal road runs in a semicircle north around the city center; it was partly expanded to four lanes as a city ring in the late 1960s. In the Loga district, it bends in a north-easterly direction, crosses the A 31 at the Leer-Ost junction and continues in the direction of Hesel to Sande . It's about 20 kilometers from Leer to the Dutch border. From the district of Bingum, the state road  15 leads to Oldendorp in the municipality of Jemgum and thus opens up the northern Rheiderland.

Because of its central location as a traffic junction, there are a number of bus routes to and from Leer. The express bus line that connects the two cities is of particular importance for the neighboring town of Aurich . Since there are no more passenger trains to Aurich, the express bus secures the connection to the international rail network in Leer. The travel times are based on the train stops in Leer. There are also overland connections to Emden , Papenburg , Westerstede , Wiesmoor , Bunde and all municipalities in the district. In city ​​traffic there is an east-west bus line that runs from Logabirum via the city center to Bingum and back.

In 2002 the city was named the most bicycle -friendly municipality in Lower Saxony in a state-wide competition because of the large number of bicycle roads.


Traffic axes in East Frisia: The city of Leer (lower center) is the region's traffic junction

The Leeraner Bahnhof is an important railway junction for East Frisia. There, three railway lines meet: the Emsland line from Münster via Rheine to Emden (- Norddeich Mole), the Oldenburg – Leer line and the Leer – Groningen line . While the Emsland line has been expanded, electrified and designed for heavy traffic due to the earlier transport of imported iron ore from the Emden port to the Ruhr area , the other two lines are only single-track. The route to Oldenburg is electrified, the one to Groningen is driven by diesel-powered vehicles.

Long-distance transport

There are daily InterCity connections , coming from Norddeich, to Cologne or Koblenz (IC / EC line 35 via Münster and Cologne) and to Leipzig or Berlin / Cottbus (IC line 56, via Bremen and Hanover ). The connection to Leipzig is served every two hours, with a daily train instead taking a different route from Magdeburg via Berlin to Cottbus. Outside of regular traffic, the IC “Bodensee” stops once a day to Constance .

Local transport
  • The RE1 of the DB Regio runs on the Hanover - Oldenburg - Leer - Emden - Norden - Norddeich Mole route every two hours.
  • The Emsland-Express , RE15, Emden Außenhafen - Emden - Papenburg - Münster (Westf) Hbf runs daily every hour.
  • There is also an hourly service on the connection to Groningen operated by the Arriva transport company . The railway line has been used in its full length again since 2002 after traffic on the German section was temporarily suspended. Until 2006, passengers had to change trains in Nieuweschans , as different signal systems existed in both countries. On December 3, 2015, there was a serious accident when a ship rammed the Friesenbrücke bridge. Since then there has been a replacement rail service on the Leer - Groningen line, as the repair of the Friesenbrücke bridge will continue until 2021: “ Arriva Netherlands has set up a replacement rail service between Leer and Groningen. The bus times have been adapted to the departure / arrival times of the trains. "( Groningen-info.de )

The Leer-Aurich-Wittmund Kleinbahn, founded in 1898 and which started operating a year later, ceased traffic in 1969. The Ostfriesland hiking trail has now been laid out on the route .

Bicycle traffic

The city of Leer has connections to several long-distance cycle routes . The Dortmund-Ems Canal Route is a 350 km long and almost incline-free long-distance cycle path that connects the Ruhr area with the North Sea coast . The German Fehnroute is a 165-kilometer circuit through East Frisia and the Emsland . It is named after the fen settlements that are frequent in this area . The EmsRadweg begins at the Ems source in the village of Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock on the edge of the Teutoburg Forest and follows the Ems over a distance of 375 kilometers.

Air traffic

Leer-Papenburg airfield is located in the northern district of Nüttermoor . With national and international charter flights and company traffic from companies in the Leer / Papenburg region, Leer airfield holds a leading position among the airports in Lower Saxony with around 23,000 aircraft movements per year .

Aerial view of the port of Leer

The shareholders of the operator GmbH include the districts of Leer and Emsland, the cities of Leer and Papenburg and companies from the region. The airfield is also used by private pilots . The East Frisian Islands are also approached . The airfield has a 1200 m long asphalt runway with night lights, a refueling system as well as customs and border clearance. The closest international airport is Bremen .


View of the two shipyards in the commercial harbor
Museum harbor
360 ° panorama of the museum harbor Leer
Show as spherical panorama

In 1895 Georg Franzius was responsible for expanding the port in competition with Emden .

The port of the city of Leer is a municipal sea and inland port operated by Stadtwerke Leer, a subsidiary of the city. It consists of two docks, the commercial port and the industrial port. The industrial port is primarily used for handling. Goods such as biodiesel, vegetable oils, grain, animal feed, fertilizer, stones and earth as well as iron and steel (scrap) are handled. The port is 52  nautical miles (almost 97 kilometers) from the mouth of the Ems near Borkum. It is separated from Leda and Ems by a lock . The sea lock allows ships up to 140 meters in length to enter. The harbor basin can accommodate ships with a draft of up to six meters .

The port is dependent on a small number of customers, their economic ups and downs influence port handling. In 2019 this was only 332,180  tons of goods. In 2000 it recorded its best handling result to date with around 1.12 million t. In 2006 around 612,000 t were loaded and unloaded, in 2010 it was 587,821 t, 105,833 t of this in sea traffic. The technical reasons for the decline include increasing siltation of the port and occasional technical problems at the sea lock. In 2011, the throughput amounted to 623,000 t (plus 6 percent), 115,291 t of this in sea freight. In 2012 around 46,100 tonnes of sea freight were handled. In 2013 sea freight throughput sank further to 45,664 t, with inland waterway vessels handling 468,647 t of goods. In 2014, the inland waterway freight traffic was 494,285 t and for sea freight 24,291 t. In 2015, the throughput in sea freight was 38,524 t, in 2016 254,822 t in inland shipping and 42,698 t in maritime shipping, in 2017 it was 312,002 t in inland shipping and 58,594 t in maritime shipping.

Was in port until January 2013, the training ship Emsstrom , the former fishery protection vessel Frithjof . Part of the harbor is a museum harbor , as well as a leisure harbor for recreational shipping .

Measuring stations

One of around 1800 measuring points of the radioactivity measuring network of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) is located in Leer . The measuring station measures the local gamma dose rate (ODL) at the measuring location and sends the data to the measuring network. The data, averaged over 24 hours, can be called up directly on the Internet.

People and personalities

sons and daughters of the town

The publicist and historian Onno Klopp (1822–1903) was best known as the historiographer of the Welfenhaus . The natural scientist and natural philosopher Bernhard Bavink (1879–1947) and the prehistorian Hermann Behrens (1915–2006) were also born in Leer .

Hermann Lange (1912–1943), priest and Nazi victim, was born in the city. He was beatified in 2011 . Garrelt Duin (SPD) was born in Leer in 1968. From 2012 to mid-2017 he was Minister of Economic Affairs in North Rhine-Westphalia . The former Schleswig-Holstein Environment Minister Rainder Steenblock (Alliance 90 / The Greens) was also born in Leer .

The theologian and state superintendent of the Lüneburg district of the ev.-luth. Johann Feltrup Church was born in Leer in 1886. The merchant and cloth manufacturer Christian Bonk (1807–1869) was also born in Leer. He was the first East Frisian Baptist and co-founder of the Baptist Congregation Ur . Shortly after emigrating to the United States, he founded the First Eastfriesian Baptist Church in Baileyville (Illinois) with 36 other emigrants from the Leeraner area in 1865 , which still exists today.

Hermann Hoffmann was rector of the University of Tübingen. Gerrit Manssen is a lawyer and professor at the University of Regensburg . Susanne Stürmer , who holds a PhD in economics, is President of the Babelsberg Film University Konrad Wolf .

Several artists were born in Leer. The carpenter, woodcarver and panel painter Tonnies Mahler (* around 1615- to 1663) lived his life in Leer. Among the writers are Albrecht Janssen (1886–1972) and Wilhelmine Siefkes (1890–1984). The sculptor and sculptor Karl-Ludwig Böke (1927–1996) and the painter and graphic artist Heiner Altmeppen (* 1951) were born in Leer, as was Peter Ehlebracht (* 1940), who, like the one who grew up in Leer, was born in Emden - Karl Dall was a member of the comedian band Insterburg & Co and completed his apprenticeship as a typesetter in Leer. HP Baxxter (bourgeois: Hans Peter Geerdes; * 1964) is the front man of the techno band Scooter . Also Reinhard hip (1942-2010), graphic designer and founder of the German cabaret archive was born in Leer and the German-speaking singer / songwriter Enno Bunger .

In the field of sport, athlete Lena Stumpf (1924–2012) should be mentioned, who was elected Sportswoman of the Year in 1949 . More recently, the former beach volleyball player Okka Rau (* 1977, was active for Hamburger SV ) and the rower Christina Hennings (* 1984), who became vice world champion with the women's eight in 2006.

The pharmacologist Heyo K. Kroemer is Chairman of the Charité Board of Directors .

The architect Anton van Norden , born in Loga (Leer) , shaped the urban face of Peine . The CDU politician Ulf Thiele was born in Leer in 1971.

Other personalities

The East Frisian chief Focko Ukena (1370–1436) made Leer at times the leading city in East Frisia.

The Evangelical Reformed theologian , historian , pedagogue and founding rector of today's University of Groningen Ubbo Emmius (1547–1625), born in Greetsiel , worked at the Leeran Latin School for several years. Johann Ludwig Hinrichs (1818–1901), co-founder of the German Baptist congregations, was the first pastor of this congregation in Leer from 1849 to 1853 .

The cultural politician Adolf Grimme (1889–1963) worked as a study assessor in Leer and worked there briefly after the First World War. Josef Piontek (* 1940), football player and coach (began his career at VfL Germania Leer ) and Ernst Reuter (1889–1953), German politician and mayor of West Berlin , were temporarily residents of the city of Leer. Paul Oskar Schuster (* 1888 in Peine ; † 1971 in Leer) was the upper district director of the Leer district from 1948 to 1955, and subsequently (until 1963) a member of the CDU's state parliament.

The Protestant theologian Eta Linnemann (1926–2009) spent her retirement in the Loga district of Leer . The teacher and naturalist Fritz Klimmek (1905–1963) taught at the local Teletta-Groß-Gymnasium for girls after the end of the war . The Klimmeks blackberry was named after him. From 1949 to 2000, the plant breeder Ernst Pagels (1913–2007) ran an internationally known perennial nursery in Leer.

Marron Curtis Fort (1938–2019, linguist and specialist in Sater Frisian and Low German ) lived in Leer . The Low German author Gerd Constapel lives in Leer .

The hip-hop group 102 Boyz , which has been successful in Germany since 2018 with admittedly anti-social issues , also comes from Leer.

Web links

Commons : Empty  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Blank  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Leer  - Travel Guide


  • Enno Eimers : A short history of the city of Leer . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1993, ISBN 3-7963-0293-9 .
  • Menna Hensmann, Günther Boekhoff: Documentation Leer 1933–1945 . Verlag Risius, Weener 2001, ISBN 3-88761-073-3 .
  • Norbert Fiks: November Revolution . Leer under the Workers and Soldiers Council 1918/1919 . Leer 2007, ISBN 3-8370-0123-7 .
  • City of Leer (Ed.): Leer: Yesterday - Today - Tomorrow . Leer 1973, ISBN 3-7921-0127-0 .
  • Wessel Onken: From Leer's Past (Chronicle of the Empty Spot) . Loeser, Reinbek 2007.
  • Eva Requardt-Schohaus: Leer - Leda city with an eventful history . Verlag SKN, Norden 2005, ISBN 3-928327-84-4 .
  • Johannes Röskamp: On the history of the Jews in Leer , Leer 1985.
  • Henning Priet: The city of Leer and the Third Reich , AVM-Verlag, 2012, ISBN 3-86924-292-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. State Office for Statistics Lower Saxony, LSN-Online regional database, Table 12411: Update of the population, as of December 31, 2019  ( help ).
  2. Information on the shipping company location in Leer
  3. ^ A b Gottfried Kiesow : Architectural Guide East Friesland . Verlag Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz , Bonn 2010, ISBN 978-3-86795-021-3 , p. 127.
  4. ^ Wiarda, Tileman Dothias: Ostfriesische Geschichte . tape 1 . Aurich 1791, p. 422 .
  5. a b From "Hleri" to Leer. In: City of Leer. Retrieved February 19, 2010 . In addition to fishing, the early settlers in this area probably lived mainly from cattle breeding.
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Paul Weßels (working group of local chronicles): Leer, Stadt und Landkreis. In: Historical place database for East Friesland. East Frisian Landscape , accessed on February 27, 2020 .
  7. ^ Eberhard Rack: Small regional studies of Ostfriesland . Isensee Verlag, Oldenburg 1998, ISBN 3-89598-534-1 , p. 13 (graphic)
  8. Updated world climate map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification , accessed on April 4, 2011.
  9. holidaycheck.de: Climate and Weather for Leer , accessed on April 10, 2010.
  10. ^ Eberhard Rack: Kleine Landeskunde Ostfriesland , Isensee Verlag, Oldenburg 1998, p. 35ff.
  11. ^ German Weather Service: Location map , accessed on March 25, 2018.
  12. ^ Precipitation data according to the formerly free German Weather Service, normal period 1961–1990
  13. Temperature information , hours of sunshine and rainy days according to holidaycheck.de: Climate and Weather for Leer , accessed on April 6, 2010.
  14. ^ Rolf Bärenfänger : Guide to Archaeological Monuments in Germany, Vol. 35 Ostfriesland , Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-8062-1415-8 . P. 79f.
  15. Norbert Fiks: The Romans in Ostfriesland , e-book for download (PDF file; 376 kB). P. 57
  16. Rudolf Kötzschke: The economic constitution and administration of the large manorial rule Werden , Bonn 1958, p. CCLIII.
  17. This, however, doubts Peter Berghaus (ed.): Commentationes numismaticae 1988: Festgabe für Gert and Vera Hatz , 1988, p. 163.
  18. ^ Heinrich Schmidt: Political history of East Frisia . Rautenberg, Leer 1975 (Ostfriesland in the protection of the dike, vol. 5), p. 78.
  19. a b Wilhelm Lange (Working Group of the Ortschronisten der Ostfriesische Landschaft ): Leerort, Stadt Leer, District Leer (PDF; 55 kB), accessed on January 26, 2010.
  20. Meibom, Heinrich: Detailed Warhaffter Historical Report, the Princely Land: vnd Erbstadt Braunschweig . tape 1 . Helmstadt 1607, p. 208 .
  21. ^ Dietrich Diederichs-Gottschalk : The Protestant written altars of the 16th and 17th centuries in northwest Germany. An examination of the history of churches and art on a special form of liturgical furnishings in the epoch of denominationalization , 2005, p. 27.
  22. stadt-leer.de: Ascent to the market town , accessed on February 28, 2011.
  23. a b City of Leer (East Friesland): Special historical events in Leer , accessed on April 13, 2011.
  24. ^ GA von Garrelts: The East Frisians in the German War of Liberation , Leer 1856. Cf. Harry Pladies: Ostfriesland in the Age of Napoleon, in: Die Leuchtboje 19, Leer o. J.
  25. See Secret State Archives Prussian Cultural Heritage III. Main Department Ministry of Foreign Affairs, II No. 122.
  26. a b Heinrich Schmidt: Political History of East Frisia . Rautenberg, Leer 1975 (Ostfriesland in the protection of the dike, vol. 5), p. 408.
  27. ^ Enno Eimers: A short history of the city of Leer . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1993, ISBN 3-7963-0293-9 , p. 61.
  28. ^ Enno Eimers: A short history of the city of Leer . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1993, ISBN 3-7963-0293-9 , p. 64.
  29. ^ Enno Eimers: A short history of the city of Leer . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1993, ISBN 3-7963-0293-9 , p. 74.
  30. ^ Enno Eimers: A short history of the city of Leer . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1993, ISBN 3-7963-0293-9 , p. 76 f.
  31. ^ Enno Eimers: A short history of the city of Leer . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1993, ISBN 3-7963-0293-9 , p. 86.
  32. ^ Enno Eimers: A short history of the city of Leer . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1993, ISBN 3-7963-0293-9 , p. 89 f.
  33. ^ Enno Eimers: A short history of the city of Leer . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1993, ISBN 3-7963-0293-9 , pp. 99/100
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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on April 22, 2011 in this version .