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coat of arms Germany map
Coat of arms of the city of Weener
Map of Germany, location of the city of Weener highlighted

Coordinates: 53 ° 10 '  N , 7 ° 21'  E

Basic data
State : Lower Saxony
County : Empty
Height : 5 m above sea level NHN
Area : 81.24 km 2
Residents: 15,946 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 196 inhabitants per km 2
Postal code : 26826
Primaries : 04951, 04903, 04953, 04961
License plate : LER
Community key : 03 4 57 021
City structure: 15 districts

City administration address :
Osterstrasse 1
26826 Weener
Website : www.weener.de
Mayor : Ludwig Sonnenberg (independent)
Location of the city of Weener 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
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Old Port

Weener is a small town in East Frisia in the northwest of the German state of Lower Saxony . It is the only town in the historic Rheiderland region and extends to the left of the Ems . Politically, Weener has belonged to the district of Leer since 1932 and was previously the district town of the district of Weener , which was almost the same area as the Rheiderland.

Weener has 15,946 inhabitants on an area of ​​81.24 square kilometers. Almost 43% of all Weener residents live in the core town of Weener with around 6,700 inhabitants. The city grew strongly through incorporation in 1973. 4.4% of the residents of the city near the border are Dutch.

In past centuries Weener had a port on the Ems and was on the left-Ems trade route to the Münsterland in the south . The city was best known for its cattle and horse markets and exported agricultural goods. In the meantime, the port as a transshipment point and the cattle trade no longer play a role. Economically, Weener is shaped by retail for the Rheiderland region, agriculture and tourism. There are also individual industrial plants in the city.

In the cultural field, Weener is important because of the Organeum . This is a cultural and educational center with a museum for keyboard instruments in the middle of the organ landscape of East Friesland , one of the most important organ landscapes in the world. In the Georgskirche , built around 1230, there is also an organ by Arp Schnitger , which is considered one of his late works. In addition to the Georgskirche, one of the sacred buildings is the Stapelmoorer Church : the Romano-Gothic cruciform church is one of the most outstanding church buildings in East Frisia.


Position and extent

The city of Weener is located in southwestern East Friesland . It is the only town in the region on the western bank of the Ems . It describes itself as the "Green City in the Rheiderland " and is the center of the German part of the region. Not far from the city are the Dollart and the border with the Dutch province of Groningen . Nearby major cities are Oldenburg and Groningen in the Netherlands . The regional spatial planning program of the district of Leer assigns the core town of Weener to the function of a basic center for the urban area. The urban area of ​​Weener comprises the southeastern part of the Rheiderland and has a length of 15.2 kilometers in north-south direction, and in east-west direction it extends a maximum of 10.6 kilometers.

Geology, soils and hydrology

The Weeneraner urban area combines the three typical landscape forms of East Friesland: marshland , moor and geest . The geological subsurface is determined by sediments from the Pleistocene and Holocene . The core area of ​​the city lies on a ridge along the Ems, which was compressed in the Saale Ice Age by the pressure of the ice advancing from the north. This ridge stretches from Diele in the south to the city center and Beschotenweg in the north. Immediately in front of the city center, it reaches a height of 6.0 m above sea ​​level . The urban area itself is at a height of 2.1 to 2.4 m above sea level. There are podsol soils in a dry location with Ortstein underneath. To the south of Stapelmoorerheide there is a small strip of podsol soil in a damp location, locally also with moorland and pitted areas. In the extreme southwest near Dielerheide there is also an upland moor , as well as in the north of the urban area near Weenermoor. In the northern urban area, to the east of Weenermoor, overlooked border moors ( flood moors ) join. Further in the direction of the Ems there are knick marsh soils and finally transitional brackish marsh soils . In the south of the city there are river marshlands near the Ems.

The urban area is criss-crossed by a dense network of ditches and sewer depths that are urgently needed for drainage. The pumping stations Diele and Stapelmoor, to which the sewage depths named after the places flow, drain the southern urban area to the Ems . In the northern part of the city center there is another pumping station that is fed by the Buschfelder Sieltief. This pumping station drains the central area of ​​the city. The Buschfelder Sieltief is crossed by the Dwarsdeep ( flat German : Quertief), which runs roughly parallel to the Ems and connects the Sieltiefe running in a west-east direction. In the northern neighboring municipality of Jemgum, the Dwarstief crosses, among other things, the Großsoltborger Sieltief, which thus also drains parts of the northern Weeneraner urban area. Only a very small part of the urban area drains to Dollard: These are the westernmost parts of the Tichelwarf and Holthuserheide districts. Ultimately they drain through the Wymeerer Sieltief which runs in the neighboring municipality of Bunde . The sewerage Rheiderland is responsible for the drainage and , together with the Rheider Deichacht, is based in the neighboring municipality of Jemgum.

Neighboring communities

Weener in the Rheiderland

Weener borders on six municipalities. These are clockwise, starting in the west, Bunde , Jemgum , Leer and Westoverledingen (across the Ems). These four municipalities are in the district of Leer. Weener also borders Papenburg (across the Ems) and Rhede , both in the Emsland district .

City structure

The city of Weener consists of the core city and 14 other districts. The population is as of December 31, 2017.

district Residents
Weener 7106
Möhlenwarf 1807
Tichelwarf 1746
Holthusen 1129
Pile bog 1082
district Residents
Stapelmoorerheide 798
Hallway 582
Holthuserheide 396
Weenermoor 347
Kirchborgum 278
district Residents
Vellage 207
Beschotenweg 178
Dielerheide 177
Hold 124
St. Georgiwold 61

Localities in the sense of municipal law are Beschotenweg, Diele, Holthusen, Kirchborgum, Stapelmoor, St. Georgiwold, Vellage, Weener and Weenermoor. These are the municipalities that merged in 1973 to form the new town of Weener. The other districts used to belong to one of those localities.

Land use

Land use 2011
use Hectares
Building and open space 871
including living space 566
of which commercial and industrial space 61
Operating area 6th
Recreation area 68
including green area 48
traffic area 444
of which road, path, square 379
Agricultural area 5914
of which moor 4th
Water surface 396
Forest area 193
Areas of other use 232
including cemeteries 6th
of it land 94
total area 8124

The land use table shows that in a national comparison - like almost all East Frisian municipalities - Weener has an above-average proportion of agricultural land. It is 72.8% and is thus well above the Federal Republican average of 52.3%, but slightly below the East Frisian average of around 75 percent. Almost 4.9% of the total area of ​​Weener is covered with drainage ditches and depths of water, which means that the national average of 2.3% water area is roughly twice as high. In contrast, the proportion of forests in the urban area is extremely below average. At 2.37%, it even falls below the East Frisian average of 2.6%, which in turn is very low in a Germany-wide comparison: The proportion of forests in the total area of ​​the Federal Republic is 30.1%.


Weener is in the temperate climate zone, influenced by 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 , the city 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.

Weather data is collected for the neighboring Leer, which has similar climatic conditions: The average annual temperature there is 9 ° C with maximum values ​​in July and August around 20 ° C and average minimum values ​​around −2 ° C in December and in January. There are most rainy days with 14 in November and December, the least in March and May, where there are 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.

Protected areas

In the area of ​​the city of Weener is the nature reserve (NSG) Püttenbollen , a moor complex . The NSG Süderkolk , located league in part on the territory of the neighboring community, is a slowly silted Direction Kolk . Weener also has a share of about an eighth of the NSG Emsauen between Herbrum and Vellage .

Share Weener also the 8750-hectare conservation area "Rheiderland" which extends to the neighboring communities league, and (especially) Jemgum. According to the NLWKN, it has “national to international significance (...) for Nordic geese that winter here and that use agricultural land for foraging. The grassland areas are of national and international importance as an intermediate resting place, especially for golden plover, curlew, whimbrel and lapwing. "

The Hessepark in the city center, an oak alley in Stapelmoor and ten other rows of trees and solitary trees in Holthuserheide, Holthusen and the city center are also designated as protected landscape components. Six other groups of trees and solitary trees in the city center are protected as natural monuments , as is a chestnut grove in Stapelmoor.


Prehistory and early history

Tree felling experiment with the reconstruction of a (ribbon ceramic) dechos in an experimental archeological field test

The core city area of ​​Weener on the Geest is located in an ancient settlement area. Numerous finds have shown that the Geestrück has been settled since the Stone Age . In the district of Diele, a clustered village , finds from the Stone Age were also made.

Finds have also been made along the Ems from the Mesolithic period that indicate the presence of humans. The same applies to the neighboring, but much better explored, northeastern Netherlands. Two adzes from the Danube were recovered from the port of Emden during dredging work , as well as a flint ax and a clay vessel from the funnel beaker culture . “It is possible that the Emsuferwall could be settled when the sea level rise on the deposits of the Calais II transgression stopped . About a thousand years later this was apparently possible again on the deposits of the Calais III transgression. "In 1992," an antler ax from the antlers of a hunted red deer from the Mesolithic or the younger Bronze Age "was found in the nearby landscape polder in the neighboring municipality of Bunde .

The river march of the Ems began in the older pre-Roman Iron Age , around the 7th century BC. BC, settled according to plan. The people settled on a narrow strip on the Emsuferwall, which both offered protection from the water of the river and was high enough to bypass the swamps of the Sietland . This had formed west of the Emsuferwall when the Ems water was increasingly dammed up due to a rise in sea level and the natural runoff of rainwater from the hinterland came to a standstill. Viewed from the river inland, the settlers found a reed zone influenced by the tide , softwood meadows with willow bushes and forests, and hardwood meadows with elms , alders , oaks and ash trees .

“The first settlers cleared the floodplain forests that had grown on the sediments of the Dunkirk-0 transgression . They preferred the hardwood floodplains on the high positions of the bank wall as settlements and farmland. It was drier here, and ash, oak and also elm made suitable timber for building houses in the immediate vicinity. The lower softwood meadows on the river bank and the swamp forests on the edge of the Sietland provided willow and alder wood for the wattle walls of the houses and other needs. From the fern-rich reed beds , the great sedge and the alder quarries of the Sietland in the west, stable litter, hay and probably also reeds were obtained for the roofs of the houses. "

- Wolfgang Schwarz : The prehistory in Ostfriesland, p. 154

The area of ​​the Süder Hilgenholt is an important site for the Middle Bronze Age . Although a large part of the area is built over, five house floor plans from the Elp culture (1600–900 BC) have been documented. In addition, simple, steep-walled bowls, some of which are decorated with finger pinches, and large, smooth-walled double-conical pots were found. The Elp culture is a regional group of the European Barrow Bronze Age, which developed west of the Weser , north of the low mountain ranges and in the north-east and central Netherlands.

The house floor plans are interpreted as large, 20–30 meters long farmsteads with cattle stalls and storehouses. Immediately adjacent to the settlement was a burial ground, which can probably be assigned to the younger Bronze Age. To the southeast of the find area, granaries and a burial ground from the early Iron Age with twelve urn burials and three corpse burn camps were discovered.

The march settlements near the Ems allowed both cattle breeding and agriculture. Cattle and sheep were predominant among the farm animals . In a settlement in Hatzum, north of Weener, 53% cattle bones and 22% sheep bones were discovered during excavations. In contrast, the proportion of horses (8%) and dog bones (3%) was very low. While the cattle grazed on the sweet pastures of the river marsh, the sheep were kept on the inferior soils. The cattle used their meat, milk, bones and fur, and they were also used as draft animals and pack animals. To what extent this also applied to the horse has not yet been determined. Sheep also provided wool. Nothing is known about other domestic animals, such as poultry , either. Despite the proximity to the river, fishing was of minor importance. In addition to plants that were also grown on the Geest, such as emmer or naked barley , there were also indications of the cultivation of broad beans and flax due to the better growing conditions in the marshland .

The Bentumersiel site is only slightly north of the Weeneraner city area, near Jemgum, and indicates the presence of Romans in ancient times.

middle Ages

Depiction of the dike construction in the Oldenburg Sachsenspiegel

Weener is well over 1000 years old. It was monks from Werden monastery who built the first wooden church around the year 900 on what is now the old cemetery. The church was dedicated to John the Baptist . The first written mention of Weener dates back to 951 and comes from the records of the Werden monastery. Over the centuries the settlement developed into a street village around today's Norder-, Süder- and Kreuzstraße. The dyke construction began around the year 1000. This led to increased settlement activity also on the Unterems. The dyke building, organized as a cooperative, is seen as one of the essential foundations of the Frisian freedom , which was shaped by the autonomous regional communities. The old wooden church became too small for the growing population over time. In the early 13th century, as in many other East Frisian towns, people in Weener began to replace old wooden churches with stone structures: The Georgskirche dates from around 1230.

From around the 11th to the 14th century at the latest, several bog colonies were established in today's urban area, which were determined by the right of erection (East Frisian Platt: Upstreekrecht) according to the then new colonization form . Settlers who had settled on the Geestrand near a moor were allowed to drive their parcels parallel to each other into the moor until they encountered natural obstacles or parcels of other settlers who had cultivated the moor from other directions. The moor was cultivated by removing the peat and supplying the land with natural fertilizer from adjacent grassland areas of the moorland marshland.

“The size of the arable land at that time was proportional to the extent of the natural grassland. The colonists must have been aware of this aspect at the beginning of the development of the moors, because extension settlements can only be found in East Friesland and also in the Netherlands, where grassland-rich lowlands directly border on high moors. "

- Eckhard Wassermann : Settlement history of the moors p. 98

Weenermoor, St. Georgiwold, Stapelmoorerheide and Holthuserheide are among the villages that have been expanded through the right to erect. A peculiarity arose in St. Georgiwold, even more so in Weenermoor: Due to subsidence and waterlogging, the settlers were forced to drive their upstreeks further and further into the peat bog and, for economic reasons (increasingly longer distances between field and farm), their living spaces were forced further to relocate to the already pitted area. In Weenermoor, the settlement was therefore relocated three times during the colonization.

Due to flood disasters and plague outbreaks in the 14th century and the associated economic slumps, the East Frisian chieftainship developed , as individual families broke out of the traditional principle of Frisian freedom and rose to be leaders of a (manageable) area. In the Rheiderland, however, the families of chiefs who have achieved a similar importance as those in northern East Frisia, such as the tom Brok or Attena , never emerged . The position of the chiefs in the Rheiderland within the all-East Frisian power structure of those days was subordinate. Above all, they were local landowners. Instead, the Rheiderland came under the influence of Moormerland chief Focko Ukena , who was the most powerful chief in East Frisia for a short time after the Battle of the Wilder Acres in 1427. However, in a subsequent power struggle, he was subject to the Freedom League of the Seven East Friesland under the leadership of the Cirksena , who finally asserted themselves as the leading family in East Friesia and were enfeoffed in 1464 with the county of East Friesland . A year earlier, the chief Wiart Memminga, who was sitting on the Memmingaburg in Weener, was mentioned in the course of the establishment of the border between the diocese of Münster and East Friesland near Brual and Diele.

From the takeover of power by the Cirksenas in 1464 to the end of the Thirty Years War (1648)

After the Cirksena had established itself as a mansion over East Frisia, they began to build an official administration in the region. The southern Rheiderland with Weener was administered from the Leerort fortress built in 1433 as the seat of a count's bailiff.

Due to the border location of the Rheiderland against the Netherlands in the west and the bishopric of Münster in the south, Weener was the scene of armed conflicts several times from the 15th to the late 17th century, from which the place and the surrounding villages suffered severely. Of particular importance for the defense of East Frisia to the south was the Dieler Schanze , which was probably built in the 14th century in what is now the Diele district .

During armed conflicts in 1492, the Bishop of Münster , Heinrich von Schwarzburg , had the Kommende Dünebroek , Bunde and Wymeer in the Rheiderland plundered and then took Weener. Eggerik Beninga reports on this in his Cronica der Fresen :

"1492 up den dag Dionisii is Bisschup Hindrik van Schwartzenberg viantliker wyse (hostile) van Wedde na dat Closter Dunenbroek ingetagen, un booklet de both Karkspelen Hogebunde and Wymeer geroevet, and sint voort na Weener met, hebben de spots with the karken (church) burned. All ornaments, chalices and monstranties are named. "

- Eggerik Beninga : Cronica of the Fresen .
Enno II of East Frisia

In the course of the Saxon feud (1514–1517), land servants of the Black Guard moved through the Rheiderland. During the Geldrian feud between Count Enno II and Johann Cirksena and their intimate enemy Balthasar von Esens and his ally, Duke Karl von Egmond (1531–1534), the Rheiderland was the scene of warlike entanglements. In 1533 the troops of the Duke von Geldern and Balthasars von Esens moved to the Rheiderland with 2000 men under the mercenary leader Meinhart von Hamme . Enno's troops initially fought off the incursion at Dieler Schanze, but another incursion from Hammes was successful. He marched through what is now the city area towards Jemgum , where the battle of Jemgum later took place, in which the count's troops were defeated.

In the Eighty Years 'War , the Netherlands ' struggle for independence against Spain , the Rheiderland became the focus of the warring parties right from the start. After the battle of Heiligerlee , the Geusen fled to the east under Ludwig von Nassau-Dillenburg and settled in the Rheiderland. They were pursued by a Spanish army under the command of Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba as far as East Frisia, and almost completely destroyed in the Battle of Jemgum on July 21, 1568. The duke's troops then plundered and pillaged the Rheiderland for three days. In the following years, too, Dutch troops evaded into the Rheiderland area several times. The Dieler Schanze was expanded in order to prevent another possible Spanish incursion.

After Count Edzard the Great had already in 1508 awarded the town market rights granted Countess Anna of the Reformed Church community after 1570 the balance along with scales of justice . With the expansion of the port in 1570, the place developed into an important trading location for the agricultural products of the area.

During the Thirty Years' War , East Frisia was not the scene of fighting, but it was used by troops as a rest room . Three times (1622–1624, 1627–1631 and 1637–1651) foreign troops moved into East Friesland, which also affected the Weeneraner area. The region was particularly hard hit by the occupation by the Mansfelder . The two following occupations from 1627 to 1631 by imperial troops under Tilly also meant burdens from contributions, as did the Hessian troops billeted from 1637 to 1651 under Wilhelm V von Hessen-Kassel . While it was said for most of East Frisia that the occupiers “disciplined men and avoided excesses”, this was not the case for Weener: In 1637 Hessian troops and in 1647 imperial troops took the place and burned it down almost completely. 108 houses fell victim to the flames. That is why the city coat of arms contains a phoenix as a symbol for the resurrection from the fire. Otherwise, the situation was materially different under the two occupations than under Mansfeld: Although contributions were collected, the money was also spent in the region again. During the war, the plague broke out in East Frisia , but deaths for the area in question are not documented. Weener was described in 1650 as a small arable settlement with 300 inhabitants, whose livelihood was mainly agriculture.

Economic rise and fall after 1648

The Prince-Bishop of Münster, Christoph Bernhard von Galen, invaded the Rheiderland twice more in the late 17th century ...
... to collect a debt of 300,000 thalers from Prince Georg Christian of East Friesland.

The Weeneraner area became the scene of a military conflict for the last time in the late 17th century, in which the Dieler Schanze played an important role. The Prince-Bishop of Münster, Christoph Bernhard von Galen , also known as Bernd Bombing because of his lust for war , attempted to collect a debt of 300,000 thalers by invading the Rheiderland, which the East Frisian Princely House had incurred through the acquisition of the Harlingerland . Prince Georg Christian could not raise the amount that had already got into Mansfeld's hands during the Thirty Years' War. However, the Münster troops were driven out with the help of the Dutch States General and Duke Eberhard von Württemberg . The States General lent Georg Christian the amount of the debt and in 1664 received the village of Diele and the Schanze. Eight years later, the bishopric was destroyed by troops of the bishop during a renewed dispute between the Bishop of Munster and the States General and was not rebuilt afterwards.

Weener quickly recovered from the chaos of war and experienced an economic boom in the late 17th and 18th centuries, which was mainly due to the horse trade. The Rheiderland horses were regarded as excellent carriage and riding horses. They gained an excellent reputation at home and abroad. At least 1000 horses were sold annually, including to Brandenburg, Hanover and Saxony and up to the nobles of Venice. But customers in southern Italy and France also rely on the horses from Weener. Horse breeding and trading concentrated on a few families, the names Lübbers, Hesse, Groeneveld, Goemann and Hitjer in particular should be mentioned. During the War of the Spanish Succession , the East Frisian prince issued a ban in 1704 on delivering horses to France and its allies. Instead, significantly more horses were sold to the House of Habsburg, which they used for their conquests in Italy. Long and dangerous horse trails from East Friesland via Augsburg and further over the Alpine passes to Italy have been handed down from this time .

The economic boom through the horse trade was also noticeable in the increase in the population. Was one of the spots five years after the start of the Prussian rule in 1749 still 1,487 inhabitants, the number had risen to 2337-1805. In this way, Weener overtook the even larger towns of Esens and Wittmund in terms of population in 1749 and even had around 150 inhabitants more than the residential town of Aurich. After Emden, Leer and the north, Weener had now risen to become the fourth largest town in East Frisia. The city was the center of the Rheiderland and supplied the surrounding villages, which was evident from the number of merchants and craftsmen in the area: For example, in 1805 there were 17 rope makers, 43 tailors, 40 shoemakers, 32 bakers and 37 carpenters among the 2300 inhabitants (Master and journeyman added together). More than 40 shopkeepers looked after the population. The importance of shipping can be seen from the fact that there were a total of 71 skippers and helmsmen on their own or third-party ships, not including the simpler nautical professions.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Weener's economic development stagnated. With the Peace of Tilsit , when Prussia ceded its territories west of the Elbe to Napoleon in 1807 , the decline intensified. The place belonged to the Kingdom of Holland until 1810 and then to the French Ems-Occidental department for about three years . Although Weener was liberated in 1813 and became the property of Hanover, the place did not recover. Trade and shipping continued to decline and the port became deserted.

From the Kingdom of Hanover to the German Empire (1815 to 1918)

Even when the town came back to Prussia in 1866, there was initially no economic improvement. It was not until 1876 that Weener was connected to the railway line between Emden and Münster with the construction of the railway line from Leer to Nieuweschans . The Ems was not deep enough for large shipping , other cities such as Emden and Leer benefited from the Dortmund-Ems Canal .

In 1885, Weener became the seat of the Weener district , which was newly founded as part of the Prussian district reform and included the Rheiderland region. The previous office structure taken over by the Kingdom of Hanover was thus dissolved.

The city of Weener remained a center of the cattle trade in East Frisia. Every year around 3500 to 4000 head of Rheiderland cattle were sold by Weeneraner traders to other areas of Germany and sometimes beyond. Weener was also a center of the butter trade far beyond the borders of East Frisia. In the 1880s butter was also delivered to England , and with the advancing industrialization of Germany, domestic demand increased. Westphalia in particular , but also the northern German Hanseatic cities, were a preferred sales area. The agricultural boom was also improved by the use of artificial fertilizers - initially viewed with skepticism by many farmers . In order to convince the farmers of their commitment, special courses were given at agricultural schools on how to use the “ dung substitute ”.

Throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century there were great social and economic differences between rich large farmers and poor farm workers. Reports from farm workers state that the working days lasted from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m., interrupted by a one and a half hour lunch break. The farm workers often slept with the cattle in the stable if they did not have their own (and if they did, usually a very poor) little house. Already at the age of 13, immediately after attending school, the offspring were referred to farmers via so-called “ servants ”. Alcoholism was also widespread, along with other health problems .

Weimar Republic and National Socialism

In 1929 Weener received city rights and the population, which at that time was around 4,000, slowly increased. In 1932, the Weener district was dissolved by an ordinance of the Prussian State Ministry and merged with the Leer district.

The National Socialists founded a local branch of the NSDAP at the end of 1930 and began targeted propaganda work in Weener through the SA from November of that year . In the run-up to the local elections in 1933, after house searches, communists and members of other left-wing parties were arrested. The day before the election, bans on speech and assembly were issued. The local NSDAP group was deeply divided at the time, so that it was not possible to draw up a common list. The National Unity group and the Buisenga battle list, for example , ran National Socialist election programs and together achieved an overwhelming majority in the local elections. The first official act of the new councilors was the appointment of Adolf Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg as honorary citizens of the city of Weener. Norderstrasse was renamed Adolf-Hitler-Strasse and Westerstrasse was renamed Hindenburgstrasse . The persecution of political opponents was intensified by a new wave of arrests. The communists and their sympathizers were taken into protective custody and sent to various concentration camps . The Reichsbanner Black-Red-Gold alliance, dominated by Social Democrats , dissolved.

Carl Röver

NSDAP Gauleiter Carl Röver from Oldenburg dissolved the NSDAP local group Weener for one day in 1933 by subordinating it to the local group Leer. In order to check their "unreserved" support for the National Socialist state, all officials of the Weener city administration had to stand in the town hall and fill out a membership form for the NSDAP. The mayor Werner, who had been in office since 1925, was forced into retirement. He was succeeded by Enno Klinkenborg from Dorenberg.

Supplement to the Ostfriesische Tageszeitung from July 20, 1935: "Purely German shops in Leer". A similar overview was also published for Weener.

On March 28, 1933, Anton Bleeker , the SA-Standartenführer in Aurich (from July 1934 for Oldenburg-Ostfriesland), issued a ban on slaughter in all East Frisian slaughterhouses and ordered all slaughter knives to be burned. From 1935 the cattle market in Weener was monitored so that no Jewish trader took advantage of it. This worsened the economic situation of the Jewish companies. In the same year, on July 20, the Ostfriesische Tageszeitung published the appeal “People's comrades, do not buy in the following Jewish shops” and listed all Jewish shops still in existence in the towns of East Frisia. 23 Jewish shops were named for Weener, two thirds of them were in the cattle trade, six as butchers.

On the night of November 9-10, 1938, riots against the Jews, ordered by the Reich leadership of the National Socialists, took place in Weener, which were later referred to as "Reichskristallnacht", "Reichspogromnacht" or November pogroms 1938 . National Socialists destroyed the synagogue during the Night of the Reichspogrom and arrested the Weeneraner Jews. After the November pogroms, the Jewish community in Weener quickly dissolved. In September 1939, 37 people of Jewish faith were still living in Weener.

Of the 131 Jews who lived in Weener in 1933, 12 died there of natural causes, 24 emigrated to countries of exile overseas, 16 of them to South America. Three Jews who fled to the Netherlands also survived the Holocaust. At least 48 were killed in concentration camps or during deportations. The fate of the rest is unknown.

post war period

In the immediate post-war period, the district of Leer was the most heavily populated of the three East Frisian districts with refugees from the East, because - in contrast to 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 situation was completely different in the different parts of the city: While in the municipality of St. Georgiwold 45 percent of the inhabitants were refugees from the east due to the assumed agricultural performance, the proportion was lower in the municipalities shaped by the moor.

Friesenbrücke from 1950/1951 with an opened hinged section, which was destroyed by a ship in December 2015

The isolated location of the Rheiderland through the dividing Ems was made even worse in the first post-war years when the Friesenbrücke bridge was blown up in the last days of the war. To get to Leer, a detour via Haren in the Emsland had to be accepted, where there was a makeshift bridge over the Ems. Since the roads through the Emsland were often still for no reason at that time, transports to Leer on the opposite bank of the river were almost a day's journey. The Friesenbrücke was only rebuilt in 1950/1951 and, in addition to the track, also received a footpath and cycle path. The destruction of the bridge by a freighter made headlines across Germany at the end of 2015. The construction of a new bridge over the Ems, which connects the Dutch Groningen with the German Leer via rail, will take at least until 2021.

During the development of the German Armed Forces , Weener became the location of a larger material depot from 1957, into which a telecommunications company moved in 1958, which comprised 350 soldiers and was stationed there until 1969. In those years Weener was a garrison town. The German Navy began building another material depot in 1968, which over the following years, together with the already existing depot, developed into Weener's largest employer. In the 1960s, the city's infrastructure was also significantly expanded, above all through the waterworks that opened in 1963, which replaced the cistern supply that was still often found up to then , and in 1969 through the construction of the Rheiderland secondary school. Since then, the school auditorium has also been used as a theater for the city.

The city's infrastructure has been expanded since the municipal reform. A new senior citizen center for the Rheiderland was built in the 1970s. Investments in leisure and recreational facilities that spanned several years enabled a turn to tourism, which has since become an additional pillar of the local economy. While the larger traditional Weeneran companies Baumschulen Hesse and the pudding factory Polak had to close their gates in the 1990s , other established companies such as Weener Plastik , the Klingele paper mill and the components manufacturer Wildeboer grew significantly and together employ a large three-digit number of employees in the 15,000-inhabitant city. The construction of the federal motorway 31 on the section between Papenburg via Weener to Leer in the period from 1989 to 1991, including the Emst tunnel completed at that time, was of great importance for the traffic connection of Weener . The final completion of the entire route of the A 31 in 2004 also contributed to improving the transport connections to Weener.


On January 1, 1973, the city of Weener and the seven surrounding municipalities of Beschotenweg, Diele, Holthusen, Kirchborgum, St. Georgiwold, Stapelmoor, Vellage and Weenermoor merged to form the city of Weener. The earlier parishes mentioned retained their own local councils, which deal with purely local matters.

Population development

Weener is the largest of the three municipalities that make up the Rheiderland. With more than 15,500 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2017) it is the fifth largest municipality in the district of Leer after the district town and the rural communities of Moormerland , Westoverledingen and Rhauderfehn . In East Frisia, Weener is the tenth largest municipality and the sixth largest of the ten cities. Within the district of Leer, it is one of three cities alongside Leer and Borkum .

Relatively reliable population figures for East Frisia have been available since the beginning of the first Prussian rule (1744). The city , which remained largely unscathed during the Second World War , took in a large number of displaced persons , which resulted in a further increase in the population. A further increase in 1973 meant the incorporation of surrounding municipalities.

The mark of 15,000 inhabitants was exceeded for the first time in 1996.

Population development in Weener from 1821 to 2017
year Residents a
1821 2,345
1848 2,991
1871 3,209
1885 3,724
1905 3,872
1919 3,678
1933 4,290
year Residents
1939 4,338
1946 5,635
1950 5,966
1956 5,357
1960 5,461
1961 5,461
1970 5,667
year Residents
1980 14,115
1990 14,320
2006 15,762
2010 15,710
2015 15,510
2017 15,578
a until 1960, 1961 and 1970, from 1980

4.4% of Weener's residents have a Dutch passport . In absolute numbers this means that almost 700 Dutch people live in Weener. This can be explained by the significantly lower property prices in East Frisia compared to the neighboring country. Commuting is easy thanks to the good traffic connection via the A 280 / Rijksweg 7 .

Development of the place name

In the elevation registers of Werden monastery, the place was mentioned in Uuianheri in the 10th century . In 10./11. Century Weener was written in documents Uuenari . The name in Wenre has come down to us for 1282 . The current name has been common since 1460.

The base word of the place name is derived from the Old Frisian here or the Old Low German hara , the meaning of which is indicated with hill. In addition, the Indo-European root uei- or ui , which has several meanings, was used as a defining word . For Weener, forest , wild , trunk or consecration are possible . The place name is to be interpreted either as a wooded hill or as a consecrated hill .


Like the entire Rheiderland (and East Frisia as a whole), Weener is a traditional stronghold of the SPD during elections. The social democrats also provide members of the state parliament. Since the district of Leer forms a federal constituency with the northern part of the Catholic Emsland, a CDU member usually moves into the Bundestag.

Within the urban area there are some pronounced strongholds of the two people's parties, the CDU and the SPD, which have been evident since the beginning of the Federal Republic. The Christian Democrats have the clearest dominance in St. Georgiwold, which is still characterized by agriculture and individual farms. In contrast, the former farm workers' settlements Beschotenweg, Möhlenwarf and Tichelwarf have been SPD strongholds for decades. In the above-mentioned localities, the parties mentioned regularly prevailed in the first two decades of the Federal Republic's existence. In the core town of Weener with its commercial structure, the CDU dominated the federal elections for the first twenty years (until 1969) and only became a record result in the "Willy Brandt election" in East Friesland and the penetration into some of the previous CDU bastions provided, replaced by the Social Democrats. In the early years of the Federal Republic of Germany, the CDU also benefited from the fact that it was organized faster and more thoroughly in the Leer district than in the other East Frisian districts. At the latest since 1972 or since the amalgamation of the municipalities to form the city of Weener in 1973, the urban area has been dominated by the SPD in its entirety.

In 2008, the then Mayor of Weener, Wilhelm Dreesmann, initiated a discussion in Rheiderland about the merger of the three Rheiderland municipalities (city of Weener, municipalities of Bunde and Jemgum). Corresponding proposals had already been made in the past. The initiative was justified with possible financial advantages through mergers and savings, but also through greater scope for design in certain municipal political areas, for example when planning school catchment areas. However, this also met with criticism and skepticism.

City council

Former office building in Weener

The council of the city of Weener consists of 32 council women and councilors. This is the specified number for a city with a population between 15,001 and 20,000. The 32 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 Ludwig Sonnenberg is also entitled to vote in the city council.

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

Political party Proportional votes Number of seats Change voices
SPD 47.6% 15th + 2.9%
CDU 22.6% 7th +1.4%
Alternative for Germany (AfD) 7.4% 2 + 7.4%
Independent voter community (UWG) 7.3% 2 −11.2%
Alliance 90 / The Greens 5.5% 2 −4.2%
Together for Weener (GfW) 5.3% 2 + 5.3%
Social Group Weener 1.5% 1 −1.5%
The Frisians 1.4% 1 +1.4%

In the local elections on September 11, 2016, no party obtained an absolute majority. While the voters of the Independent Voting Community and the Greens suffered heavy losses, the alternative for Germany and the voters group Together for Weener , who ran for the first time, were the winners of the election, and to a lesser extent the SPD, CDU and the Frisians. The turnout was 52.7% and thus slightly below the Lower Saxony average of 55.5%.


The full-time mayor of the city of Weener is Ludwig Sonnenberg (non-party). In the last mayoral election on May 25, 2014, he was able to prevail in the first ballot with 56.6% of the votes against three opposing candidates. The turnout was 52.8%. Sonnenberg took up his post on November 1, 2014, replacing his predecessor Wilhelm Dreesmann, who was no longer a candidate.

Representatives in the Land and Bundestag

Weener belongs to the state constituency of Leer / Borkum . 15 parties ran for the state elections in Lower Saxony in 2017 . Five of them had put up direct candidates. The directly elected MP is Johanne Modder ( SPD ).

Weener 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 representatives of the CDU have prevailed as direct candidates in this constituency. The constituency is represented in the Bundestag by the directly elected CDU MP Gitta Connemann from Leer. No party candidate from the constituency entered the Bundestag via the parties' list.

coat of arms

Weener coat of arms
Blazon : "In blue on golden flames covered with diagonally crossed black logs, a silver phoenix in the upper half, red, golden armed and red tongued phoenix below."
Reasons for the coat of arms: The Phoenix commemorates the pillage during the Thirty Years War and the resurgence of the city. The colors blue, white and red are also the city colors of Weener, which in this order from top to bottom and in equal parts cross-striped form the city flag.

Town twinning

Weener has so far entered into city ​​partnerships with the French Les Pieux and the Finnish municipality Eurajoki . Both partnerships were sealed on July 15, 1992. Mutual visits are the rule. The Franco-German Friends of Rheiderland, founded in 2005, take care of the friendship with Les Pieux.


Catholic St. Joseph Church
Weener Baptist Church

Like the entire Rheiderland, the city of Weener is shaped by Calvinism . Most parishes belong to the Evangelical Reformed Church . Only in the district of Weener is there a Lutheran congregation . The Roman Catholic community and the Evangelical Free Church Community ( Baptists ), the Ev. Community Weener and a Pentecostal community have their seat. A Jewish community has not existed since the time of National Socialism . Figures on Muslim residents are not available. The closest mosques are in Emden ( Eyup Sultan Mosque ) and Papenburg .


The city of Weener, like the entire Rheiderland, is predominantly Protestant reformed . There are reformed parishes in the districts of Weener (core city), Kirchborgum, Möhlenwarf, Holthusen, Vellage, Weenermoor and Stapelmoor. The Georgskirche in the old town center was built on the highest point of the town. In the course of the Reformation , the church probably became Protestant in 1528. The first pastor was Johannes Schulten, who worked in Weener from 1524 to 1562 and was still sent to the city as a Catholic priest, but soon joined the new faith. In the period between 1560 and 1592, nine vicars served in Weener, but they had to leave the place again due to their low income and poverty. In the age of Pietism , the church historian Eduard Meiners (1717–1723) and his successor Wilhelmus Schortinghuis (1723–1734) were influential with his doctrine of the state of mind . Henricus Klugkist , who was pastor in Weener from 1706 to 1746 and whose tombstone is in the church, worked at the same time . Klugkist's way of life and faith seemed authentic and convincing to many, so that church life flourished and the church was able to employ a second pastor. Samuel Eilshelmius was Klugkist's successor from 1749 to 1787 and also a Pietist. At the end of the 19th century, at the time of Superintendent Reemt Peters Wolbertus Smidt (1840-1927), Weener had a comparatively high attendance at services of 30-50% compared to the rest of East Frisia, so that the church had to be expanded considerably. The Reformed parish in the urban area of ​​Weener today has around 3700 members. Since 1956 a parish hall has been available for church events, parish matters and administration.

The Catholic community is the only one in the Rheiderland and therefore looks after all Catholics in this region. Its single-nave church was built in 1842/43 according to plans by the architect Mecklenburg. It is dedicated to Saint Joseph .

The Evangelical Lutheran congregation is one of Weener's young churches. The laying of the foundation stone for their Church of the Savior did not take place until September 21, 1952. It was officially constituted after a lengthy legal dispute with the Reformed regional church on October 1, 1955. Until then, the Lutheran Weeneraner received pastoral care from the parishes in Bingum, Holtgaste, Leer and Pogum, among others. Stapelmoor also belongs to the district of the Evangelical Lutheran parish of Weener.

The Evangelical Free Church Congregation with meeting houses in Weener and Möhlenwarf is one of the oldest Baptist congregations in East Frisia. Its beginnings go back to a Christian baptism carried out by Julius Köbner in 1846. The place of baptism was the so-called Lotts Tilke at Weeneraner Tief. The Baptist pioneers Johann Ludwig Hinrichs and Peter Johannes de Neui were involved in the development of the community. The first preacher of the congregation was the mission worker Johann Carl Cramer , who came from Markt Berolzheim in Bavaria , but who only worked for a short time and was expelled from the city by the authorities as early as 1850 as an "undesirable foreigner". When he left Weener, the congregation, which was still run as a station of the Baptist Congregation , had already grown to 50 baptized members. In 1880 the first church in the community, whose original shape can no longer be recognized today due to additions and renovations, was handed over to its intended purpose. Until then, they had gathered in a private house. In 1896, the Weener Baptist Church became independent. In addition to its community work in Weener and its Möhlenwarf district, the community has also been running the Jona kindergarten since 2000 .

In addition to the Baptists, the Riverside Church Rheiderland ( Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden ) in Weener works as a further free church . The Ev. Community works in cooperation with the EC-Weener. The Jehovah's Witnesses are also present in Weener with a Kingdom Hall.


Gravestones in the Jewish cemetery in Graf-Edzard-Strasse

The Jewish community in Weener existed from the 17th century until April 7, 1942. Jews first settled in the village towards the end of the Thirty Years' War. In relation to the population of the place, they represented one of the highest percentage of the population in East Friesland, in 1925 the proportion was 3.5% of the total population of Weener. After 1933 the exclusion and persecution of the Jews began. Many emigrated. At least 48 Jewish residents were murdered in the Holocaust. After the Second World War, only one returned Jew lived in Weener. Today there is no longer a Jewish community in Weener. Memorial sites and three Jewish cemeteries still bear witness to Jewish life in the city .

Culture and sights

Museums and theaters

Weener local history museum, formerly the poor house

Weener is the seat of the Rheiderland Local History Museum , which is housed in the former poor house built in 1791. It shows the development history of the region from the Stone Age to the present day. One focus is on economic history and, above all, on brickworks and agriculture. The most important exhibit is the 16th century altarpiece of the oldest church in the Rheiderland, the Liudgeri Church in Jemgum- Holtgaste .

The Organeum is a cultural and educational center to which a museum with historical and replica keyboard instruments is attached. The seat is an upper-class neo-Gothic town villa on Norderstrasse. It is managed by Winfried Dahlke and supported by the Ostfrieslandstiftung der Ostfriesische Landschaft and the Landschaftliche Brandkasse , the Evangelical Reformed Church in Weener and the city of Weener. The instrument collection includes cabinet organs , harpsichords , clavichords , pianos, a physharmonica and harmonies and aims to make the different instruments and their history clear to a broad public. In addition, the Organeum is the organizational center for concerts, guided tours, master courses, advanced training, tourist excursions and a venue for various cultural events.

In the district of Weenermoor is the only fire brigade museum in the district of Leer. It is housed in an old fire station that was built around 1929/1930. After a new fire station was built in Weenermoor in 1969, it fell into disrepair, so that it was demolished in 1996. From February 1997 it was rebuilt in the same place and has housed the museum ever since.

Weener is the venue of the Landesbühne Niedersachsen Nord , which is based in Wilhelmshaven . It is played in the auditorium of the Rheiderland district secondary school , as Weener does not have its own theater building. This auditorium is also used by local amateur theaters and for other events.

Churches and organs

Georgskirche from the southwest

The Evangelical Reformed Church was built as a brick church around 1230 and rebuilt several times over the centuries. Only remains of the original apse can be seen. In 1462 the polygonal choir was built . The interior was destroyed during the city fire in 1492. The tower was erected in 1738 on the opposite side of the street. Since the attempt in 1765 to support the choir vault with a mighty buttress failed, a wooden barrel vault was installed in the nave , which was extended to the choir in 1780. The supporting consoles for the choir vault can still be seen. The parish room was enlarged with part of the choir, as can be seen in the one window immediately next to the organ that is cut by the barrel. Because the congregation room was too small, part of the congregation had until then had to watch the service while sitting behind the organ. The Gothic rood screen was demolished, the organ was moved back towards the choir in 1782 and the triumphal arch was performed on the new border between the parish and choir behind the organ. In 1893 the church on the north side was expanded into its current T-shape with a transept . The renaissance pulpit and supper table date from the first half of the 17th century, while the stalls are baroque . The Vasa Sacra include cups from the 17th to 19th centuries as well as two bread plates each from 1844 and 1903. Some art-historically noteworthy gravestones are in the church and in the original churchyard outside.

Organ of the Georgskirche

The organ of the Reformed Church is the most valuable piece of furniture. It is a late work by Arp Schnitger from 1710, in which his sons were already involved. After an eventful history with various alterations and restorations, it now has 29  registers on two manuals and pedal . The curved pedal towers in rococo style come from Johann Friedrich Wenthin and offer a peculiar overall picture with the strictly kept baroque manual works. Although only six Schnitger registers were preserved, the organ builder Jürgen Ahrend succeeded in the final restoration phase (1978–1983) with a technically and sonically convincing overall concept based on the ideal of the Schnitger sound. The reconstruction of the manual reeds using comparable registers in other Schnitger organs is considered particularly masterful.

The Catholic Church of St. Joseph was built in 1842/1943 in the style of romantic historicism . The Baptist Church was founded in 1846, and the first chapel was built in 1880. The new chapel from 1956 was expanded in two construction phases in 1981/1982. The foundation stone for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer was laid in 1952. After legal disputes with the Reformed Church, the church could not be inaugurated until 1955.

Kreuzkirche in Stapelmoor

There are two Romano-Gothic churches outside the city center . The Vellager Church goes back to a hall church from the 13th century, after which the small arched windows and dentil frieze point. The tower was added in the 14th century. During the Gothic period, the church underwent some renovations. The organ of the Rohlfing Brothers was made in 1885–1888. The Stapelmoor church in the shape of a Greek cross without right angles dates from around 1300 and is considered to be one of the most important sacred buildings in East Frisia. Compared to the architecturally similar cruciform church in Bunde , the church in Stapelmoor was spared any major alterations. The outer structure is kept uniform and relatively simple, with pointed arched windows and portals, console friezes under the eaves and stair friezes on the transverse gables, a west tower with a gable roof and the usual triplet window on the east side. Inside, the east and west yokes have eight-rib domical vaults , while the three transept yokes are closed off with dome vaults without ribs. Originally preserved are the ceiling paintings with mythical creatures, geometric symbols and plant ornaments. The font made of Bentheim sandstone was designed in the 13th century and the pulpit was made around 1600. In 1994 Bartelt Immer , Reinalt Johannes Klein and Claude Jaccard installed a replica of the Louis-Alexandre Clicquot organ (1734) with 23 registers on three manuals behind the organ's prospectus from 1848 , the first organ in Germany in a consistently baroque French style Style.

In the course of the peat colonization advancing westward in St. Georgiwold and Weenermoor , the villages with their churches moved with them. The church in Weenermoor from 1824 is already the third church in the village, as the two previous buildings were abandoned. The pneumatic Rohlfing organ from 1906 has been completely preserved. The St. Georgiwolder Church was built as a brick church for the first time in 1689, but without foundations, so that it had to be rebuilt in 1960. The small organ from the Jehmlich company dates from the 1970s. The Kirchborgum church in the classicism style dates from 1827, while the tower (1766) still comes from the previous church. The small organ by the Rohlfs brothers (1876–1878) has largely been preserved. The first church was built in Holthusen in 1882 after large donations made it possible to build it. When the church was used as a cinema for Canadian soldiers during World War II , the organ fell victim to vandalism. In 1970, the Alfred Führer company built a new factory behind Johann Diepenbrock's prospectus . The Reformed parish in Möhlenwarf was only founded in 1905 and received its current church in 1908.

Secular buildings

The Kaakebogen
Fronehaus with renaissance

The Weeners harbor basin was laid out around 1570, but has been rebuilt several times over the centuries. The port is no longer used for cargo handling operations, it serves as a leisure port and is tide-independent thanks to the lock . There are town houses and warehouses at the port.

In addition to the churches, a large number of town houses from earlier centuries have been preserved in Weener. In particular, on Norderstrasse, the main street in the old town, there are architecturally outstanding buildings. This includes the Fronehaus on Norderstrasse 19. The single-storey brick building is inscribed and dated to 1660. The street front was removed in 1965 and then reconstructed. In the course of the building work, the house was shortened; the cross-frame windows were restored. A single-storey gabled house from 1719 is located at Norderstraße 56. It has a curved gable, the verge of which is decorated with lavish foliage and flowers.

The former poor house, which is used as a local museum, is located on Neue Straße. It is a three-wing complex that is open to the street and dates from 1791. The masonry is structured by flat pilasters . The cattle dealer Hesse also built a neo-Gothic villa from the 19th century on Neue Straße (number 12) . It has crenellated turrets, pointed arches and a monumental entrance. The building is used by the Organeum . Another, albeit smaller, neo-Gothic villa is located at Süderstrasse 18.

Galerieholländer windmills are located in the Stapelmoor and Möhlenwarf districts. The mill in Möhlenwarf ceased operations in 1972 and has been used by Karl Dall as a second home since that year . The comedian, who lives in Hamburg-Eppendorf, sold the mill to a private person in 2010. The oldest authentically dated town house in East Friesland is the stone house in Stapelmoor. It dates from 1429 and was used as the apartment of the local pastor or canon from the start.

The Kaakebogen at the Georgskirche, built in rococo style, used to separate the ecclesiastical and secular areas of the Weeneraner market. It was restored in 1984. The Kaake is a former market and court square at the traffic junction Leer-Holland-Westphalia. Cattle and horse markets were held here. In the Middle Ages, lawbreakers were pilloried on the square in front of the arch .


Distribution area of ​​the East Frisian Platt

In Weener, East Frisian Platt is spoken in addition to Standard German . At least among adults, Platt is an everyday language. The city promotes - also with the support of the Plattdütskbüro der Ostfriesische Landschaft - the use and thus the preservation of the Low German.


Several sports clubs are located in the city center, including TuS Weener, Angelsportverein Rheiderland, surfing and canoeing club Rheiderland, sailing club Weener and equestrian club Weener. Since 1972 there has been a local group of the DLRG in Weener with almost 900 members (2010). TuS Weener is the largest association in the city and has more than 1100 members. About 760 of them belong to the gymnastics department, which makes this division of TuS the largest gymnastics department in the Leer district. The universal sports club, founded in 1885, also offers football, tennis, swimming, volleyball, basketball, badminton, martial arts and health sports. In addition, the TuS is the only club in the Rheiderland to have an athletics department. The TuS Weener has a joint handball department with the TV Bunde, which runs under the name HSG Weener / Bunde.

Furthermore, several districts have their own clubs, most of which have several departments. Mention should be made of Teutonia Stapelmoor, Heidjer SV (Stapelmoorerheide), TuS Holthusen and the Sportfreunde Möhlenwarf. There is a chess club in Holthusen and a rifle club in Diele. In the city of Weener, as in all of East Friesland, Boßeln is played as a league sport.

With the Friesenbad, the city ​​has a public outdoor pool. It was built in 1972 and renovated in 2009 at a cost of 1.5 million euros. There has been a cooperation with the Klingele paper mill since 2003, which supplies the pool with district heating through an underground pipeline. However, there is no indoor swimming pool in Weener, the closest ones are in Bunde, Leer and Papenburg.

Regular events

The DLRG local group Weener organizes a dragon boat race every summer in the old harbor. The shooting festival takes place in Weener in autumn. Not an organized event, but an event that attracts hundreds of onlookers to the Weeneraner Emsdeich every time, are the transfers of the cruise ships of the Meyer Werft up the ems. An annual metalcore festival called “Free For All” has been organized in Stapelmoorer Park since 2006 , with around 6,000 to 7,000 visitors. Michaelismarkt, one of the oldest markets in the region, takes place at the end of September.

Economy and Infrastructure

Commercial areas are located north of the city center on federal highway 436 and at the Papenburg motorway junction (Rheiderland business park) . There is a 380 kV substation in the Diele district. This is where the HVDC cable, which comes from offshore wind farms in the German Exclusive Economic Zone in the North Sea, ends . The 380 kV Ems overhead line crossing runs across the Ems .

The outer areas of the urban area are used for agriculture. The is dairy farming predominates. In the district of Halte there are several nurseries, whose large greenhouses shape the townscape. Due to the frequent and strong winds and not least because of the thin settlement, the northern outer areas of the urban area are suitable for the use of wind energy . Accordingly, there are wind farms west of Weenermoor and north of the core city .


In the service sector, retail in the city center is important. Nevertheless, due to the location disadvantages compared to the district town of Leer, there are noticeable losses here and consequently temporary business closings. On the other hand, tourism has become an important pillar of the local economy. Particular mention should be made here of boat tourism along the Ems. Most of the tourist infrastructure is located on the left bank of the river: Marina (274 berths, 40,000 m² port area, 20 t lifting crane, petrol station, etc.), camping site, RV parking spaces and the outdoor pool with other connected leisure facilities. On November 26, 2010, Lower Saxony's Minister of Economic Affairs, Jörg Bode, awarded the city the title “State-approved resort”. With the mills in the city area, the municipality is on the tourist themed route Niedersächsische Mühlenstraße . A cycle themed route was opened in 2010, which has the ship overpasses of Meyer Werft as the theme (cruise route) .

As of June 30, 2006, a total of 4154 employees subject to social insurance were registered in Weener. The number of jobs subject to social insurance contributions in the city area was 2535 on the same reference date. Weener is an out- commuter municipality : As of June 30, 2006, there were 1301 commuters from other municipalities compared to 2920 commuters from Weener. This results in a negative commuter balance of 1619. In addition to companies in the city of Leer, the Meyer shipyard in Papenburg is also a destination for commuters.

Data on unemployment in the city of Weener itself are not collected. In the Emden-Leer division of the Employment Agency, the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in October 2018. It was 0.3 percentage points above the Lower Saxony average.


There are farms on the outskirts of Weener. Because of the soil conditions, dairy farming predominates. Due to the fact that the proportion of agricultural land is only slightly below average compared to the whole of East Frisia, this contributes to a certain extent to the fact that the district of Leer is one of the ten largest milk-producing districts in Germany. For some years now, dairy farmers have suffered from an often low and highly fluctuating price for milk and milk products. Individual farmers earn additional money by installing wind turbines or biogas systems. In the district of Halte there is a large gardening settlement that was created for displaced persons after the Second World War. To this day, the greenhouse cultivation in Halt plays an important role and shapes the townscape. Individual farmers produce according to organic guidelines.

Established businesses

Old Weener Plastik production hall on Marker Weg

Weener has a small number of industrial operations, including the packaging manufacturer Weener Plastic Packaging Group , which was founded in 1960 and which was taken over by the US company Lindsay Goldberg Vogel in 2012. Around 450 of a total of 2000 employees work there. "Weener Plastik", as the company is called for short, is the largest private employer in the city and the entire Rheiderland, as well as one of the larger employers in the Leer district. Another industrial employer is the Klingele paper factory , which was founded in Wiesloch in 1920 and took over a plant in Weener in 1961. The plant produces corrugated cardboard and has around 100 employees. The paper mill draws heat and in some cases also electricity for the production process from the Weener RDF power plant, which was completed in 2008 . The component manufacturer Wildeboer, which has its headquarters in Weener and also representatives in Ulm and Leipzig, also employs a three-digit number of employees (175). The company is active in the field of noise and fire protection as well as air distribution. Other companies in the handicrafts and trade primarily serve the local supply.

Public facilities

In Weener's public facilities there is the city administration with its affiliated public companies such as the building yard, a police station and the Rheiderland hospital (66 beds). It is 51% owned by the Leer District Hospital and 49% owned by a hospital association that had the clinic built at the end of the 19th century. The Rheiderland water supply association, a corporation under public law , is based in Weener. There the WVV, which has 20 employees, also operates the waterworks. The entire Rheiderland including the Leer district of Bingum is supplied. At the beginning of 2011, the Bundeswehr material warehouse employed a total of 40 people. The former naval depot was at times the city's largest employer. In addition, the Bundeswehr has been running a training workshop at Landsburg 1 since 1961 . There is also a branch of the Leer community college.

Weener has lost public facilities in the past few decades. After the district headquarters were lost through the merger with the district of Leer (1932), the branch office of the district administration, which had been maintained until then, was also dissolved in 1971. In 1972 the Weener District Court was closed. Since then, the responsible district court has been in the neighboring town of Leer. The tax office and other authorities such as the land registry office can also be found in Leer. A rescue station is available in the immediate vicinity of the hospital. She is always ready for use with an ambulance. Another rescue station for the Rheiderland, which is on duty 24 hours a day, is located in Bunde for geographical reasons, because the northern Rheiderland can be reached more quickly from there. The fire brigade in the city is organized on a voluntary basis. There are volunteer fire brigades in the city center as well as in Weenermoor, Holthusen, Stapelmoor, Diele and Vellage.



Traffic axes in East Friesland: The city of Weener (lower center) has rail and motorway connections.

The federal motorway A 31 runs along the city limits between Weener and Bunde. Weener is interested in three motorway junctions. The most important one is the Weener / Bunde junction , which connects the city center. In the south of the urban area is the Papenburg junction in the extreme north and the Jemgum junction in the northeast . The Weener motorway triangle, which connects the A 280 with the A 31, is located on the border between Weener and Bunde. The A 280 ensures the connection to the Dutch A 7 in the direction of Groningen and is part of the European route 22 .

The federal road B 436 begins in Weener at the junction Weener / Bunde of the A 31 and leads via Leer to Sande . The state road L 17 begins on the B 436 in the Möhlenwarf district and leads in a south-westerly direction via Wymeer to the Dutch border. The L 31 begins on the B 436 near the city center and heads south to Rhede ; it is also the most important inner-city connection to connect the southern parts of the city to the core city. The district road 158 branches off from the L 31 in Diele and leads over the Emsbrücke to Papenburg. It is the next road crossing of the Ems south of the Jann-Berghaus-Brücke and connects Papenburg with its industrial and port companies with the A 31.

The Deutsche Bahn subsidiary Weser-Ems-Bus (WEB) operates several public transport lines that connect Weener with the surrounding area: Line 620 runs from Leer via Weener to Bunde and on to Bad Nieuweschans in the Netherlands . Line 624 begins in Leer and leads via Weener to Kanalpolder am Dollart. From Marienchor in the northern neighboring municipality of Jemgum , the 631 bus goes to Weener. It connects the north-western districts of the city. The bus route 632 runs from the city center through the southern districts to Wymeer near the Dutch border. Weener is connected to Papenburg by bus route 641, which begins in Bunde . While line 620 (Leer-Nieuweschans) runs every hour, the other lines are geared towards the needs of school traffic. On the nights from Friday to Saturday and from Saturday to Sunday there is also a night bus to Leer and back. In order to connect those parts of the city with limited time and / or space availability, a dial-a-bus system was introduced, which is available Monday to Friday from 7.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

By the municipality of Weener perform the cycle paths Dortmund-Ems canal route , a 350 km long and virtually gradient-free cycle path running of the Ruhr area with the North Sea coast combines; the North Sea Coast Cycle Path (EV12) meets the Dortmund-Ems Canal and then runs together with the Dortmund-Ems Canal Route or the Dollard Route to Emden. The North Sea Cycle Route is an international cycle route through six North Sea countries. It was opened in 2001 as EuroVelo cycle route no.12. The German part corresponds to D-Route  1 and is around 905 kilometers long.


Aerial view of Weener station
Weener train station platform with Arriva train

Weener station is on the Leer – Groningen railway line . The railway line is not electrified and is used by diesel railcars . There is a connection to the national intercity long-distance traffic in Leer with connections in the direction of Bremen / Hanover and Münster / Cologne.

The Friesenbrücke , the longest German rail bascule bridge, is an important railway engineering structure . The fixed middle section above the so-called inland waterway passage was unhooked at the passages of the cruise ships of the Meyer shipyard upstream and used again after the passage. When a freighter collided with the closed bridge on the evening of December 3, 2015, the foldable segment was completely destroyed, making the bridge impassable. So that trains can cross the Ems again, the bridge has to be replaced by a new building. The continuous rail traffic between Weener and Leer will be interrupted until at least autumn 2024. The trains towards Groningen currently start and end in Weener. In the direction of Leer there is rail replacement service from Weener with buses .

Air traffic

The nearest airport is in Leer , the nearest international airport with scheduled flights is in Bremen . The even closer Groningen Airport also offers international charter flights to holiday regions. The port of Weener is no longer relevant for the handling of goods. It serves as a leisure harbor and has been expanded to include a marina .


Weener is home to the Rheiderland-Zeitung , a small, independent daily newspaper that has a circulation of around 5500 copies in the Rheiderland . There is also a branch of the Leer district editorial office of the Ostfriesen-Zeitung in the city. The two daily newspapers are supplemented by the advertising papers Der Wecker , Der Wecker am Wednesday , Sonntags-Report and Neue Zeitung, which appear in Leer and are distributed free of charge on various days of the week . The city is also located in the broadcasting area of ​​the citizens' radio station Radio Ostfriesland , the next studio is in Leer.


In Weener there are five primary schools in the city center, in Holthusen, Stapelmoor, Stapelmoorerheide and Möhlenwarf. There is also a secondary school (Phönixschule) , the Karl-Bruns-Realschule and a school for learning support . The nearest high schools are in Leer ( Ubbo-Emmius-Gymnasium and Teletta-Groß-Gymnasium ), the attempted establishment of a gymnasium branch in Weener failed. Early childhood education is offered in five municipal institutions: kindergartens in Weener (Kernort), Holthusen, Möhlenwarf and Stapelmoor as well as a day nursery in Kernort. There is also a church kindergarten for Baptists in the city center. A branch of the community college of the district of Leer is located in Weener . The Organeum in Weener is a center for organological research and teaching. The closest university of applied sciences is the University of Applied Sciences Emden / Leer , the closest universities are in Oldenburg and across the border in Groningen .


Born in Weener

Hermann Onko Aeikens

A politician and an emeritus head of the church are among the well-known living Weenerans: Hermann Onko Aeikens (born September 21, 1951), was Minister for Agriculture and Environment of the State of Saxony-Anhalt from 2009 to 2016 and has been State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture since 2016. Jann Schmidt (born October 24, 1948) was the Church President of the Evangelical Reformed Church (Synod of Evangelical Reformed Churches in Bavaria and Northwest Germany) until 2013 . Other personalities born in Weener are:

  • Egbert Koolman (1938–2015), librarian and historian
  • Ewald Dreesmann (1940–1986), politician (SPD), MdL
  • Walter Hilbrands (* 1965), evangelical theologian, dean of the Free Theological University of Giessen
  • Marie Hoppe (* 1986), politician (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), from 2011 to 2015 member of the Bremen citizenship (MdBB)
  • Mareike Engels (* 1988), politician (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), member of the Hamburg parliament

One of the city's deceased sons is Anton Wübbena-Mecima (born October 31, 1920 in St. Georgiwold near Weener; † July 6, 2002 ibid), former member of the CDU state parliament in Hanover. Otto Buurman was a German doctor and health politician. The artist Erwine Esk was born in Weener in 1905.

Associated with Weener

The Baptist pastor August Friedrich Wilhelm Haese (born September 23, 1825 in Stettin , † December 12, 1912 in Weener) lived in Weener during the last years of his life. Hermann Conring (born November 4, 1894 in Aurich ; † February 9, 1989 in Weener), district administrator of the Leer district and later member of the CDU in the state and federal parliament, member of the NSDAP since 1938 during the Nazi era , is one of the most important, but also most controversial East Frisians in the 20th century. On his mother's side, he had connections to long-established Weeneran families and spent his old age in town.

The musician and composer Rafael Alfaro Kotte (born September 19, 1962 in Dortmund ; † September 16, 2005 in Freiburg im Breisgau ), spent his youth in Weener, as did the admiral, NATO commander (fleet chief) and Knight's Cross bearer Karl Smidt , (* August 30, 1903 Neuenhaus ; † January 11, 1984 in Flensburg ), who came from a pastor's family in the Rhineland. Furthermore:


The history of Weener deals with:

  • Aeil Risius: Weener (Ems) - History of the city in the Rheiderland . Verlag H. Risius, Weener 1983, ISBN 3-88761-011-3
  • Aeil Risius: The Rheiderland. Contributions to the local history of the old district Weener . Schuster, Leer 1974, ISBN 3-7963-0049-9 (reprint from Kiel 1930)

In addition, the following works, which deal with East Friesland in general, are also significant for the history and description of the city insofar as they illuminate individual aspects:

  • Heinrich Schmidt: Political history of East Frisia (= East Frisia in the protection of the dike , Volume 5). Rautenberg, Leer 1975, DNB 200446355 .
  • Wolfgang Schwarz: The prehistory in East Frisia . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1995, ISBN 3-7963-0323-4
  • Karl-Heinz Sindowski u. a .: Geological development of East Friesland (= East Friesland in the protection of the dike. Volume 1). Deichacht Krummhörn (ed.), Self-published, Pewsum 1969, DNB 457744375
  • Menno Smid : East Frisian Church History (= East Frisia in the protection of the dike , Volume 6). Self-published, Pewsum 1974, DNB 750347139
  • Harm Wiemann, Johannes Engelmann: Old ways and roads in East Friesland (= East Friesland in the protection of the dike , Volume 8). Self-published, Pewsum 1974, DNB 750347147

Web links

Commons : Weener  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Weener  - travel guide

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. For example on the official website of the city, Weener.de: Greetings from the mayor , accessed on November 2, 2018.
  3. www.landkreis-leer.de: Regional spatial planning program of the district of Leer 2006 , PDF file, p. 13 according to the original pagination, accessed on November 2, 2018.
  4. In the local literature, the ridge is referred to as an end moraine, see Weener.de: Development plan Jelsgaste , p. 15, accessed on November 2, 2018 (PDF).
  5. Information in this and the following paragraphs originate, unless otherwise referenced, from Heinz Voigt, Günter Roeschmann: Die Boden Ostfrieslands. In: Karl-Heinz Sindowski, Heinz Voigt, Günter Roeschmann, Peter Schmid, Waldemar Reinhardt, Harm Wiemann: Geology, Soils and Settlement of East Frisia . (= East Friesland under the protection of the dike. Volume 1). Verlag Deichacht Krummhörn, Pewsum 1969, pp. 51–106, here p. 96 and cartographic supplement.
  6. The information in this paragraph comes from: Theodor Janssen: Gewässerkunde Ostfrieslands . Verlag Ostfriesische Landschaft, Aurich 1967, without ISBN, pp. 174–180.
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  23. Wolfgang Schwarz: The prehistory in East Friesland . Verlag Schuster, Leer 1995, ISBN 3-7963-0323-4 , p. 184.
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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on May 19, 2013 .