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Title: Leer  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bundesautobahn 28, Henry IV, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Leer (district), East Frisia, Logabirum
Collection: Leer (District), Towns and Villages in East Frisia, Towns in Lower Saxony
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Coat of arms of Leer
Coat of arms
Leer  is located in Germany
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Leer
 • Mayor Beatrix Kuhl
 • Total 70.30 km2 (27.14 sq mi)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 33,891
 • Density 480/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 26789
Dialling codes 0491
Vehicle registration LER

Leer is a town in the district of Leer, the northwestern part of Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the river Leda, a tributary of the river Ems, near the border with the Netherlands.

It has a railway and autobahn connection to Groningen, Netherlands, Emden, Bremen and the South (Rheine and the Ruhrpott industrial region).


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Politics 3
  • Notable buildings 4
  • Religion 5
  • Economics and infrastructure 6
  • Education 7
  • International relations 8
  • Notable persons 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Leer had been a settlement long before it was first mentioned in written documents. Originally the city was situated at a meander near the mouth of the river Leda into the Ems, which is still the center of the town today. Even though Leer is some 30 km (19 mi) away from the coast, it can be reached by large ships via the Ems. Leer lies close to the Dutch border; the district of Leer shares a border with the Dutch province of Groningen.


Historical affiliations

County of East Frisia 1464–1744  Kingdom of Prussia 1744–1806
Kingdom of Holland 1806–1810
 First French Empire 1810–1813
 Kingdom of Prussia 1813–1815
 Kingdom of Hanover 1815–1866
 Kingdom of Prussia 1866–1871
 German Empire 1871–1918
 Weimar Republic 1918–1933
 Nazi Germany 1933–1945
 Allied-occupied Germany 1945–1949
 West Germany 1949–1990
 Germany 1990–present

Remains of the Feste Leerort at the mouth of the Leda into the Ems river, 1453-1760

There are many traces of early settlements in the area, including crude flint tools that are dated back to roughly 3200 BC.

In 791 AD Saint Ludger built the first chapel in East Frisia at the western edge of the settlement Leer, then still named Hleri after feetlot, willow. This chapel is mentioned for the first time in a written document from 850 AD.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, Leer was home town of the Ukena family which was one most influential East-Frisian chieftain families of that time. The town profited from the trade with the Hanse, and a fortress Leerort was built.

In 1508, Count Edzard obtained the official right to host a market, which started the tradition of the "Gallimarkt," which is now an annual King of Hanover.

In 1854 Leer became connected to the "Hannoversche Westbahn" railway, which at that time connected Emden and Rheine in the Ruhr area. In 1856, the Westbahn was connected to the central German railway network.

Unlike Emden, Leer only suffered little damage by Allied bombing in World War II. The city was occupied by Canadian troops on April 28, 1945.

On 1 October 1955, Leer received the status of an independent city.


Since 1964 the city's government has been led by the Social-Democratic Party SPD. The major opposition parties are the Christian Democratic Union Party CDU, the Green Party and the AWG, an independent local party. The mayor of Leer is Beatrix Kuhl.

The town council consists of:

  • SPD: 42.5% / 16 Seats
  • CDU: 28.5% / 7 Seats
  • AWG: 12.2% / 4 Seats
  • Grüne: 10.1% / 4 Seats
  • FDP: 4.8% / 2 Seats
  • The Left: 2.3% / 1 Seat

Notable buildings


Leer is a traditional Protestant city and home to both the Lutheran and Reformed churches. The German Reformed Church has its head office in Leer. Furthermore, Leer offers an unusually large variety of smaller religious communities, especially Baptists, Mennonites, Methodists, Adventists and Mormons. Even though Eastern Frisia is a mainly a Protestant region, there is a small Roman Catholic community in Leer.

Economics and infrastructure

Two autobahns (freeways) cross north of Leer, the A 28 (Leer - Bremen) and the A 31 (Emden - Oberhausen, Ruhr Area). The city itself has three junctions to the autobahns. Leer railway station is a relay station between Groningen and Bremen in the west-east direction and the South and Emden harbour (with a large VW factory and shipping facilities) in the north. The airfield Leer-Papenburg north of the city offers limited passenger flights to nearby airfields, most notably the East Frisian Islands. The closest international airport is Bremen International Airport.

Leer is home to many German shipping companies — about 20 per cent of the German merchant fleet are registered in Leer. The Bünting group [1] is based in Leer and is one of the city's main employers. Although Bünting owns several German supermarket chains, the company is best known for their tea, which is available all over Germany.

Each year in autumn the Gallimarkt is held. Traditionally a cattle-market, the Gallimarkt is now one of the largest fairs in Northwest Germany.


In Leer there are seven primary schools and numerous secondary schools. The two gymnasiums, Teletta Gross Gymnasium and Ubbo-Emmius-Gymnasium, educate more than 1,500 pupils each and are two of the largest grammar schools in Lower Saxony. The Navigation School is now faculty of the Hochschule Emden - Leer (University of applied science). The town also offers education at two vocational schools.

International relations

Leer is twinned with:

Notable persons


  1. ^ Landesbetrieb für Statistik und Kommunikationstechnologie Niedersachsen, 102 Bevölkerung - Basis Zensus 2011, Stand 31. Dezember 2013 (Tabelle K1020014)
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

  • Official website (German)
  • Photo collections about Leer (German)
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