Emden’s Defense Wall is my new Scenic Running Route
The exact founding date of Emden is unknown, but it has existed at least since the 8th century. Town privilege and the city’s coat of arms, the Engelke up de Muer (The Little Angel on the Wall) was granted by Emperor Maximilian II in 1495.
Emden was a very rich city during the 17th century, due to large numbers of Dutch immigrants such as Diederik Jansz. Graeff. It was a centre of reformed Protestantism at that time, producing the first Bible translation in Dutch.
In 1744 Emden was annexed by Prussia. In 1752 Frederick the Great chartered the Emden Company to trade with Canton, but the company was ruined when Emden was captured by French forces in 1757 during the Seven Years’ War. The town was recaptured by Anglo-German forces in 1758 and for the rest of the conflict was used as a major supply base by the British to support the ongoing war in Westphalia.
Industrialization started at around 1870, with a paper mill and a somewhat bigger shipyard. At the end of the 19th century, a big canal, the Dortmund-Ems Canal was constructed, which connected Emden with the Ruhr area. This made Emden the “seaport of the Ruhr area” – which lasted until the 1970s. Coal from the south was transported to the North Sea port, and imported iron ore was shipped via the canal towards Rhine and the Ruhr. The last iron ore freighter was moored in the port of Emden in 1986.
In 1903, a large shipyard (Nordseewerke, “North Sea Works”) was founded. Papi used to be an apprentice here.
The city centre was almost completely wiped out as a result of allied bombing raids during the Second World War, destroying nearly all historic buildings. The most severe bombing took place on September 6, 1944, when roughly 80 percent of all houses in the inner city were destroyed – about 4500 bombs were dropped on this day. In the collective memory of the city, this date still plays an important role. It needs to be noted that the shipyard area was largely untouched: The British apparently targeted the civilian areas, which is believed by the locals to have been in revenge for the bombing of an English city by the Luftwaffe. The reconstructed town was opened on 6 September 1962, exactly 18 years after the bombing.
And now, Blackfoot is running on the defense wall (see drawing above). It has provided me with great scenery and a history. Let me show you my run!
I am very sad to leave tomorrow. With this great running path (plus the amazing food, endless amounts of booze, and AWESOME family), it makes me wonder why I don’t live here!