Bad Ems

Coordinates: 50°20′17″N 7°42′38″E / 50.33806°N 7.71056°E / 50.33806; 7.71056
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Bad Ems
A Water tower built in Bad Ems in 1907
A Water tower built in Bad Ems in 1907
Flag of Bad Ems
Coat of arms of Bad Ems
Location of Bad Ems within Rhein-Lahn-Kreis district
Bad Ems is located in Germany
Bad Ems
Bad Ems
Bad Ems is located in Rhineland-Palatinate
Bad Ems
Bad Ems
Coordinates: 50°20′17″N 7°42′38″E / 50.33806°N 7.71056°E / 50.33806; 7.71056
Municipal assoc.Bad Ems-Nassau
 • Mayor (2019–24) Oliver Krügel[1] (CDU)
 • Total15.36 km2 (5.93 sq mi)
80 m (260 ft)
 • Total9,761
 • Density640/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes02603
Vehicle registrationEMS, DIZ, GOH
Part ofThe Great Spa Towns of Europe
CriteriaCultural: (ii)(iii)
Inscription2021 (44th Session)

Bad Ems (German: [baːt ɛms] ) is a town in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Rhein-Lahn rural district and is well known as a spa on the river Lahn. Bad Ems was the seat of Bad Ems collective municipality, which has been merged into the Bad Ems-Nassau collective municipality. The town has around 9,000 inhabitants.

In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name "Great Spa Towns of Europe", because of its famous hot springs and 18-20th century architecture bearing testimony to the popularity of spa resorts in Europe during that time.[3][4]


The town is located on both banks of the River Lahn, the natural border between the Taunus and the Westerwald, two parts of the Rhenish Slate Mountains. The town and its outer districts are situated within the Nassau Nature Reserve.


Plaque dedicated to Ems Ukaz in Bad Ems.

In Roman times, a castrum was built at Bad Ems as part of the Upper Germanic Limes, but today not much of the structure remains. In the woods around the town, however, there are distinct traces of the former Roman border.

The town was first mentioned in official documents in 880 and received its town charter in 1324. The Counts of Nassau and Katzenelnbogen rebuilt the bath and used it together with other noble visitors.[5] In the 17th and 18th centuries Bad Ems was considered one of Germany's most famous bathing resorts. It reached its heyday in the 19th century when it welcomed visitors from all over the world and became the summer residence of various European monarchs and artists, including Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany, Tsars Nicholas I and Alexander II of Russia, Richard Wagner, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vasili Vasilyevich Vereshchagin, etc.

In 1870, the town, then part of Prussian Hesse-Nassau, became known as the place where the Ems Dispatch originated, instigating the Franco-Prussian War.

In 1876, in the Haus Vier Türme (Four Tower House), the Ems Edict was signed by Alexander II of Russia, banning the use of the Ukrainian language. Today, a monument at the spot commemorates this historical event.

View of the town in 1900.


In the 19th and 20th centuries a lot of mining for metal ores took place in the town, concentrated on lead, silver, zinc and copper. The Romans had already dug for ores using open cast mining, which continued throughout the Middle Ages. The many indentations on Blöskopf Hill bear witness to this period of history. As time went by, the method changed from open cast mining to underground mining with tunnels and shafts. Mining of this kind is first mentioned in a document dated 1158, and it continued on into the 18th century, although with long interruptions.

The advent of the Industrial Revolution led to the expansion of the mine, which from 1871 operated under the name of Emser Blei- und Silberwerk AG (Bad Ems Lead and Silver Works, Inc.). In 1909 the company was taken over by what later became the Stolberger Zink AG (Stolberg Zinc Inc.) and mining continued until the end of the Second World War brought things to a halt in 1945. After the war, the mine no longer received any subsidies, but until 1959, stockpiled ore and ore from other mines were sorted at the central preparation plant in Silberau.

Today, the mine is still known as "Mercur", the collective name for various individual pits. Since 1996, the mine has been set up as a museum.


Industry in Bad Ems is mainly limited to companies related to its spa status, but nonetheless fairly varied, including medicine, electrical engineering and tourism.

Mineral springs[edit]

Bad Ems is located on a cluster of mineral hot springs. These springs are high in sodium bicarbonate and have temperatures between 27 and 57 degrees C.[6] They originate from groundwater infiltration from the Rhenish Lower Devonian formation.[6] Natural Ems salt is produced from this mineral water, and it is also marketed separately for drinking and inhalation purposes; when inhaled using a vaporizer, the water has a beneficial effect on sore throats.[7]



Bad Ems is served by Bad Ems station, which is on the Lahntal railway.

The town is linked to a view point at the Bismarckturm (Bismarck tower) by the Kurwaldbahn funicular railway.


Notable people[edit]

Adolf Reichwein in 1944 (Volksgerichtshof)

Sons and daughters[edit]

  • Max Jacob (1888-1967), puppeteer and founder of the Hohnsteiner Puppenbühne
  • Adolf Reichwein (1898–1944), educator, economist and cultural politicians, resistance fighter during the Third Reich

Personalities associated[edit]

Jacques Offenbach



The mayor of Bad Ems is Oliver Krügel (CDU).[1]

Town twinning[edit]

Bad Ems is twinned with:


  1. ^ a b Direktwahlen 2019, Rhein-Lahn-Kreis, Landeswahlleiter Rheinland-Pfalz, accessed 5 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Bevölkerungsstand 2021, Kreise, Gemeinden, Verbandsgemeinden" (in German). Statistisches Landesamt Rheinland-Pfalz. 2022.
  3. ^ Landwehr, Andreas (24 July 2021). "'Great Spas of Europe' awarded UNESCO World Heritage status". Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Archived from the original on 25 July 2021. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  4. ^ "The Great Spa Towns of Europe". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  5. ^ "Katzenelnbogener Weltrekorde: Erster RIESLING und erste BRATWURST!".
  6. ^ a b Nomination of the Great Spas of Europe for inclusion on the World Heritage List (Report). United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Emser Kränchen Tafelwasser - Informationen". Archived from the original on 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2019-06-05.


  • Stella Ghervas, « Spas' political virtues : Capodistria at Ems (1826) », Analecta Histórico Médica, IV, 2006 (with A. Franceschetti).
Much of the content of this article comes from the equivalent German-language Wikipedia article (retrieved September 5, 2005).

External links[edit]

Media related to Bad Ems at Wikimedia Commons