The Aller River enters the district in the east and joins the Weser in the centre of the district. In the north the Wümme River passes from west to the east across the district's territory. The western half of the district is occupied by suburbs in the Bremen metropolitan area, e.g. the town of Achim.
The district dates back to the two Ämter of Verden and Achim, which were created in 1852 and 1859. After the Kingdom of Hanover became part of Prussia, they were recreated as districts (Kreis), and merged in 1932. In 1939 two municipalities of the district were added to Bremen, in 1972 Thedinghausen (previously an exclave of the district of Braunschweig) was added.
The coat of arms shows a horse in the top part, both as a symbol for the state of Lower Saxony, as well as the historical state of Hanover, to which the district belonged. The wavy line in the middle stands for the rivers Weser and Aller, while the three ears in the bottom symbolize the agricultural character of the district.