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View of the town hall and harbor
|• Mayor||Beatrix Kuhl (CDU)|
|• Total||70.30 km2 (27.14 sq mi)|
|Elevation||3 m (10 ft)|
|• Density||490/km2 (1,300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
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.
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
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 fair. In 1744 East Frisia fell to Prussia, then ruled by Frederick the Great. Town privileges were awarded in 1823 by George IV, 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.
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 (elections of 2016):
- SPD: 36.7% / 14 seats
- CDU: 27.9% / 11 seats
- AWG: 10.2% / 4 seats
- Grüne: 13.9% / 5 seats
- FDP: 3.0% / 1 seat
- The Left: 3.1% / 1 seat
- CDL: 3.5% / 1 seat
- BfL 1.3%: / 1 seat
- Haase 0.5%: / 0 seat
- Philippsburg (Castle)
- Telecommunication tower "Leer-Nüttermoor" (Height:160 meters)
|Term of office||Mayor|
|1812–1814||Maire Willem Cramer von Baumgarten|
|1814–1842||Abraham Erlenholtz (till 1823 temporary)|
|1843–1852||Adolf Wilhelm Hillingh|
|1852–1857||Georg Heinrich Leonhard Schow|
|1914–1917||City counsel Gerhard Tschackert (temporary)|
|1920–1933||Erich vom Bruch|
|1945–1946||Albrecht Graf von Wedel|
|2001–2014||Wolfgang Kellner (independent)|
|since 2014||Beatrix Kuhl (CDU)|
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  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, Telletta-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.
Leer is twinned with:
- Focko Ukena (1370-1436), East Frisian chieftain
- Ubbo Emmius (1547-1625), Theologian, historian from the University of Groningen
- Gustaaf Willem Baron van Imhoff (1705-1750), governor-general of Dutch East India
- Johann Ludwig Hinrichs (1818-1901), Co-founder of the German Baptists
- Onno Klopp (1822-1903), publicist and historian
- Wilhelmine Siefkes (1890-1984), author
- Bernhard Bavink (1879-1947), Natural philosopher and scientist
- Ernst Reuter (1889-1953), politician and municipal scientist, mayor of West-Berlin 1948-1953, father of Daimler-Benz CEO Edzard Reuter
- Hermann Lange (1912-1943), blessed priest and Nazi victim
- Marron Curtis Fort (born 1938), professor, linguist and curator of Low German and Frisian languages.
- Karl Dall (born 1941), presenter, singer and comedian
- Friedel Grützmacher (born 1942), politician of Alliance '90/The Greens
- H.P. Baxxter (bourgeois: Hanspeter Geerdes; born 1964), frontman of the Techno-Band Scooter
- Garrelt Duin (born 1968), politician (SPD), Member of the German Bundestag 2005-2012, President of the SPD in Lower-Saxony 2005-2010, since 2012 Economic Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia
- Okka Rau (born 1977), beach volleyball player
- Christina Hennings (born 1984), world vice-champion in rowing (mistress)
- Landesamt für Statistik Niedersachsen, Tabelle 12411: Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes, Stand 31. Dezember 2017
- "Elbląg - Podstrony / Miasta partnerskie". Elbląski Dziennik Internetowy (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- "Elbląg - Miasta partnerskie". Elbląg.net (in Polish). Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- "Trowbridge - Market town twins with Arab city". BBC News. BBC News Channel. 2006-10-03. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
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