In medieval times the region was part of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster. When it became part of the Prussian Province of Westphalia, the new government in 1816 created the districts of Warendorf and Beckum. In 1975 these two districts were merged to form today's district.
The coat of arms is a combination of the two coats of the precursor districts Warendorf and Beckum. The two sun roses are taken from the Warendorf coat of arms, which took it from the family coat of arms of the Vogt family in Warendorpe. The wavy line comes from the Beckum coat of arms, and symbolized the richness of water in the area, especially the Werse river. The coat of arms was granted in 1976.