A rich history full of life

When you mention a city with a thousand year old history, that just vibrates more than any other city, then you think of Lingen on the river Ems. The turbulent history of the city began in 975. That was the year in which “Liinga“ was mentioned in a document for the first time.

The name 'Lingen' has never been changed ever since. The Dukes of Tecklenburg built a citadel in the center of today's downtown area. It developed into a settlement that was still called 'village' in 1227. The settlement received the city charter in the early 14th century. The young, bachelor sons of the bourgeoisie of Lingen courageously defended the citadel which was under siege by the enemy. This, a heroic act, gave the young citizens the right to celebrate their proper 'Kivelingsfest' - the festival of the 'Kivelinge' - held on the marketplace every third year. Today thousands of people from near and far visit this special medieval “spectacle“.
The Emperor Charles V captured the castle in the year 1551. From that time on the
power base in Lingen changed more often than in any other German city. Philipp II of Spain and William of Oranje of the Netherlands took turns conquering the city on the Ems. The Westphalian Peace Treaty of 1648 declared Lingen to be temporarily a part of Overijssels and thus a part of the Netherlands. Again, history should repeat itself and Lingen would become a protectorate of the Bishop of Münster for a short time. The reign of Oranje proved to be a golden era for Lingen. They contributed their high standard of education and their characteristic style of architecture. The city was gradually reconstructed after the great blaze in 1548. The castle was destroyed in 1607 and the fortifications razed in 1632.

This time was called “the Golden Age“ of the Netherlands. The Netherlands increasingly developed the city on the Ems. Trade and economy were flourishing. Many buildings characteristic of Lingen in the present day were constructed during this particular era. Wilhelm III of Oranje built a Latin-School and in addition founded a university in 1697 which exists until 1820.

The historical buildings surrounding the 'Universitätsplatz' (University-Square) are still regarded as highlights of Lingen. After Wilhelm of Oranje's death Lingen came under the rule of Prussia in 1702. It were only the French (1806 to 1813) and the Kingdom of Hanover (1815 to 1866) who were capable of challenging the Prussians to intermittently take possession. Beginning in 1867, again under Prussian rule, Lingen became a county town, and this status does not change until the regional reform in 1977.

During the Industrial Revolution Lingen started to flourish. The railway repair factory were opened in 1856, and the Dortmund-Ems canal followed in 1899.

In contrast, the first half of the 20th century is shaped by two devastating World Wars and the shadow of National Socialism falls over the city. The Lingen Synagogue was burnt, Jewish families were displaced and murdered.
Combat actions destroyed many buildings in the downtown area during the last days of the war.
Lingen has been part of Lower Saxony since 1946. The city centre and lively urban districts of Altenlingen, Baccum, Bramsche, Brockhausen, Brögbern, Clusorth-Bramhar, Darme, Holthausen-Biene, Laxten and Schepsdorf together form the so called „Große Selbständige Stadt Lingen“ (“Large Independent City of Lingen“). Today, Lingen with its population of about 56.000 is by far the largest city of the Emsland.

Fotos v.o.n.u.: Headerfoto Stadt Lingen (Ems), Schöning Fotodesign