From Heraldry of the World
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Civic heraldry of Germany - Deutsche Wappen (Gemeindewappen/Kreiswappen)
State : Niedersachsen
Urban District (Kreisfreie Stadt) : Emden
Additions : 1928 Borssum, Wolthusen; 1945 Harsweg, Larrelt; 1946 Uphusen-Mareinwehr; 1972 Logumer Vorwerk, Petkum, Twixlum, Widdelswehr, Wybelsum
Emden became a city probably at the end of the 14th century. The oldest seal, known from 1427, shows a half-eagle and a letter E, above waves. The eagle is derived from the Tom Brook family, who ruled the city since 1413. It has been speculated that the letter E above the waves was already used as city arms before 1427. On a decorated stone in the main church in Emden there are two small shields vilisble, one with a lion for the Abdena family (who ruled the city before 1417 and after 1427) and one with a letter E and two waves.
The seal of Emden from 1427
In 1430 the eagle was replaced by the lion of the Abdena family, who had again acquired the city. The arms now showed in the upper part a lion and in the lower part two waves. Behind and above the shield there are the two patron saints of the city, St. Cosmas and St. Damian.
The seal of Emden from 1438
The Abdena family ruled the city until 1433. From 1433-39 it was a possession of Hamburg, then shortly of Ulrich Cirksena and again until 1453 of Hamburg. In 1453 the family became again a possession of the Cirksena family. On April 5, 1495 the ownership was finally settled by King Maximilian. A few months later, on August 10, 1495, the king also granted the city new arms. In between the city had simply used the two saints on its seals, dut to the changing ownership.
The seal of Emden from 1442
The original image from 1495
The seal of Emden from 1504
The harpy is derived from the arms of the Cirksena family, the wall and the waves symbolise the city's position on the Ems. In the arms of the Cirskena family there are two stars under the wings (See Aurich. Although never officially part of the city arms, they can be seen regularly as part of the arms during the centuries.
The arms appeared since 1504 on the seals of the city and have not changed since. However, there has been much discussion and many variations on whether the arms should have a crown, and which one. On the original document from 1495 there is a crown above the shield. But it is not mentioned in the description, most likely it was added as decoration. But during the centuries the city started to use all different types of crowns, as can be seen from the images below.
The seal of Emden from 1568
The seal of Emden from 1631
The seal of Emden from the 17th century
The seal of Emden from the 19th century
The seal of Emden from 1899
The arms of Emden as shown in the city
The arms of Emden as shown in 1899 with crown
The arms in the Kaffee Hag albums +/- 1925
The arms are locally known as Engelke up de Mür, which means the Angel on the wall.
The harpy is also part of some arms in East-Frisian municipalities, as well as the Dutch city of Delfzijl (opposite to Emden).
Literature : Stadler, , 1964-1971, 8 volumes; Images from Sello, 1902