stage 6: East Frisia

River Ems (DE) to River Jade (DE)

Length: 310 km (190 miles) in 13 stages

Terrain: flat

From the River Ems to the River Jade, marking the end of Ostfriesland or East Frisia (Germany). A coast that was know for its pirates in the Late Middle Ages. Still hiking along the Wadden Sea, but the track also leads to Aurich where in the High Middle Ages the 'Seven Lands of the Sea' of tota Frisia gathered at the Upstalboom. As you hike east look out for the last Angles, Jutes and Saxons migrating west 1,700 years ago.

Trail Directions

section 6.1: Nieuweschans - Pogum (PM)

section 6.2: Pogum - Bingum (PM)

section 6.3: Bingum - Oldersum (PM)

section 6.4: Oldersum - Aurich (PM)

section 6.5: Aurich - Loppersum (PM)

section 6.6: Loppersum - Krummhörn (PM)

section 6.7: Krummhörn - Greetsiel (PM)

section 6.8: Greetsiel - Norden (PM)

section 6.9: Norden - Nessmersiel (PM)

section 6.10: Nessmersiel - Dornumersiel (PM)

section 6.11: Dornumersiel - Harlesiel (PM)

section 6.12: Harlesiel - Hooksiel (PM)

section 6.13: Hooksiel - Willemshaven (PM)

section 6.14: Willemshaven - Varel (PM)


During Roman Period this was the territory of the Chauci minores (the minor Chauci). A probably with the Frisii maiores (Frisians) related people or vice versa and of which we know from the Romans in the first century AD they lived on terps (artificial dwelling mounds) as well. In German a terp is called a Wurt (and in Lower-German Warft, Warf or -just like in the province Groningen in the Netherlands- Wierde). 

After the fall of the Roman Empire the Chauci disappeared and in the course of fifth and sixth century the (new) Frisians extended their influence into this area, from then on East Frisia (present-day region Ostfriesland). The law code Lex Frisionum (law of the Frisians) of ca. AD 780 described this area as 'inter Laubachi et Wisaram, ' meaning between the River Lauwers and the River Weser.

From this region a rich Old-Frisian law corpes of the high Middle Ages has been kept. Of course, the region Ostfriesland is as said also where Aurich is and where the Upstalsboom was where the delegates of the Seven Lands of the Sea would meat every year on the first Tuesday after Pentecost. East Frisia encompassed the Sixth and Seventh Land of the Sea. The medieval shires of East Frisia are Overledigerland, Saterland, Moormerland, Lengenerland, Emsigerland, Brokmerland, Auricherland, Norderland, Harlingerland, Wangerland, Östringen and Rüstringen. Sometimes Dithmarschen is included although it has no Frisian history.

And later, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries AD, this was the coast of pirates, the Vitalienbrüder. Ports like Greetsiel and Norden were important hide outs of pirates like Klaus Störtebeker and Godeke Michels. Their fleets were a serious threath for the Hanseatic Leage. 

With the rise of the Hauptinge or Hoventlinge, slowly the farmers republics fell apart. The Frisian language has disappeared here too and replaced by Oostfreesk, a dialect of the Low-Saxon language in the Middle Ages and closely related to the Low-Saxon dialect spoken in the Ommelanden in te province Groningen in the Netherlands (Mid Frisia). 

For an impression of this stage, click here.