East Frisia & Papenburg


In East Frisia, tourism has a long tradition.  Since the 19th century, tourists from all across Germany have been visiting the beautiful East Frisian Islands and the Wadden Sea, which became an official UNESCO world heritage site in 2009.
In 1866, the founding year of our Chamber of Commerce, seaside holiday was an exclusive pleasure for the upper class, such as nobles, diplomats and scholars. The island of Norderney is considered as one of the oldest tourist destinations of East Frisia. As early as 1797, this beautiful island was named a seaside spa – the first of its kind in this region. Later on, it even became a royal summer residence of the Hanoverian King George.
With the improvement of infrastructure, East Frisia became gradually interconnected to the rest of the country – thus became more accessible to broader sections of the population. By 1914, the number of spa guests on Norderney had increased to around 40,000 p.a. In  the Third Reich the region especially benefited  from the national recovery program "Strength through Joy" (Kraft durch Freude) which  the national socialists introduced in 1933. After Word War II it took more than a decade for the local tourism industry to recover.  The allied forces confiscated hotels, restaurants and other valuable assets, which made it particularly difficult for local business owners to rebuild their businesses.
During the so-called “Wirtschaftswunder” or  the German Economic Mircale,  East Frisa saw its breakthrough as a popular holiday destination among German tourists. In 1960, the number of overnight stays reached record highs, amounting to around 3 millionen on the East Frisian islands and 300,000 stays on the mainland. Today, these numbers have more than quadrupled.