Jever (ˈjeːfɐ; the pronunciation [ˈjeːvɐ] is often heard from non-locals) is the capital of the district of Friesland
Friesland (district)
Friesland is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Wesermarsch, Ammerland, Leer and Wittmund, and by the North Sea...

 in Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. The name Jever is usually associated with a major brand of beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 which is produced here, the city is also a popular holiday resort. Jever was granted city status in 1536. Unofficially Jever is sometimes referred to as Marienstadt (Maria city) in reference to Maria von Jever, the last independent ruler of the city. The inhabitants of Jever are named Jeveraner.


Archeological findings in the vicinity of Jever suggest that the area has been inhabited since the neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 era. A dolmen
A dolmen—also known as a portal tomb, portal grave, dolmain , cromlech , anta , Hünengrab/Hünenbett , Adamra , Ispun , Hunebed , dös , goindol or quoit—is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of...

 was located near the town up until at least 1880 but was removed sometime at the end of the 19th century due to farming expansion. In addition to this tools such as a flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

A dagger is a fighting knife with a sharp point designed or capable of being used as a thrusting or stabbing weapon. The design dates to human prehistory, and daggers have been used throughout human experience to the modern day in close combat confrontations...

 and sickle
A sickle is a hand-held agricultural tool with a variously curved blade typically used for harvesting grain crops or cutting succulent forage chiefly for feeding livestock . Sickles have also been used as weapons, either in their original form or in various derivations.The diversity of sickles that...

 have been found in the Jever area. From later periods around the 6th century BCE there has also been a number of urns uncovered as well as a bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head.The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with bamboo spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, obsidian, iron, steel or...

 tip and socket axe
The axe, or ax, is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood; to harvest timber; as a weapon; and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol...


During the Roman period the Chauci
The Chauci were an ancient Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rivers Ems and Elbe, on both sides of the Weser and ranging as far inland as the upper Weser. Along the coast they lived on artificial hills called terpen, built high enough to remain dry during the highest tide...

 had a settlement in the area of Jever. Around 826 Frisia was given by Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 to the Danish
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 King Harald Klak
Harald Klak
Harald 'Klak' Halfdansson was a king in Jutland around 812–814 and again from 819–827.-Family:...

 following his conversion to Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Harald had sought refuge at Louis’ court after being driven from his homeland. The 9th century epic Gudrunlied mentions the Danish dominion of Friesland and contains a reference to “Givers” in the area of Sande which is probably the first record of Jever. A further reference in 1158 notes a town by the name of "Geverae", the latinisiation of the low German Geveren or Gaveren ("pasture
Pasture is land used for grazing. Pasture lands in the narrow sense are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep or swine. The vegetation of tended pasture, forage, consists mainly of grasses, with an interspersion of legumes and other forbs...

", or alternatively "Place of the Thing
Thing (assembly)
A thing was the governing assembly in Germanic and introduced into some Celtic societies, made up of the free people of the community and presided by lawspeakers, meeting in a place called a thingstead...


Coins stamped in Jever have been found as far afield as the Finnish Gulf and Warta in Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 which serves as testament to Jever importance as a trading town. during the 10th and 11th centuries Jever was a port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 and had access to the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 via both the Jade and the Harlebucht. Over time however land movements meant the access to the sea disappeared and the later construction of dikes has now left Jever well inland. Nevertheless Jever retained importance as a trading post. In 1546 Hooksiel became an outer harbour for Jever and with the extension of paved roads from Jever to Hooksiel the need for even small ships to sail to Jever was abolished. Today in the centre of Jever a children’s playground with a climbing frame in the shape of a ship serves as a reminder of the city’s important maritime past.

Saxon Dukes
Duchy of Saxony
The medieval Duchy of Saxony was a late Early Middle Ages "Carolingian stem duchy" covering the greater part of Northern Germany. It covered the area of the modern German states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt and most of Schleswig-Holstein...

 and subsequently the House of Welf later ruled over Jever, finally at the end of the 12th century, Jever came under the control of Oldenburg. A letter sent to King Philipp III of France
Philip III of France
Philip III , called the Bold , was the King of France, succeeding his father, Louis IX, and reigning from 1270 to 1285. He was a member of the House of Capet.-Biography:...

, details that between 1271 and 1285, the people of Östringer were subject to no sovereign, but that they selected their own judges and chiefs themselves (see Frisian freedom
Frisian freedom
Friese freedom or freedom of the Frisians is the absence of feudalism and serfdom in Frisia, the area that was originally inhabited by the Frisians, in particular the current provinces of Friesland and Groningen and the area west Friesland in the Netherlands and East Friesland in Germany...


Jever was granted rights as a town in 1347. Around the turn of the 15th century the town continued to be a prosperous trading center, this attracted not only merchants but also pirates. The most famous of the pirates was a band who were known as the "Likedeeler", and included Klaus Störtebeker
Klaus Störtebeker
Nikolaus Storzenbecher, or Klaus Störtebeker , was a leader and the best known representative of a companionship of privateers known as the Victual Brothers...

 and Goedeke Michels.

The last Baron of the Jeverland
Jeverland refers to the northern part of the present-day district of Friesland in northern Germany with the town of Jever as the seat of its local government. The Jeverland was formed in the 15th century from the Barony of Jever, which itself descended from the Banter Viertel, part of Östringen...

 was Edo Wiemken  who, in 1505, completed the reconstruction of the castle and is buried in the city church. After Edo’s death Jever came under the control of Graf
Graf is a historical German noble title equal in rank to a count or a British earl...

 Edward I
Edzard I, Count of East Frisia
Edzard I, also Edzard the Great, was count of East Frisia from 1491 till his death in 1528.Edzard succeeded his brother Enno in 1492. He fought with George, Duke of Saxony over Friesland and Groningen...

. However Maria von Jever, the daughter of Edo restored the city’s independence, and in 1536 whilst under her rule Jever received its city rights which has led to the city’s unofficial title as "Marienstadt".

Maria died in 1575 but her death was kept secret for fear of a return of the East Frisians
County of East Frisia
The County of East-Frisia was a county in the region of East Frisia in the north-west of the present day German state of Lower Saxony.-County:...

. Instead, Jever became one of Oldenburg's territories by last will of Maria. In 1667 Jever was passed under control of the Anhalt-Zerbst
Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst
Anhalt-Zerbst was a principality located in Germany. It was established for the first time in 1252 following the partition of the principality of Anhalt. The capital of the state was located at Zerbst. Anhalt-Zerbst ceased to exist in 1396 when it was partitioned between Anhalt-Dessau and...

. After Prince Friedrich August, who had supported the English in the American Revolutionary War for financial reasons, died in 1793, the line of Anhalt-Zerbst perished and its territories were split. Jeverland was then given to Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

, formerly Princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst and Friedrich August's sole surviving sibling. It remained Russian until Napoleon's armies occupied it in 1807. Between 1808 and 1810 it was part of the Kingdom of Holland
Kingdom of Holland
The Kingdom of Holland 1806–1810 was set up by Napoleon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom for his third brother, Louis Bonaparte, in order to better control the Netherlands. The name of the leading province, Holland, was now taken for the whole country...

, a Napoleonic vassal state. When the French were forced to withdraw in 1813, Russia regained possession of Jever and returned it to the grand dukes of Oldenburg in 1818.

Jever was connected to the railway network in 1871 by a line from Sande
-Places:Germany* Sande, Lower Saxony, a municipality in Lower Saxony, Germany* Sande, Westphalia, a former municipality, which now forms part of Paderborn in North Rhine-Westphalia, GermanyNorway* Sande, Vestfold, a municipality in Vestfold county...

. From 1881, a line connected it westwards to Wittmund
Wittmund is a town and capital of the district of Wittmund, in Lower Saxony, Germany.-Geography:Wittmund is a town of 21,000 inhabitants located in Germany's historic coastal district of East Frisia, between the towns of Aurich and Jever...

, Esens
Esens is a municipality in the district of Wittmund, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated near the North Sea coast, approx. 14 km northwest of Wittmund, and 20 km northeast of Aurich....

 and Dornum
Dornum is a village and a municipality in the East Frisian district of Aurich, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated near the North Sea coast, approx...

, and from 1888 there was a line northwards to Carolinensiel. The railway station in Jever still has a waiting room for the exclusive use of the Duke of Oldenburg to this day.

Because Anhalt-Zerbst had guaranteed security and freedom of business for Jews, Jever became a center of Jewish life in Frisia, reaching its peak in the late 19th century. After that many youngsters left for larger cities where they hoped to find better economic opportunities (and since the 1920s also to escape growing anti-semitism). This caused the community to shrink to only half of its former size: by 1933, there were only 98 Jews left in Jever. The synagogue (inaugurated in 1802) was completely destroyed in the Night of Broken Glass, and at least 63 Jever Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Points of interest

  • Jever castle: The first castle at Jever was built by Edo Wiemken the Elder in 1416, which was destroyed by the East Frisians in 1420. Edo's successor Hayo Harldas rebuilt the castle in 1428, it was finally completed in 1505 by Edo the Younger. Inside the ceiling of the audience hall with 28 cassettes in carved oak in renaissance style (16th century). In 1736 the tower in baroque style was built. The result of multiple conversions was a small palace of the princes of Anhalt-Zerbst and Oldenburg.
  • Historic guild hall, 1620.
  • There are five churches in Jever; the Protestant's church, in former times garrison church, was destroyed in a fire in 1959 and rebuilt in modern form in 1964. In an annex at the eastern side Edo Wiemken the Youngers tomb, a work of art in renaissance style, not destroyed by fire.
  • The Frisian Brewhouse: Established in 1848 as an insignificant small brewery, it rose to a well-known brand around 1900 and adopted its hometown's name in 1934. Today, the brewhouse is the largest building in Jever. The company produces mostly pilsener
    Pilsner is a type of pale lager. It takes its name from the city of Pilsen , Bohemia, in today's Czech Republic, where it has been developed since 1842, when a bottom-fermented beer was first produced. The original Pilsner Urquell beer is produced there today.-Origin:Until the mid-1840s, most ...

     style beers. See Jever (beer)
    Jever (beer)
    Jever is a German beer brand, named after the town of Jever where it is brewed. It has been brewed by the "Friesisches Brauhaus zu Jever" since 1848.-History:...

    for details.

External links

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