It is not at all far to the North Sea coast and the East Friesian islands set in the National Park of Coastal Mud-Flats (Nationalpark Wattenmeer), an area well worth visiting.
A quick look at the history of Aurich and this area:
Set at the centre of the East Friesian peninsula ( 7° 30 longitude and 53°30 latitude) Aurich`s origins date back to the founding of a church dedicated to St. Lambert. People are still not agreed today on the exact date of the founding of the town or where the name Aurich comes from, which could either be from a person (Affo) and his wealth (Reich) or possibly refer to the (Aue-reich), a fertile, well-irrigated area and (Aa), meaning waterworks. We tend to agree with the second theory and use this idea when advertising our small, homely town, which still today can easily be reached by water.
The founding of the church also marks the oldest part of town, around which a market settlement developed under the protection of the Tom Brook dynasty. For this purpose a castle was built just outside the settlement, on the site of the present-day Hotel Piqueurhof. A successor of Tom Brook, Fokko Ukena, secured the town with ramparts and ditches and built bulwarks against possible attackers. Unfortunately for him this did not help much, as nothing could hold out long during the squabbles of the chieftains, and the castle was completely destroyed in the middle of the 15th century. The Cirksena family was aquiring more and more influence and now took control of Aurich, building a new, more impressive castle on the site where the castle stands today.
The fighting and plundering of the Saxonian Feuds (1514) destroyed the original settlement around the church in Aurich, making it possible to rebuild the town on a more organized basis and covering a wider area. Thus the present market place was created for the cattle markets, which were already an important feature. The market moved from the site of the castle and with it the town centre moved further westwards, too.
Because of its central position, its fortified ramparts and the protection afforded by impassable moorlands, Aurich became the royal seat of the House of Cirksena, which died out in 1744. Aurich and East Friesia then fell to Prussia, became Dutch in 1806/07, French in 1811, Prussian again in 1813 until the Congress of Vienna in 1815, when the Kingdom of Hannover took power. Then in 1866 Prussia took over again.
Following the administrative reforms of 1972, which lead to the foundation of the Regional District Weser-Ems, Aurich lost its position as seat of government and capital of East Friesia. East Friesia lost its political boundaries and with them its significance as a regionally independent area of administration. But Aurich retained some government offices, and of course its central position and accessibility from all directions, which is why people still refer to Aurich today as the "secret capital" of East Friesia.