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Handsomely Asymmetrical. City Hall, Leer, Lower Saxony, Germany

How could I not stop by the pretty city of Leer just across the border from Groningen in Lower Saxony, Germany, on my way to Hannover? I've been here many times, but curiously there was mostly rain... Today was splendid!

Leer in my mind is very closely connected to Groningen. The first rector of the University of Groningen was the eminent humanist Ubbo Emmius (1547-1625). Hailing from Greetsiel, Ostfriesland, he'd been trained academically at Protestant universities. Teaching first at a Lutheran Gymnasium in Norden (1579-1587), life was made intolerable for him and his family because he - as an ardent Calvinist - refused to sign the Lutheran Confession of Augsburg. Put out of hearth and home in a dreadful winter by the authorities, he was finally appointed to head the Calvinist school of Leer (today named for him). When Groningen was 'reduced' to become a city of the (Protestant) Dutch Republic in 1594, Emmius was quickly appointed headmaster of that city's Latin School; and in 1614 he was the rector of the newly founded University. A man of many academic 'trades', he is today revered as the utterly capable administrator of the new University and also as the foremost historian of the Frisian Lands.

So you can imagine that an historian of humanism such as your ob't servant can't bypass Leer without walking down their Ubbo Emmius Street...

This is the rather handsome town hall, often referred to as the 'New' Old Town Hall. It replaced the earlier one much damaged by floods. Built (1892-4) in the same Neo-Renaissance style as the Academia of the University of Groningen. The architect was well-known professor Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Henrici (1842-1927), who was a miracle-worker with red brick.

Today the Sun lit up delightfully what at first sight might appear symmetrical, but which is not.

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Taken on July 27, 2012