Emmen is a municipality and a town in the northeastern Netherlands. A prime example of a planned city, Emmen arose from several small farming and peat-harvesting communities which have dotted the province of Drenthe since the Middle Ages. Traces of these communities can still be seen in the form of the villages of Westenesch, Noordbarge and Zuidbarge: they have a separate history and layout, but are surrounded by the suburbs and the centre of Emmen.
The expansion of the town did not happen until after the Second World War. Suburbs were built in a clockwise direction around the old centre of Emmen, starting with Emmermeer directly to the north, and followed by Angelslo (for which an old village of the same name was demolished), Emmerhout (famed at the time for being built in the forest, quite separate from the town), Bargeres, the Rietlanden and Parc Sandur. Construction of the last suburb, called Delftlanden, is already well underway with a large number of homes already built and people living in the area.
There are few historic landmarks left within the town, but those few include the church on the market square, where a church has been standing since the Middle Ages, the court of law building, dating from the beginning of the twentieth century and the post office from the same time. In the town's environs an earthwork by Robert Smithson, "Broken Circle/Spiral Hill," may be found.