The district was established in 1977 by merging the former districts of Aurich and Norden.
The district includes the three populated islands of Juist, Norderney and Baltrum, which belong to the East Frisian Islands. The small island of Memmert south of Juist is a nature reserve housing rare birds. Part of the district belongs to the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park.
Islands: Norderney 26 km², pop. 6100; Juist 16 km², pop. 1800; Baltrum 6.5 km², pop. 500; Memmert 5.2 km², pop. 0.
The coat-of-arms, granted in 1978, displays the so called virgin eagle (or harpy), which was the heraldic animal of the Cirksena family, a local clan providing East Frisian chieftains during the Middle Ages. The acorns in the arms are symbols of the city of Aurich and the six-pointed spurs are symbols of Norden. The blazon is: "party per pale Azure and Gules, a harpy gardant Argent, above shoulders two six-pointed mullets Argent, below wings two acorns inverted Argent".
The former coat-of-arms, granted in 1950, shows a golden oak tree, representing the Upstalsboom, a tree outside the city of Aurich under which free Frisians gathered for their yearly council meetings. Its blazon is: "Gules, an oak tree Or, on a hill Or at base".
| 1. Brookmerland |
|colspan=2 align=center|1seat of the Samtgemeinde|