Bad Ems is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is the county seat of the Rhein-Lahn rural district and is well-known as a bathing resort on the river Lahn. Bad Ems is the seat of the Verbandsgemeinde ("collective municipality") Bad Ems.
The town is built on both sides of the River Lahn, the natural border between the Taunus and the Westerwald, two parts of the Rhenish Slate Mountains. The town and its outer districts are also within the Nassau Nature Reserve.
The town was first mentioned in official documents in 880 and received its town charter in 1324. The Counts of Nassau and the Counts of Katzenelnbogen rebuilt the bath. The high noble Counts loved to use it inviting friends. Days in the bath were often days with musicians and all kinds of food even swimming in the pool. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was considered one of Germany's most famous bathing resorts. It reached its heyday in the 19th century when it welcomed visitors from all over the world and became the summer residence of various European monarchs and artists, including Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany, Tsars Nicholas I and Alexander II of Russia, Richard Wagner, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vasili Vasilyevich Vereshchagin, etc.
In 1870 the town, then part of Prussian Hesse-Nassau, became famous as the place where the Ems Dispatch originated, instigating the Franco-Prussian War. In 1876, in the Haus Vier Türme (Four Tower House), the Ems Edict was signed by Alexander II of Russia, banning the use of the Ukrainian language. Today, a monument at the spot commemorates this historical event.
The advent of the Industrial Revolution lead to the expansion of the mine, which from 1871 operated under the name of "Emser Blei- und Silberwerk AG" (Bad Ems Lead and Silver Works, Inc.). In 1909 the company was taken over by what later became the 'Stolberger Zink AG" (Stolberg Zinc Inc.) and mining continued until the end of the Second World War brought things to a halt in 1945. After the war, the mine no longer received any subsidies, but until 1959, stockpiled ore and ore from other mines were sorted at the central preparation plant in Silberau. Today, the mine is still known as "Mercur", the collective name for various individual pits.
Since 1996, the mine is set up as a museum. In four different exhibition rooms, the visitors can gain information on the development and the meaning of ore mining in the region. The first exhibition room is dedicated to the pre-industrial mining. You can see, among others, finds from old galleries and tunnels. In the second room , the industrial period of mining is being presented. The third room gives information on the social aspect of mining in Bad Ems. Here, you are being informed on housing, mining unions, income and also punishments for poorly performed work. Finally, the last room shows a collection of minerals and different types of ore.