The UEG was founded in 1584 as a High School for boys only and girls were not accepted before 1972. It was named after Ubbo Emmius, who was principal at the former Latin school from 1588 to 1596, today being the Ubbo-Emmius-Gymnasium.
With about 1500 students, the school is one of the largest of the area and is known for its good quality and special support for their students in many educational branches, e.g.:
- Foreign languages (e.g. general subjects taught in foreign languages are available)
- Music (e.g. big choir, school band, orchestra)
- Science and technology (e.g. special lessons for interested students in profiles)