The name of Eckernförde is of mixed origin, but derived from the name of a Danish castle formerly located near the current town, which is also reflected in the name of the town district of Borby. This fortification is listed in the 13th century Liber Census Daniæ as Ykærnæburgh. In 1441, the town used an official seal listing its name as Eherneborgh. The first syllable corresponds to the modern Danish word "egern" meaning squirrel while "-förde" is Low German meaning fjord. The -förde ending is documented in Latinized form on two official seals used by the town in the 1602 and 1624. The etymology of the town's name is reflected in the presence of a squirrel in the town's coat of arms, a feature first documented by the 1441 seal.
Eckernförde Rathausmarkt (market place)
In 1197 Eckernförde was mentioned for the first time.
Eckernförde was mentioned in the year 1302 for the first time free of doubts as a city, but in 1288 the inhabitants were already called oppidani (city citizen).
During the First War of Schleswig two Danish ships, the Christian VIII and the frigate Gefion tried to land in Eckernförde in April 1849. They were cannonaded from the shore. The Christian VIII exploded, while the Gefion surrendered and was captured. Theodor Preusse, the commander in chief of the southern troops, died while rescuing Danish troops from the Christian VIII.
The 13 November 1872 Baltic Sea flood hit the coast of the Baltic Sea from Denmark to Pomerania. Of all the German coastal settlements, Eckernförde was most heavily damaged due to its location on Eckernförde Bay which was wide open to the north-east. The entire town was flooded, 78 houses were destroyed, 138 damaged and 112 families became homeless.
Schools in the city include the Richard-Vosgerau-Schule. The Richard Vosgerau School is a public elementary school in Eckernförde. The address is 26 Bergstraße, 24340 Eckernförde. The current head of the school is Mrs. Koepke. The school building consists of a white main house and a small outbuilding. Also to find are a football field and a sports hall. In the schoolyard, the school children enjoy various activities, ranging from slides to climbing.
The Kiel–Flensburg railway runs through the town with trains stopping at Eckernförde station, situated to the west of the town centre. The town's main bus station, central omnibus station (German: ZOB), is directly connected to the train station.
The operating company of the railway network is Deutsche Bahn.
Eckernförde has 4 bus routes for urban connections operated by single-deck buses. Eckernförde has no trams or trolley-buses. For transportation, the statewide Schleswig-Holstein-fare applies.
At the bus station is also a taxi stand located.
In Eckernförde are two bike rental outlets, one is located near the beach and one is in the pedestrian area.