In 1215 a monastery was founded in Essen (or Yesse). It existed until 1594. During the Protestant Reformation it was closed down by the province of Groningen. It was known for having a miraculous statue of Mary . Only the terrain on which the monastery was built is recognisable.
Today Essen counts twenty farms in a very rural countryside; it is hard to imagine that the centre of the city of Groningen is only away.
The existence of Essen is being threatened by plans to build a new beltway, the Zuidtangent. The municipality of Haren has so far resisted these plans.