Angela Merkel has been Federal Chancellor since 2005. Find out more about her personal background and political career.
Childhood in Brandenburg
Angela Dorothea Kasner was born in Hamburg on 17 July 1954. A few weeks later her family moved to Quitzow in Brandenburg and three years after that to Templin.
Herlind Kasner, Angela Merkel’s mother, is from Hamburg. She was a Latin and English teacher. Her father, Horst Kasner, was originally from Berlin. He was a pastor in the Protestant Church in Germany.
At school in Templin
Angela Kasner took her Abitur (higher education entrance qualification) in 1973 at the Extended Secondary School in Templin. She was especially good at Mathematics and Russian. Being the daughter of a Protestant pastor, she was confirmed at the age of 13 years.
At university in Leipzig
Angela Kasner knew early on at school what she wanted to do when she left: she wanted to study Physics. In 1973 she moved to Leipzig to do just that.
In 1977 Angela Kasner married her fellow student Ulrich Merkel. After graduating the couple moved to East Berlin. Angela Merkel worked as a researcher at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry at the Academy of Sciences in Berlin.
The couple separated in 1981 and divorced the following year.
Angela Merkel was awarded a doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) in 1986. That same year she travelled to West Germany for the first time to attend her cousin’s wedding.
After the peaceful revolution in the autumn of 1989 Angela Merkel joined the opposition political movement called “Demokratischer Aufbruch” (Democratic Awakening), which later became a political party. Asked about the Fall of the Berlin Wall, she said: "Words cannot describe what I felt back then."
In 1990 Angela Merkel was made press spokesperson of the “Demokratischer Aufbruch”, which merged with the CDU that same year. In March 1990 she became deputy government spokesperson of the GDR government under Lothar de Maizière.
Running for the Bundestag
At the same time, she stood as a candidate for the German Bundestag. At the first all-German elections to the Bundestag in December 1990 Angela Merkel won the constituency of Stralsund-Rügen-Grimmen. It is still her political home.
Minister for Women and Youth
On 18 January 1991 Angela Merkel, then 36 years old, was sworn in as Federal Minister for Women and Youth in Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Cabinet.
Policies aimed at women and families
It was during her period in office that the Equal Opportunities Act, which improved women’s professional situation, was adopted. She was also responsible for ensuring that each child has the right to a place in a kindergarten. For mothers and fathers in Germany’s western federal states that was a huge step forward.
Angela Merkel continues to work to make it easier for men and women to reconcile work with family life. The main emphases now are on better early childhood education, flexible working time models, parental leave for fathers and mothers, and all-day schools.
In 1994 Angela Merkel was appointed Federal Environment Minister.
It was during her period in office that the first UN climate conference was held in Berlin in 1995. It marked the beginning of international CO2 reduction initiatives...
…and of the Closed Substance Cycle Act.
In November 1998 Angela Merkel was elected Secretary General of her party, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands, CDU).
Angela Merkel had been deputy party leader of the CDU for nine years by the time she was elected party leader in 2000. After the 2002 elections to the Bundestag she also became Chair of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag. As leader of the opposition she had a seat in parliament and was involved in the mediation procedure between the Bundestag and Bundesrat on changes to the “Agenda 2010” introduced by Chancellor Schröder’s government.
In September 2005, Angela Merkel won the early elections to the Bundestag, beating the then Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
After six weeks of negotiations, the CDU, CSU and SPD agreed to form a Grand Coalition led by Angela Merkel.
Election as Federal Chancellor
Angela Merkel was elected Federal Chancellor in the Bundestag on 22 November 2005, gaining 397 out of a total of 614 votes.
Angela Merkel received the EU heads of state and government in Berlin. Together they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.
The World Economic Summit also took place in Germany that year. The G8 held their summit in Heiligendamm on the Baltic coast.
Re-elected Federal Chancellor
“Mr President, I accept the election.” On 28 October 2009 the Bundestag elected Angela Merkel as Federal Chancellor for the second time.
The Chancellor is cooperating with partners in the eurozone and outside it to stabilise the euro. She believes in budgetary discipline, solidarity and incentives for more growth. France is a particularly important partner.
Turnaround in energy policy
After the Fukushima nuclear accident the Federal Government resolved to phase out nuclear energy. It has speeded up expansion of the power grid and is promoting renewable energies so as to drive forward the switch to sustainable energy structures.
In the stadium
Whether it’s the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany...
...or the Alpine Skiing World Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen – Angela Merkel loves sport. She believes that sport and football in particular can be a “real driving force for integration”.
In September 2011 Pope Benedict XVI visited Germany. The motto of his visit was “Where God is, there is the future”. The Pope was welcomed by the Federal President before he met with Angela Merkel.
Dialogue on Germany's Future
At a series of town hall meetings the Chancellor conducted a “Dialogue on Germany’s Future”. The people of Germany submitted more then 11,000 proposals online.
On 18 May Pope Francis received Chancellor Angela Merkel for a private audience in the Apostolic Palace. After in-depth talks, the Chancellor pointed to an important message of the Pope. The Church, he said, must approach people and encourage them to embrace Christianity.
Merkel sworn in as Chancellor for a third term
On 17 December 2013, just under three months after the parliamentary elections, Angela Merkel was re-elected Chancellor for a third term in office by Members of the German Bundestag. She gained 462 out of a possible 621 votes.
President Joachim Gauck presented Angela Merkel with her letter of appointment and wished her every success.
1:0 - the fourth star!
German football fans had to wait for deliverance until the 113th minute when Mario Götze’s goal finally clinched the World Cup for Germany. After a hard fought victory over Argentina, Angela Merkel and Federal President Joachim Gauck congratulate the German team in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium. Since 13 July 2014 Germany has once again been reigning world champion.
What do you think is important in life? What, in your opinion, is characteristic of the quality of life in Germany?
In dialogue events, the Chancellor and her Cabinet ministers speak directly with citizens with a view to gearing future action even better to what is important to the people of Germany.
The Chancellor hosts the G7 summit.
“G7 is a community of shared values,” she stresses. At Schloss Elmau climate change mitigation, development cooperation and global health care are at the top of the agenda.
Angela Merkel has been married to Joachim Sauer, a Professor of Chemistry, since 1998.
The couple frequently spend their weekends out in their holiday home near Templin, where Angela Merkel grew up –and where many former classmates and friends still live.
Angela Merkel and Joachim Sauer
Angela Merkel and Joachim Sauer live in the Mitte district of Berlin, right next to the historic Museum Island.