A Profile

Angela Merkel vor dem Bundeskanzleramt

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel has been Federal Chancellor since 2005. Find out more about her personal background and political career.

Angela Merkel als Kind

Childhood in Brandburg

1954 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.

Angela Merkel und ihre Eltern


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

1973 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.

1977 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.

1981 The couple separated in 1981 and divorced the following year.

1986 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.

Angela Merkel telefoniert im Rahmen ihres Engagements beim 'Demokratischen Aufbruch'

Peaceful revolution

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."

Angela Merkel mit Lothar de Maizière im Flugzeug

Government spokesperson

1990 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.

Angela Merkel beim CDU Parteitag 1991

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.

Angela Merkel bei ihrer Vereidigung als Bundesministerin für Frauen und Jugend

Minister for Women and Youth

1991 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.

Erste Kabinettssitzung der ersten gesamtdeutschen Regierung mit Angela Merkel (l.), Bundesministerin für Frauen und Jugend und Hannelore Rönsch (r.), Bundesministerin für Familie und Senioren.23.01.1991 ,Frauenministerin

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.

Helmut Kohl und Angela Merkel während einer Bundestagssitzung 1992

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.

Angela Merkel 1995 in Bergmannskleidung beim Besuch der Atomanlagen Gorleben

The environment

1994 In 1994 Angela Merkel was appointed Federal Environment Minister.

DEUTSCHLAND, BAD HONNEF, 12.01.1995, Angela MERKEL, Bundesministerin für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit, in der Wasserkontrollstation Bad Honnef. BM Merkel hält ein Reagenzglas mit Wasser hoch. - 12.01.1995

Climate protection

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...

Angela Merkel als Umweltministerin während einer Rede im Bundestag

…and of the Closed Substance Cycle Act.

Bundesparteitag der CDU und Wahl des neuen Parteivorstandes: Die neu gewählte Generalsekretärin Angela Merkel nimmt den Applaus der Delegierten entgegen; li. derneue Parteivorsitzende Wolfgang Schäuble- Bonn,- 07.11.1998

1998 In November 1998 Angela Merkel was elected Secretary General of her party, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands, CDU).

CDU-Vorsitzende Angela Merkel 2005 vor der CDU/CSU-Fraktionssitzung

Party leader

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.

Angela Merkel im Gespräch mit Gerhard Schröder und Franz Müntefering

Federal Chancellor

In September 2005, Angela Merkel won the early elections to the Bundestag, beating the then Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Angela Merkel mit Matthias Platzeck und Edmund Stoiber nach der Unterzeichnung des Koalitionsvertrages

Grand Coalition

After six weeks of negotiations, the CDU, CSU and SPD agreed to form a Grand Coalition led by Angela Merkel.

Angela Merkel 2005 bei ihrer Vereidigung als Bundeskanzlerin

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.


Hosting summits

2007 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.

Bundeskanzlerin Merkel nimmt die Wahl zur Bundeskanzlerin an

Re-elected Federal Chancellor

2009 “Mr President, I accept the election.” On 28 October 2009 the Bundestag elected Angela Merkel as Federal Chancellor for the second time.



2010 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

2011 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.

Im Stadion

In the stadium

Whether it’s the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany...

Alpine Ski-WM

...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”.

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel im Gespräch mit Papst Benedikt XVI. in der Bibliothek der Repräsentanz der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz 2011 in Berlin.

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

2012 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.

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel wird von Papst Franziskus zu einer Privataudienz im Apostolischen Palast empfangen.

2013 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.

Angela Merkel receiving a bouquet of flowers after being re-elected Chancellor

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 presenting Chancellor Angela Merkel with her letter of appointment

President Joachim Gauck presented Angela Merkel with her letter of appointment and wished her every success.

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel und Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck (beide M.) mit der deutschen Mannschaft nach dem gewonnenen Fußball-WM-Endspiel in der Kabine im Maracana Stadion (r. Bundestrainer Joachim Löw).

1:0 - the fourth star!

2014 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.

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel im Gespräch mit Bürgerinnen und Bürgern während eines Bürgerdialogs 'Gut leben in Deutschland 'Was uns wichtig ist' in der Kulturbrauerei.

What do you think is important in life? What, in your opinion, is characteristic of the quality of life in Germany?

2015 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.

Familienfoto der G7-Staats- und Regierungschefs: EU-Ratspräsident Tusk, Japans Premierminister Abe, Kanadas Premier Harper, US-Präsident Obama, Kanzlerin Merkel, Frankreichs Präsident Hollande, Großbritanniens Premier Cameron, Italiens Ministerpräsident …

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 mit Ehemann Joachim Sauer auf Gut Hohen Luckow

Angela Merkel has been married to Joachim Sauer, a Professor of Chemistry, since 1998.

Angela Merkel beim Klassentreffen 1992


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 und ihr Ehemann Joachim Sauer

Angela Merkel and Joachim Sauer

Angela Merkel and Joachim Sauer live in the Mitte district of Berlin, right next to the historic Museum Island.

Photo credits

Legal notice

Data privacy information

© 2018 The Press and Information Office of the Federal Government