Angela Merkel: Six exciting facts about the Chancellor

Much is already known about Angela Merkel. However, there are also lesser known facts about the Chancellor – including the following six.

She certainly hadn't imagined the penultimate year of her reign: Chancellor Angela Merkel (66) has faced an unprecedented challenge since the start of the corona pandemic. The rising number of infections and victims was followed by the shutdown of all public life in the Federal Republic, a complete shutdown, the consequences of which will keep the Chancellor and her successors occupied for a long time. Nevertheless, Merkel, known for her pragmatism, remained calm, even though she was temporarily in quarantine at home and had to continue government business from there.

Merkel enjoys broad approval and trust from citizens and political Germany amid the unprecedented crisis. Recently there was also criticism. The reason: Merkel initially did not wear mouth-nose protection during her public appearances. At a press conference, the CDU politician, who has been spotted with a mask since then, said that she did not have to wear protection as long as she "complied with the distance rules".

On Friday (July 17), Merkel, who will be vacating her seat on the executive chair in the Chancellery in 2021 after 16 years, will celebrate her 66th birthday. How will she celebrate this day? Probably with her husband Joachim Sauer (71). Perhaps they are also chatting about US President Donald Trump (74), who Merkel once described on the phone as "stupid", as has just been announced. Maybe she's also celebrating with a glass of cherry vodka, the drink that young student Angela Kasner said "image" tasted good at. Why she neither bears her birth name nor that of her husband today is revealed by one of the following six facts.

1. At university parties she was behind the counter

"I was the barmaid," Angela Merkel answered seven years ago when asked by an "image" reporter what her job at student parties in the former GDR was. In the background, 60 percent of East and 40 percent of West music are said to have sounded out of the speakers. Merkel preferred the Western artists, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. In the interview, she said: "I bought my first Beatles record in Moscow."

2. She still bears the last name of her first husband

Angela Merkel was born in 1954 as Angela Kasner in Hamburg. Since December 30, 1998 she has been married to the quantum chemist Joachim Sauer, whom she met 14 years earlier. The last name Merkel comes from her first husband Ulrich Merkel, with whom she was married from 1977 to 1982.

3. It almost didn't end up with the CDU, but with the SPD

Although the politician Merkel has been a member of the CDU for almost 30 years, she had not been particularly concerned with the Christian Democrats before. On the contrary. "I don't want to have anything to do with the CDU," according to a "Zeit" article from 2015. In a lecture, publicist and ex-politician Vera Lengsfeld (68) even claimed that Merkel flirted with membership of the SPD before the fall of the GDR in autumn 1989.

The young politician, who was later to serve as the party's leader for 18 years – from 2000 to 2018 – came to the CDU almost indirectly. In 1989 she joined the group Democratic Dawn (DA), which later officially became a party and merged with the Eastern CDU. 1990 also followed the merger with the West German part of the party and the union to the overall CDU, through which Merkel automatically became a member of the Union.

4. On the night of the fall of the Berlin Wall, she celebrated briefly and went to bed early

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, thousands of people celebrated into the early hours of the morning – but not Angela Merkel, then 35 years old. After a sauna session, she only celebrated briefly with strangers in an apartment in West Berlin, drank her first "West Beer" and went home "sometime at one or half past one" because she had to work the next day. According to a report by the "BZ" 2014, she told this at a panel discussion in Groß-Gerau.

5. Thanks to her election as Chancellor in 2005, she is "first" three times

Seven Chancellors led the country's fortunes before Angela Merkel, all of them men. With her election in 2005, the physicist became the first Federal Chancellor in German history and the first scientist to hold this office. Thanks to her East German roots, Merkel is also the first chancellor from the new federal states. She also differs from her predecessors in age – at 51, Merkel was the youngest person to be sworn in when she was sworn in.

6. When she said goodbye to Barack Obama, she showed feelings

In 2016, the then US President Barack Obama (58) went on a farewell tour and made one last stop in Berlin. His close adviser Ben Rhodes (42) reported three years later in his book "In the White House: Years with Barack Obama" how the visit went – and revealed interesting facts about the relationship between his boss and Angela Merkel. So the two of them would have had dinner together for three hours; longer than Obama ever dined with another head of state during his tenure. At the farewell, "a single tear" flashed out in her eye – a rarity for the otherwise self-controlled Angela Merkel.