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In 2014
Mayor of Warsaw, Poland, (12/2014)
Governor of Tokyo, Japan, (11/2014)
Mayor of Wellington, New Zealand (10/2014)
Mayor of Sucre, Miranda, Venezuela (09/2014)
Mayor of Vienna, Austria (08/2014)
Mayor of Lampedusa, Italy (07/2014)
Mayor of Ghent, Belgium (06/2014)
Mayor of Montería, Colombia (05/2014)
Mayor of Liverpool, UK (04/2014)
Mayor of Pittsford Village, NY, USA (03/2014)
Mayor of Surabaya, Indonesia (02/2014)
Mayor of Santiago, Chile (01/2014)

In 2013
Mayor of Soda, India (12/2013)
Mayor of Zaragoza (11/2013)
Mayor of Marseille (10/2013)
Mayor of Schwäbisch Gmünd (09/2013)
Mayor of Detroit (08/2013)
Mayor of Moore (07/2013)
Mayor of Mexico City (06/2013)
Mayor of Cape Town (05/2013)
Mayor of Lima (04/2013)
Mayor of Salerno (03/2013)
Governor of Jakarta (02/2013)
Mayor of Rio de Janeiro (01/2013)

In 2012
Mayor of Izmir (12/2012)
Mayor of San Antonio (11/2012)
Mayor of Thessaloniki (10/2012)
Mayor of London (09/2012)
Mayor of New York (08/2012)
Mayor of Bilbao (07/2012)
Mayor of Bogotá (06/2012)
Mayor of Perth (05/2012)
Mayor of Mazatlán (04/2012)
Mayor of Tel Aviv (03/2012)
Mayor of Surrey (02/2012)
Mayor of Osaka (01/2012)

In 2011
Mayor of Ljubljana (12/2011)

World Mayor 2014

Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |

German Mayors
Researched and edited by Jonas Schorr

9 November 2011: Germany is a country of thousands of medium-sized towns and cities, all with directly elected mayors. The mayors’ terms of office vary between five and nine years, depending on the state. Only four cities, Berlin, Hamburg, München (Munich) and Köln (Cologne), are Millionenstädte - cities with a population of more than one million. Another nine German cities have a population of more than 500,000 people. Each municipal council is headed by an elected mayor, known as Bürgermeister  - or Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) in larger cities.

According to statistics from 2010 by the CIA World Factbook, 74 per cent of Germany’s total population - some 63 million people - currently live in the country’s urban areas, ie in its approximately 6,000 towns and cities. The country’s 300 largest cities are home to nearly half of all Germans. However, between 2010 and 2015, the projected size of Germany’s urban population is no longer expected to grow, given its already high rate of urbanisation and a generally decreasing population.

Mayors of the largest German cities
(Readers are invited to supply information on additional German cities and mayors. Please insert ‘German mayors’ in the subject line of any emails.)

City, size
website and state
(Mr, Ms)
Popl: 258,664
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Marcel Philipp (Mr) Elected 2009
Next elections 2015
Born 1971, formerly art master and conservator, active in local politics since early 1990s and councilor since 1999
Party: CDU*
Popl: 264,708
Kurt Gribl (Mr) Elected 2008
Next elections 2014
Born 1964, PhD in law from University of Augsburg and practicing lawyer
Party: CSU*
Popl: 3,460,725
(Federal capital, city-state)
Klaus Wowereit (Mr) Elected since 2001 (2006, 2011)
Next elections 2016
Born 1953, studied law at Free University Berlin, became Berlin's youngest councilor at age 30, famous as Germany's first openly gay mayor, also Vice Chairman of SPD
Party: SPD*
Popl: 323,270
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Pit Clausen (Mr) Elected 2009
Next elections 2015
Born 1962, studied law at University of Bielefeld and practicing lawyer, councilor since 1994, lost first candidature in 2004;
Party: SPD
Popl: 374,737;
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Ottilie Scholz (Ms) Elected since 2004 (2009)
Next elections 2015
Born 1948, PhD in sociology, psychology and pedagogy, politically active since 1980s, city manager of Castrop-Rauxel 1997-9
Party: SPD
Popl: 324,899;
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Jürgen Nimptsch (Mr) Elected 2009
Next elections 2015
Born 1954, teacher, actor, school director 1996-2009
Party: SPD
Popl: 547,340;
(Free and Hanseatic city, city-state)
Jens Böhrnsen (Mr) Elected 2005 (2007, 2011);
Next elections 2015
Born 1949, studied law at University of Kiel, judge, coucilor since 1995, President of Federal Council of Germany 2009-2010 and shortly President of the Federal Republic of Germany
Party: SPD
Cologne / Köln
Popl: 1,007,119
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Jürgen Roters (Mr) Elected 2009
Next elections 2015
Born 1949, national champion in athletics, then lawyer, now also President of the German athletics team
Party: SPD, candidature also supported by Greens*
Popl: 580,444;
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Ullrich Sierau (Mr) Elected 2009 (2010)
Next elections 2015
Born 1956, fled East Germany in his youth, studied urban planning at TU Dortmund, active civil servant since 1986
Party: SPD
Popl: 523,058;
(State capital of Saxony)
Helma Orosz (Ms) Elected 2008
Next elections 2015
Born 1953, kindergarden teacher by vocation who became principle, started studies in public administration aged 45, engaged in politics since 2000
Party: CDU
Popl: 489,559;
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Adolf Sauerland (Mr) Elected since 2004 (2009)
Next elections 2015
Born 1955, studied mechanical engineering, history and pedagogy in Duisburg, CDU party member since 1980; survived confidence vote in 2010 after Love Parade catastrophy with 22 casualties; may face a recall referendum in March 2012
Party: CDU
Popl: 588,735;
(State capital of North Rhine-Westphalia)
Dirk Elbers (Mr) Elected 2008
Next elections 2014
Born 1959, studied business administration and became real estate manager, councilor since 1996, elected mayor in 2004, then Lord mayor in 2008 after sudden death of incumbent
Party: CDU
Popl: 574,635
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Reinhard Paß (Mr) Elected 2009
Next elections 2015
Born 1955, studied chemistry, councilor since 1994
Party: SPD
Frankfurt am Main
Popl: 679,664;
Peter Feldmann (Mr) Elected in 2012
Next elections 2018
Born 1959, an economist and political scientist. First Jewis mayor of a major VGerman city since WWII. One of the founders of the group Jewish Social Democrats within the Social Democratic Party
Party: SPD
Popl: 1,786,448;
(Free and Hanseatic city, city-state)
Olaf Scholz (Mr) Elected 2011
Next elections 2015
Born 1958, lawyer, active in politics since the 1975, general secretary of the SPD, 2002-2004, and Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, 2007-2009
Party: SPD
Hanover / Hannover
Popl: 522,686;
(State capital of Lower Saxony)
Stephan Weil (Mr) Elected 2006
Next elections 2014
Born 1958, lawyer, politically active since mid-1990s, chairs the board of trustees of several public and and private organisations
Party: SPD
Popl: 294,761
Heinz Fenrich (Mr) Elected since 1998 (2006)
Next elections 2014
Born 1945, studied business finance, worked at a bank, councilor since 1980, since 1991 mayor before becoming Lord Mayor, Presidium Member of the Federation of German Cities and Towns
Party: CDU
Popl: 522.883
Burkhard Jung (Mr) Elected 2006
Next elections 2013
Born 1958, first teacher then school principal, involved in 2012 Leipzig Olympic Games bid and 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Presidium Member at EUROCITIES and German Association of Towns and Cities
Party: SPD
Popl: 313,174
(University town, Baden-Württemberg)
Peter Kurz (Mr) Elected 2007
Next elections 2015
Born 1962, lawyer and judge, PhD, councilor since 1984, became mayor for education, culture and sports in 1999 until elected Lord mayor
Party: SPD
Munich / München
Popl: 1,353,186
(State capital, Bavaria)
Christian Ude (Mr) Elected 1993, 1999, 2002, 2008
Next elections 2014
*1947, journalist and lawyer, politically active since 1966, elected as second mayor in 1990 by the municipal council; cannot candidate again in 2014 because of age restriction instead he will be his party's candidate for state premier
Party: SPD
Popl: 279,803
(University town, North Rhine-Westphalia)
Markus Lewe (Mr) Elected 2009
Next elections 2014
Born 1965, studied public administration, elected district mayor in 1999, also chairman of the supervisory board of Münster/ Osnabrück airport
Party: CDU
Nuremberg / Nürnberg
Popl: 505,664
Ulrich Maly (Mr) Elected 2002, 2008
Next elections 2014
Born 1960, studied economics and public law, PhD, politically active since 1967, member or president of numerous supervisory boards in publicly owned companies, award juries and charities
Party: SPD
Popl: 606,588
(State capital of Baden-Württemberg)
Wolfgang Schuster (Mr) Elected 1997, 2004
Next elections 2012
Born 1949, studied law and public policy (also at École nationale d'administration, Paris), PhD, mayor of Schwäbisch Gmünd 1986-1993, deputy mayor of Stuttgart until 1996, sits in many national and international supervisory boards, has declared he would not be a candidate at the next elections
Party: CDU
Popl: 275.976
(State capital of Hesse)
Helmut Müller (Mr) Elected 2007
Next elections 2013
Born 1952, studied economics, PhD, involved in federal and state politics since 1984, entered local politics in 2002, was elected mayor in 2006 prior to becoming Lord mayor the following year
Party: CDU
Popl: 349,721
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Peter Jung (Mr) Elected 2004, 2009
Next elections 2014
Born 1955, vocational training as banker, later studied business administration (European Business School, Oestrich-Winkel), 1981-2004 employed in private business sector, elected mayor in 2000 prior to becoming Lord mayor
Party: CDU
*Political parties:
Social Democrats, SPD (“Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands”); centre-left
Christian Democrats, CDU (“Christlisch-Demokratische Union”); centre-right
Christian Social Union, CSU (“Christlich-Soziale Union”); centre-right, “sister” party of CDU active only in Bavaria
The Greens (“Die Grünen”); centre-left, environmental
**Population numbers as of 31 December 2010, compiled from the regional statistical offices in Germany and the Federal Statistical Office Germany (DESTATIS)

Local government in Germany
Additional contributions by Urs Enke, Gregor Gosciniak,
Irmelind Kirchner and Jens Tessmann

Germany is a federal parliamentary democracy, made up of 16 federal states (Länder). The Länder are Northrhine Westphalia, Bavaria; Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Schleswig-Holstein, Sachsen-Anhalt, Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rheinland Pfalz, Saarland, and Thuringia, and the city-states Hamburg, Berlin and Bremen.

Each Land elects a regional parliament, or Landtag, for a four year term and this in turn appoints an administration (Landsregierung) headed by a minister-president (Ministerpräsident). The Länder are responsible for areas such as culture, education, environment and policing, with a number of shared responsibilities with the federal government over legal and penal issues.

In all but one of the 16 Länder, the council system exists whereby each local government, in the form of the municipal council, is generally elected on a five year term, though this can vary between four and six years. Each council is headed by an elected mayor, known as the Bürgermeister  - or Oberbürgermeister in larger cities - who acts as head of both the council and the administration. The mandate can vary from four to nine years. In the Land of Hessen however, the magistrat system is used, whereby the mayor presides over magistrates appointed by the council to act as the administration. Common responsibilities of this tier include planning, water management, social welfare and the building and maintenance of schools. Some councils also engage in cultural, economic development and energy-related activities, depending on the Land.

There are around 14,000 municipalities in the 16 Lander. Above the local tier and beneath the Länder, a tier of 300 units of local administration known as Kreise (districts) also exists. These are overseen by a district council, with a mandate varying between one and four years, again according to the Land. Aside from the legislative function of its council, the administration (Landratsamt) is headed by a district president (Landrat), who is either appointed by the council or directly elected for a five to eight year term. This tier engages in the construction and maintenance of roads, some aspects of social welfare and waste management, though some are also able to engage in tourism promotion, libraries and higher education.
Cities represent the lowest level within the three administrative levels (federal, state, city) in Germany. The Federation and the Länder put certain tasks to the municipalities – they are also supposed to allocate the corresponding funding with it which, in reality, is not always the case. Within the framework of self-administration, the cities organise and administrate their own voluntary activities which they also have to pay for from the cities own budgets.

Voluntary activities are fulfilled by the municipality and the municipality itself decides how these are handled. Another field of activity are the obligatory areas which are not directed from above, like water, waste disposal, energy supply and such. The municipality is free to handle activities in these fields on their own or elect to outsource them to private businesses, which has become a common practice during recent years. The so-called activities commissioned by the Land are carried out by the municipal administration in its area, as the lowest official body in the federal system. These include the organisation of elections, the registration for the military and others.

Recommended further reading
The participation of citizens in German local government
Local government in Germany shaped by regional differences

The winner of the 2012 World Mayor Prize amd other resuts were announced on 8 January 2013

Klaus Wowereit, Mayor of Berlin

Christian Ude, Mayor of Munich

Peter Feldmann, Mayor of Frankfurt

Ottilie Scholz, Mayor of Bochum

Helma Grosz, Mayor of Dresden

Jens Böhrnsen, Mayor of Bremen

Jürgen Roters, Mayor of Cologne

Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg