World Mayor vote 20/21

German mayors
By City Mayors Research

ON THIS PAGE: German cities ||| Political parties ||| German mayors ||| German local government |||

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German mayorsGerman cities and mayors
December 2020: Germany is a country made up of thousands of towns and cities, all with directly elected mayors. A city (Großstadt) is officially defined as an administration unit with a population greater than 100,000. As of 2013, there are 76 cities in Germany. Only four cities, Berlin, Hamburg, München (Munich) and Köln (Cologne), are Millionenstädte - cities with a population of more than one million. Nine cities have a population of more than 500,000 people. The mayors’ terms of office vary between five and nine years, depending on the state. Each municipal council is headed by an elected mayor, known as Bürgermeister  - or Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) in most larger cities.

According to the latest statistics (World Urbanization Prospects, 2011 Revision), 74 per cent of Germans (some 63 million people) live in urban areas, ie. in its approximately 6,000 towns and cities. Germany’s 300 largest cities and towns alone house half of the populace. Despite high numbers of one million people immigrating to Germany every year, the size of Germany’s urban population is generally stagnating given its already high rate of urbanisation and a generally decreasing population. There are exceptions to the rule, however, as Berlin and Munich for example are attracting a larger share of newcomers and so are projected to grow by tens of thousands every year until 2030. Other growing cities include Dresden and Leipzig in the eastern half of Germany as well as university cities of all sizes in the West.

Political parties
Social Democrats, SPD (“Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands”); centre-left
Christian Democrats, CDU (“Christlich 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

Mayors of the largest German cities
City, size
website and state
(Mr, Ms)
Popl: 246,000
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Sibylle Keupen (Ms)) Elected 2020; Next election 2025 Born: 1963
Studied pedagogy. Since 2017 deputy chairperson of the German association of art colleges for young people.
Party: Independent. Won the 2020 run-off the mayoral election with the support of the Green Party.
Popl: 277,000
Eva Weber (Ms) Elected 2020 Born 1977
Studied law; Worked for the Bavarian association of savings banks. Since July 2011 head of business & economics at the City of Augsburg. In 2014 elected to the city council.
Party: CSU
Popl: 3,500,000
(Federal capital, city-state)
Michael Müller (Mr) Elected in 2014; Re-elected 2016; Next elections 2021 1964, trained as a printer, previously Mayor and Senator for Urban Development and the Environment, Chairman of the parliamentary faction and State Chairman of the SPD;
Party: SPD
Popl: 330,000
(North Rhine-Westphalia)(Bavaria)(Bavaria)
Pit Clausen (Mr) Elected 2009; re-elected in 2014 and 2020; Next elections 2025 Born 1962
Studied law at University of Bielefeld and practicing lawyer, councillor since 1994, lost first candidature in 2004; Re-elected to a third term with more than 56% of the vote.
Party: SPD
Popl: 362,000;
Thomas Eiskirch (Mr) Elected in 2015; re-elected in 2020
Next elections 2025
Born 1970
Degree in economics from the University Dortmund; Member of the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament from 2005 until 2015.
Party: SPD
Popl: 315,000
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Katja Dörner (Ms) Elected 2020; Next election 2025 Born 1976:
Studied politics in Bonn, York and Edinburgh; From 2009 to 2020 member of the German federal parliament (Bundetag); Defeated the incumbent conservative mayor in the 2020 election.
Party: Green Party
Popl: 252,000
(Lower Saxony)
Ulrich Markurth (Mr) Elected 2014; Next election 2021 Born 1956
University lecturer and advisor to manufacturing industries
Party: SPD
Popl: 548,547;
(Free and Hanseatic city, city-state)
Andreas Bovenschulte (Mr) Elected 2019; Next elections 2023 Born 1965
Studied law in Bremen; From 2007 to 2019 first deputy then mayor of Weyhe near Bremen
Party: SPD
Popl: 250,000
Sven Schulze (Mr) Elected 2020;Next elections 2027 Born 1971
Studied business at Chemnitz University; Following military service, he joined regional utility company and worked in corporate communication. Between 2015 and 2020 member of Chemnitz city council.
Party: SPD
Cologne / Köln
Popl: 1,100,000
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Henriette Reker (Ms) Elected 2015; Re-elected 2020; Next election 2025 Born 1956. Lawyer. Survived assassination attempt on eve of polling day.
The assault was prompted by her pro-migration policies.
Deputy Mayor of Koln/Cologne 2010-2015 responsible for integration, social affairs and environment. Deputy Mayor in City of Gelsenkirchen 2000 – 2010. First female mayor of Köln/Cologne. Awarded Mayor of Distinction by World Mayor 2018
Party: Independent
Popl: 156,000
Jochen Partsch (Mr) Elected 2010; Re-elected in first round in 2017;
Next election 2023
Born 1962
Formerly worked in marketing, social services and for Darmstadt University as a lecturer
Party: Green
Popl: 577,000;
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Thomas Westphal (Mr) Elected 2020;
Next elections 2025
Born 1967
In 1993 elected leader of Germany’s Young Socialists (Jusos); As a mature student studied economics in Hamburg; Co-publisher of Spw, a journal for socialist politics and business; Appointed head of Dortmund’s economic development department in 2014; Promoted the establishment of knowledge-based start-ups.
Party: SPD
Popl: 532,000;
(State capital of Saxony)
Dirk Hilbert (Mr) Elected July 2015.
Next elections 2022
Born 1971
Elected mayor after being proposed by the Independent
Citizens for Dresden and subsequently supported by CDU after first round.
He was a Deputy Mayor and Acting Mayor of Dresden between 2008 – 2015.
Qualified in engineering and worked in aviation sector in 1990’s. Subsequently
worked as Assistant Secretary Economic Affairs City of Dresden. Received death threats after he said the city was not innocent during the Nazi years.
Party: FDP
Popl: 488,000;
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Sören Link (Mr) Elected in July 2012; Re-elected 2017; Next elections 2025 Born 1976,
Joined SPD in 1993, member of state parliament 2005-2012, working in education, media and home affairs committees;
Party: SPD
Popl: 600,000;
(State capital of North Rhine-Westphalia)
Stephan Keller (Mr) Elected 2020;
Next elections 2025
Born 1970
Studied law in Bayreuth and Birmingham; PhD from Ruhr University in Bochum; Between 2006 and 2016 worked in various capacities for the City of Düsseldorf; From 2017 to 2020 city manager in Cologne, often deputising for Mayor Henriette Reker.
Party: CDU
Popl: 211,000
Andreas Bausewein (Mr) Elected 2006; Re-elected 2012 and 2018; Next election 2024 Born 1973
Politician; Former Deputy in state parliament.
Controversially wrote in 2015 that children of asylum seekers should not have access to schooling until their status had been confirmed.
Party; SPD
Popl: 575,000
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Thomas Kufen (Mr) Elected September 2015. Re-elected 2020; Next elections 2025 Born 1973
Kufen worked in the private sector in a sales capacity from 1994 to 2004 and was a member of state Parliament 2012 to 2015. From 2005 to 2010 commissioner for integration
of state government NRW
Party: CDU
Frankfurt am Main
Popl: 705,000;
Peter Feldmann (Mr) Elected in 2012, re-elected 2018; Next election 2024
Born 1959, an economist and political scientist. First Jewish mayor of a major German city since WWII. One of the founders of the group Jewish Social Democrats within the Social Democratic Party; 1989-2012 served as City Councilor and party deputy Chairman focused on children, youths, the unemployed and elderly care issues;
Party: SPD
Popl: 228,000
Martin Horn (Mr) Elected 2018; Next elections 2026 Born 1984
Co-ordinator for European affairs at the City of Sindelfingen; Visiting lecturer at Protestant College of Ludwigsburg; MA in European and world politics from University of Bremen;
Party: Independent but supported by SPD
Pop: 258.000
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Karin Welge (Ms) Elected 2020;
Next election 2025
Born 1962
Studied law and European politics; From 1992 to 1997 lecturer in public administration in Cologne; Elected Gelsenkirchen city councillor in 2011; Since 2015 responsible for municipal finance.
Party: SPD
Popl: 189,044
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Erik Schulz (Mr) Elected 2014; Re-elected in 2020; Next election 2025 Born 1966
Management career. From 2000 to 2014 managed a public sector agency.
Campaigned for mayor with cross-party support. Now leads a Centre-Right coalition.
Party: Independent
Popl: 236,991
( Sachsen Anhalt)
Paul Wiegand (Mr) Elected 2012; Re-elected 2019 Born 1957
Lecturer in administrative law (1998 to 2008); Assistant mayor (Beigeordneter) at Halle (2008 to 2012); Longlisted for the 20/21 World Mayor Prize
Party: Independent
Popl: 1,800,000;
(Free and Hanseatic city, city-state)
Peter Tschentscher (Mr) Succeeded Olaf Scholz when he was appointed German Minister of Finance in March 2018; Re-elected in 2020 Born 1966
Lawyer, Doctor of Medicine. From 1994 until 2008 he practiced at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf. Hamburg Finance Senator from 2011 until 2018.
Party: SPD
Popl: 179,397
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Marc Herter (Mr) Elected 2020; Next election 2025 Born 1974
Studied law at Münster University; 1994 to 2014 member of Hamm’s city council; From 2010 to 2020 member of the North-Rhine Westphalia state parliament
Party: SPD
Hanover / Hannover
Popl: 520,000;
(State capital of Lower Saxony)
Belit Onay Elected 2019 Born 1981
After civil service, he studied law in Hannover and Bremen; Joined the SPD as a pupil but left the party and then attached himself to a conservative student organisation. Joined the Green Party in 2008; From 2011 to 2014 Green city councillor in Hannover; From 2013 to 2019 member of Lower Saxony state parliament.
His parents came to Germany as ‘guest workers’ in the 1970s. He once described himself as a ‘liberal Muslim’. He caused controversy when he said Hannover should accept more refugees from the Greek refugee camps. Since elected mayor, has solving the homeless crisis one of his priorities. Longlisted for the 20/21 World Mayor Prize.
Party: The Greens
Popl: 158,000
Eckhardt Wurzner (Mr) Elected 2006. Re-elected 2014; Next elections 2022 Born 1961
Lecturer and former consultant on environmental energy
Deputy Mayor 2000-2006
Since 2006 President of EU Energy Cities Network
Party: Independent
Popl: 157,000
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Dr Frank Dudda (Mr) Elected 2015; Re-elected 2020; Next elections 202 Born 1963
Lawyer; Practised law between 2002 and 2015
Party: SPD
Popl: 133,000
Christian Scharpf (Mr) Elected 2020; Next elections 2026 Born 1971
Apprenticeship in banking; He later studied commercial and European law; Practised law between 2002 and 2004. Between 2004 and 2020 employed by the Bavarian capital city of Munich first in the legal department, later in the lord mayor’s office.
Party: SPD
Popl: 296,000
Frank Mentrup (Mr) Elected 2012;
Next elections December 2020
Born 1964
trained paramedic and doctor, 1993-2011 practising psychiatrist for children and young people, 2006-2013 member of state parliament working on youth and education issues;
Party: SPD
Popl: 199,000
Christian Geselle (Mr) Elected 2017; Next election 2023 Born 1976
Previous occupations include police officer in Frankfurt for 10 years and lawyer. Member of the Kassel City Council for 10 years including City Treasurer 2015 - 2017. Following major financial losses in the 2017 edition of Documenta, Kassel’s trademark art event, Christian Geselle called for the disbandment of its supervisory board.
Party: SPD
Popl: 246,306
Dr Ulf Kämpfer (Mr) Elected 2014; Re-elected 2019; Next elections 2024 Born 1972
Studied law in Göttingen and Galway (Ireland) as well as research at Columbia Uni, NYC.
Lawyer, former judge and member of the state government.
Backed by smaller parties.
Salary: €132,414 p.a.
Party: SPD
Popl: 226,000
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Frank Meyer (Mr) Elected 2014; Re-elected in 2020; Next elections 2025 Born 1974
MA in political management
Joined SPD in 1992
Deputy Mayor 2009-2014; City Council member 1999-2009
Has smaller party support
Party: SPD
Popl: 533.000
Burkhard Jung (Mr) Elected 2006; re-elected 2013 and 2020; Next elections 2027 Born 1958
Teacher, later school principal, involved in 2012 Leipzig Olympic Games bid and 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, board member of EUROCITIES and German Association of Towns and Cities.
Party: SPD
Popl: 164,000
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Uwe Richrath (Mr) Elected 2015; Re-elected 2020; Next election 2025 Born 1961
Textile retailer
City councillor from 2009 to 2015.
Party: SPD
Popl: 217,000
Jan Lindenau (Mr) Elected November 2017, took office May 2018; Next election 2024 Born 1979
Lübeck city councillor from 2011 to 2018. Worked previously in the financial sector.
Party: SPD
Popl: 166,000
Jutta Steinruck (Ms) Elected October 2017; In office since January 2018; Next election 2025 Born 1962
From 2009 until end of 2017, Member of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2017
Party: SPD
Popl: 237,000
Dr Lutz Trumper (Mr) Elected 2001. Re-elected 2008, 2015; Next elections 2022 Born 1955
Degree in Science; From 1992 to 2000 at the University of Magdeburg;
Minister in state government 2000-2002;
Party: SPD; Left the SPD in 2015 because differences over immigration. He argued that Magdeburg could not accept more refugees.  He was re-admitted to the SPD in 2017
Popl: 209,779
Michael Ebling (Mr) Elected 2012; Re-elected 2019; Next election 2026 Born 1967
Studied lay in Mainz
Politician and political advisor;
Member of City Council 1994-2002;
From 2006 to 2012 Minister of State for education and science in state government
Party: SPD
Popl: 298,000
Peter Kurz (Mr) Elected 2007; Re-elected 2015; Next elections 2023 Born 1962
Lawyer and judge, PhD, councillor since 1984, became mayor for education, culture and sports in 1999 until elected Lord mayor; Passionate supporter of green policies; He participated in Habitat III; Also attended the 2018 World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur and the 2020 Forum in Abu Dhabi
Party: SPD
Popl: 258,000
North Rhine-Westphalia
Felix Heinrichs (Mr) Elected September 2020; Next elections 2025 Born 1989.
Studied history and politics in Düsseldorf; Between 2013 and 2020 managing director of a private care home for elderly citizens.
Party: SPD
Mülheim / Ruhr
Popl: 170,000
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Marc Buchholz (Mr) Elected 2020; Next elections 2025 Born 1968
Founded the employment agency and advice centre ‘AkZent’ in 1998. The centre offered career and employment advice to students from the Mercator University in Duisburg. From 2005 to 2019 responsible for areas like education, youth and sport at the Town of Kevelaer.
Party: CDU
Munich / München
Popl: 1,410,000
(State capital, Bavaria)
Dieter Reiter (Mr) Elected 2014; Re-elected 2020; Next elections 2026 Born 1958
Studied public administration, 1981-2009 worked for the city administration of Munich, became city councillor in 2009 and joined the SPD in 2011;
Party: SPD
Popl: 301,000
(University town, North Rhine-Westphalia)
Markus Lewe (Mr) Elected 2009; Re-elected 2015 and 2020
Next elections 2025
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: 500,000
Marcus König (Mr) Elected 2020; Next elections 2026 Born 1980
After finishing college education, he completed a training programme in banking with the Dresdner Bank. After the merger of Dresdner Bank with Commerzbank, he managed a number of branches of the newly merged bank from 2011 to 2017. He joined the conservative CSU party as a 14-year old in 1994.
Party: CSU
( North- Rhine Westphalia)
Daniel Schranz (Mr) Elected 2015; Re-elected in 2020; Next election 2025 Born 1974
After his studies in economic history, he worked for a number of educational and political institutions.
From 2001 to 2015 member of Oberhausen municipal council and later leader of the CDU in the regional council of the Ruhr region.
Party: CDU
Popl: 165,000
(Lower Saxony)
Jurgen Krogmann (Mr) Elected 2014; Next election 2021 Born 1963
Formerly a local government official and a journalist;
Member of state parliament 2008 – 2014
City Council member 2011-2014
Party: SPD
Popl: 163,000
(Lower Saxony)
Wolfgang Griesert (Mr) Elected 2013; Next election 2021 Born 1957
Studied architecture at Dortmund University:
Construction Assessor
Worked in local government
City Council member 2005-2013
Party: CDU
Popl: 170,000
Mike Schubert (Mr) Elected 2018; Next election 2026 Born 1973
Apprentices in industrial electronics and retail; Military service, as reservist detached to peace keeping in Kosovo; From 2004 to 2016 occupied various management position in Brandenburg’s state government. From 2016 to 2018 responsible social services at City of Potsdam.
Party: SPD
Popl: 207,000
Claus Ruhe Madsen (Mr) Elected 2019; Next election 2026 Born 1972 in Copenhagen
First foreign mayor of a large German city (Grossstadt)
Came to Germany in 1992; Worked first as retail salesman; In 1998 managing director of a furniture chainstore; Since 2015 vice president of the German-Danish Chamber of Commerce in Copenhagen.
Party: Independent but supported by the conservative CDU and the liberal FDP
Popl: 180,000
Uwe Conradt (Mr) Elected 2019; Next elections 2027 Born 1977
He received a BA in business from the Saarland University and an MA in media law from the Johannes-Gutenberg University in Mainz. Since 1990 member of the CDU. Since 2009 member to the Saarbruecken city council. From 2012 to 2016 member of the state parliament of the Saarland.
Party: CDU
Popl: 159,000
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Tim Kurzbach (Mr) Elected 2015; Re-electd in 2020; Next election 2025 Born 1978 in Solingen;
Social Agencies Manager
Prominent in the Catholic Church in the region.
Elected with support of Green Party.
Party: SPD
Popl: 607,000
(State capital of Baden-Württemberg)
Frank Nopper (Mr) Elected 2020; Next election 2028 Born 1961;
15-months military service; 3-year banking apprenticeship with Dresdner Bank; Studied law in Tübingen and Speyer; PhD from University Tübingen; From 2002 to 2020 Mayor of Backnang (Baden-Württemberg).
Party: CDU
Popl: 277.000
(State capital of Hesse)
Gert-Uwe Mende (Mr) Elected 2019; Next election 2025 Born 1974 in Bonn
Studied history, politics and economics at University of Göttingen; Trainee journalist; From 1991 to 1999 press spokesman for the Hesse interior minister; Since 1999 first press spokesman and then leader of the SPD fraction in the Hessian parliament
Party: SPD
Popl: 345,000
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Uwe Schneidewind (Mr) Elected 2020; Next elections 2025 Born 1966
Studied business & commerce at the University of Cologne. Doctorate from St Gallen University in Economics and Environment. From 1998 to 2008 professor at Oldenburg University. From 2010 to 2020 Head of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
Party: Green Party
The research was carried out in November 2020

Local government in Germany
Germany is a federal parliamentary democracy, made up of 16 federal states (Länder). The Länder are North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, 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 five year term which in turn appoints the state administration (Landsregierung) headed by a minister-president (Ministerpräsident). The Länder are mainly responsible for 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 for 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 Hesse 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.

Today there are around 14,000 municipalities across Germany. 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 depending on 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, municipal) 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 with their own budgets.

All public services are generally managed locally, like (waste) water management, waste disposal, energy supply and such. The municipality is free to handle activities in these fields on their own or decide to outsource them to private businesses, which has become a common practice during recent years. Other voluntary activities are overseen by the municipality as well. In addition, most activities commissioned by the Land are carried out by the responsible municipal administrations as the lowest official body in the federal system. These include the organisation of elections, the registration for the military and so on.

Recommended further reading
Germany's greenest cities
Salaries of German mayors
The participation of citizens in German local government
Local government in Germany shaped by regional differences