It’s not easy being the most powerful woman of the world. It’s far more difficult to be the longest serving elected head of state of a powerful European country. And, it’s certainly a humongous job to continuously be known as the ‘Leader of the free world’.
But when you are Angela Dorothea Kasner, better known as Angela Merkel, all this isn’t so difficult after all!
Merkel was born in Hamburg, West Germany, on July 17, 1954. Her grandfather was born in Poznan, Poland (then a part of Germany) in 1896. Her father Germanized the family name to Kasner in the 1930s and moved the family from West Germany to Soviet-controlled East Germany shortly after Angela was born.
Even though she trained as a physicist, Merkel entered politics after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. She quickly rose to the position of chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union party and post that became Germany’s first female chancellor and one of the leading figures of the European Union.
Here are some interesting ad unknown facts about the leader.
- Angela Merkel tops the 2018’s Forbes’ list of 100 most powerful women.
- She has been named the Forbes ‘Most Powerful Woman in the World’, almost 10 times. In fact, she has been twice ranked second, after Vladimir Putin in the Forbes’s list of ‘The World’s Most Powerful Person’, which is considered to be the highest ranking ever achieved by a woman.
- In 2015, she was named as the Person of Year by Time’s magazine and was addressed as the ‘Chancellor of the Free World’.
- Politically, she has amicable relations with all top politicians including America.
- Merkel has been an elected serving head of state since 2014, the longest in the history of European Union. However, Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom is the longest unelected head.
- A popular leader, she is warmly addressed as ‘Mutti’ by german supporters, which means mommy. In reality she doesn’t have any kids of her own.
- She has a degree in physics and a doctorate in quantum chemistry. At a time, she was the only woman in the theoretical chemistry section at the East German Academy of Sciences. Her role model was Marie Curie.
- Owing to her childhood life in East Germany, erstwhile the Russia controlled part, she is fluent in Russian language.
- Angela’s plum cake is no secret – Other than that, she loves to cook up a meal of potato soup and roulade and is quoted to say that she still makes breakfast for her husband each morning.
- Angela’s ‘Merkel’ – She divorced her first husband, fellow physicist, Ulrich Merkel, after 5 years of marriage. But retained the surname even after marrying Joachim Sauer. The couple have been married since 1998.
- She is a gifted impressionist and loves to do impressions of world leaders like Vladimir Putin, Pope Benedict XVI, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Al Gore.
- A bartender? Yes, that’s right. She worked as a bartender at disco parties in college.
- Very few know that she could have been a secret services agent but refused a position at the Stasi (East German secret police).
- Her husband Joachim Sauer, a professor at Berlin University, dislikes publicity and prefers to fly budget airlines even when he is allowed to travel with Merkel on official planes. The couple loves the opera and going on hikes together.
- Merkel’s love for football is a known fact. She frequently visits German soccer team’s locker rooms to meet them and has even caught soccer star, Bastian Schweinsteiger, naked, by accident.