World Mayor vote 20/21

German mayors
Research by Tann vom Hove and Brian Baker; Additional contribut
ions by Jonas Schorr, Urs Enke, Gregor Gosciniak, Irmelind Kirchner and Jens Tessmann

ON THIS PAGE: German cities ||| Mayors of largest German cities ||| German local government |||

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German cities
July 2019: 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.

Mayors of the largest German cities
City, size
website and state
(Mr, Ms)
Popl: 245,885
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Marcel Philipp (Mr) Elected 2009; Re-elected 2014 in the 1st round; Next election 2020 Born: 1971
Art restorer and artist
City council member since 1999;
Salary: €158,772 p.a.
Party: CDU
Popl: 276,542
Kurt Gribl (Mr) Elected 2008; re-elected in 2014; Next elections 2020 Born 1964, PhD in law from University of Augsburg and practicing lawyer
Party: CSU*
Popl: 3,421,829
(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: 328,864
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Pit Clausen (Mr) Elected 2009; re-elected in 2014; Next elections 2020 Born 1962, studied law at University of Bielefeld and practicing lawyer, councilor since 1994, lost first candidature in 2004;
Party: SPD
Popl: 361,734;
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Thomas Eiskirch (Mr) Elected in 2015
Next elections 2020
Born 1970; Degree in economics from the University Dortmund; Member of the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament from 2005 until 2015.
Party: SPD
Popl: 311,287
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Ashok Alexander Sridharan (Mr) Elected October 2015 with 50.06% of the votes in the first round; Next elections 2020 Formerly City Manager in Konigswinter and previously worked in
other local government administration posts including in Bonn. Qualified in law in 1995.
Born to a German mother and an Indian migrant father in 1965
Party: CDU
Popl: 251,364
(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)
Dr Carsten Sieling (Mr) State council elections took place in May 2019; the centre-right CDU became the largest party but the Social Democrats (SPD), the Grünen (Greens) and the Linke (Left) decided to form a centre-left coalition government. Dr Sieling has decided not to stand for a second term. New Lord Mayor to be elected by the Senate by the end of July 2019. Member of Bundestag 2009 – 2015. Member of Bremen House of Representatives 1995-2009. Doctorate in Economic Sciences which was achieved in 1990’s part – time whilst employed full-time.
Party: SPD
Popl: 248,865
Barbara Ludwig (Ms) Elected 2006; Re-elected 2013; Next elections 2020 Born 1962
State Minister for Arts and Science 2001-2006. Member of the state parliament 1994-2006; Longlistend for the 2018 World Mayor Prize
Party: SPD
Cologne / Köln
Popl: 1,034,175
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Henriette Reker (Ms) Elected October 2015; Next elections September 2021 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. Accused of victim blaming after the assaults in the city at New Year 2016 when she suggested women should adopt a code of conduct including a clothing element. Awarded Mayor of Distinction by World Mayor 2018
Party: Independent
Popl: 155,353
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: 575,944;
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Ullrich Sierau (Mr) Elected 2009; re-elected in 2010 and 2014;
Next elections 2020
Born 1956, fled East Germany in his youth, studied urban planning at TU Dortmund, active civil servant since 1986
Party: SPD
Popl: 530,754;
(State capital of Saxony)
Dirk Hilbert (Mr) Elected July 2015. 54% of the votes
Next elections 2022
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: 486,855;
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Sören Link (Mr) Elected in July 2012; Re-elected 2017; Next elections 2023 1976, joined SPD in 1993, member of state parliament 2005-2012, working in education, media and home affairs committees;
Party: SPD
Popl: 598,686;
(State capital of North Rhine-Westphalia)
Thomas Geisel (Mr) Elected June 2014;
Next elections 2020
Born 1963, son of former Baden-Württemberg state parliament vice-president, studied law and political science in Germany, Switzerland and US, worked from 1994-2013 for federal privatization agency Treuhandanstalt (Berlin) and energy giants Enron (London) and Ruhrgas (Essen); Member of Mayors for Peace
Party: SPD
Popl: 210,178
Andreas Bausewein (Mr) Elected 2006; Re-elected 2012 and 2018; Next election 2024 Born 1973
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: 574,635
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Thomas Kufen (Mr) Elected September 2015;
Next elections September 2021
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: 701,350;
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: 226,393
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: 257.850
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Frank Baranowski (Mr) Elected 2004; Re-elected 2009;
Next election 2019
Born 1962
Teacher for German and history, 1995-2004 member of the state parliament, 2000-2004 deputy chairman of the state SPD faction;
Party: SPD
Popl: 189,044
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Erik Schulz (Mr) Elected 2014; Next election 2020 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; Next election 13 October 2019 Born 1957
Lecturer in administrative law (1998 to 2008); Assistant mayor (Beigeordneter) at Halle (2008 to 2012);
Party: Independent
Popl: 1,746,342;
(Free and Hanseatic city, city-state)
Peter Tschentscher (Mr) Succeeded Olaf Scholz when he was appointed German Minister of Finance in March 2018; Next election February 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)
Thomas Hunsteger-Petermann (Mr) Elected 1999. Re-elected 2004, 2009 and 2014; Next election 2020 Born 1953
Politician; Master butcher; managed family business; Reserve officer in the German army (Bundeswehr)
Party: CDU
Hanover / Hannover
Popl: 518,386;
(State capital of Lower Saxony)
Vacant Stefan Schostock resigned in May 2019 over allegations that he knew about financial irregularities by close associates.
Early elections scheduled for 27 October 2019
A deputy mayor will perform administrative and ceremonial duties
Popl: 156,267
Eckhardt Wurzner (Mr) Elected 2006. Re-elected 2014; Next elections 2022 Born 1961
Lecturer and former consultant on environmental energy
Deputy Mayor 2000-2006
Current (2016) President of EU Energy Cities Network
Party: Independent
Popl: 155,655
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Dr Frank Dudda (Mr) Elected 2015; Next elections 2020 Born 1963
Lawyer; Practised law between 2002 and 2015
Party: SPD
Popl: 132,438
Dr Christian Losel (Mr) Elected 2014; Next election 2020 Born 1974
Master in Business Administration
Council member 2010-2014
Party: CDU
Popl: 294,761
Frank Mentrup (Mr) Elected 2012;
Next elections 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: 197,984
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; Next election 27 October 2019 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: 225,144
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Frank Meyer (Mr) Elected 2014 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: 531.562
Burkhard Jung (Mr) Elected 2006; re-elected 2013; Next elections 2020 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.
Salary: €154,087 p.a.
Party: SPD
Popl: 163,487
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Uwe Richrath (Mr) Elected 2015; Next election 2021 Born 1961
Textile retailer
City councillor from 2009 to 2015
Salary: €133,705 p.a.
Party: SPD
Popl: 216,253
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: 164,718
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
Party: SPD
Popl: 235,723
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
Popl: 209,779
Michael Ebling (Mr) Elected 2012; Next election 27 October 2019 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: 296,690
(University town, Baden-Württemberg)
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
Party: SPD
Popl: 256,853
North Rhine-Westphalia
Hans Wilhelm Reiners (Mr) Elected June 2014; Next election 2020 Born 1955
Employed by CDU from 1998 – 2014. Previously worked as journalist as sports editor at Braunschweiger Zeitung from 1983-1987 and as editor of Rheinische Post from 1987-1998.
Party: CDU
Mülheim / Ruhr
Popl: 169,278
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Ulrich Scholten (Mr) Elected 2015; Next elections 2020 Born 1960
Human Resources Manager
Party: SPD
Munich / München
Popl: 1,407,836
(State capital, Bavaria)
Dieter Reiter (Mr) Elected 2014; Next elections 2020 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: 299,708
(University town, North Rhine-Westphalia)
Markus Lewe (Mr) Elected 2009; Re-elected 2015
Next elections September 2021
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: 498,876
Ulrich Maly (Mr) Elected 2002; re-elected 2008 and 2014; Next elections 2020 Born 1960
Studied economics and public law, PhD, politically active since 1967, member of numerous supervisory boards in publicly owned companies, award juries and charities, since 2013 Vice President of the Association of German Cities;
Party: SPD
( North- Rhine Westphalia)
Daniel Schranz (Mr) Elected 2015; Next election 2020 Born 1974
Management career in private sector
Former member of regional council
Party: CDU
Popl: 163,830
(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: 162,403
(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: 167,745
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: 206,001
Claus Ruhe Madsen (Mr) Elected 2019; Next election 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: 178,151
Charlotte Britz (Ms) Elected 2004. Re-elected 2011; Britz narrowly lost the June 2019 mayoral election to Uwe Conradt from the CDU. He will take over as mayor on 1 October 2019. Born 1958
Joined SPD in 1974
Deputy President of largest municipalities organisation in Germany (Deutscher Staedtetag) since 2015
Awarded World Mayor Commendation 2018
Party: SPD
Popl: 158,726
(North-Rhine Westphalia)
Tim Kurzbach (Mr) Elected 2015; Next election 2020 Born 1978 in Solingen;
Social Agencies Manager
Prominent in Catholic Church in region.
Elected with support of Green Party.
Party: SPD
Popl: 604,297
(State capital of Baden-Württemberg)
Fritz Kuhn (Mr) Elected 2012; Assumed office in January 2013; Next election 2020 Born 1955;
German studies and philosophy, lecturer for linguistics, 2000-2002 Chairman of the Federal Green party, 2002-2013 member of the German federal parliament, 2005-2009 Chairman of the Federal parliament faction;
Party: Green Party
Popl: 275.976
(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: 343,488
(North Rhine-Westphalia)
Andcreas Mucke (Mr) Elected October 2015; Next elections September 2021 Born 1966 in Wuppertal;
After working in environmental technology and materials research, he managed a section of Wuppertal Stadtwerke (municipal utility company) from 2000-2011. From 2011-2015 he was managing director of Wuppertal Quarter Development GmbH. Member of Wuppertal City Council 1994-2011.
Party: SPD

*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 2013, compiled from the regional statistical offices in Germany and the Federal Statistical Office Germany (DESTATIS)

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