A look inside the daily life of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a former chemist who has been Forbes’ most powerful woman in the world for 9 straight years and can get by on only 4 hours of sleep

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos

Angela Merkel has been the most powerful woman on Earth for almost a decade, according to Forbes.

The German chancellor took the top spot on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women list for the ninth consecutive year. The runners-up includedPresident of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen, and General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

Merkel’s reign over the ranking may be coming to a close, however. She announced in 2018 that she would not run for another term after the completion of her current one in 2021.

Despite Merkel’s power, little is known about her personal life.Since becoming chancellor in 2005, the former chemist has managed to cultivate an “image of deep personal integrity and a tightly guarded private life,” writes Melissa Eddy in the New York Times.

However, by piecing together various details, one can come away with a view of the chancellor’s daily routine.


Merkel starts every day by having breakfast with her husband Joachim Sauer, she once told ex-Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan.

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Sources: TIME, Der Spiegel

Sauer, a chemistry professor, “presses [Merkel] on political issues like any ordinary citizen would,” over breakfast.

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Source: Reuters


Sauer and Merkel are said to enjoy hiking and attending the opera together. Sauer is also extremely frugal, often flying on budget airlines instead of accompanying Merkel in a government jet.

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While at work, Merkel adopts an almost scientific approach to politics.

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Sources: Business Insider, BBC


“People often accuse me of not acting fast enough,” she said, in a BBC documentary. “That I let things go on too long. For me it’s important I deliberate all options … running through scenarios, and not simply theoretical experiments in my head.”

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Sources: Business Insider, BBC


As a result, Merkel is never one to rush into a decision. “I am, I think, courageous at the decisive moment,” she said, according to a 2007 biography. “But I need a good deal of start-up time, and I try to take as much as possible into consideration beforehand.”

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Source: Angela Merkel


Outside of work, Merkel is a fan of soccer. She befriended the victorious German national team during their journey to winning the World Cup in 2014.

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Sources: The Guardian, TIME

Merkel’s favourite food is said to be green cabbage and Mettwurst — or minced pork sausage. She was elected “Cabbage Queen” in Oldenburg in 2001.

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Sources: The Telegraph, The Guardian, CafeBabel


The chancellor is a talented chef, although it’s unclear if she has much time to cook for herself these days. Some of her signature dishes include potato soup, beef loaf, and plum cake.

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Sources: The Telegraph, The Guardian, CafeBabel


Merkel has also retained one food-related habit from her upbringing in shortage-prone East Germany. In an interview with German magazine Superillu, she said, “I still buy something as soon as I see it, even when I don’t really need it. “It’s a deep-seated habit stemming from the fact that in an economy where things were scarce, you just used to get what you could when you could.”

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Sources: The Guardian, Superillu


The daughter of a Lutheran pastor, Merkel is a practicing Christian and a member of the Evangelical Church in Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper Lusatia.

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Source: The Economist


It’s unclear when Merkel goes to bed, but she has said that she often goes without rest, and can function on only four hours of sleep.

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Sources: BBC,Financial Times, The Local


The German chancellor catches up on sleep on the weekends: “I have camel-like abilities, an ability to save things up — and afterwards I have to fill up again.”

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Sources: BBC, Financial Times, The Local