Germany: The Year Ahead

Dec 30, 2016

In Germany, 2017 is a year of elections, with both the Presidential Election taking place in February and the Bundestag election taking place in the fall. But 2017 will also be marked by an important anniversary. Let's take a look at some of the upcoming year's major events!

German Presidential Election

February 12

voting Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) A new federal president will be elected in Germany on February 12. The current President, Joachim Gauck, announced last summer that he would not stand for re-election in 2017. The Federal Convention - an electoral body consisting of Bundestag members and electors - will choose the new president, who will then enter office on March 18. Current nominees include Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), Christoph Butterwegge (The Left Party), Albrecht Glaser (AfD) and Alexander Hold (Free Voters). The major popular parties - the CDU/CSU coalition and the SPD - have stated that they support Minister Steinmeier.

50th Anniversary of the Death of Konrad Adenauer

April 19

Konrad Adenauer was the first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, serving from 1949-1963. He has often been described as one of the most "gifted statesman of modern times." Some of his accomplishments include the establishment of a stable democracy in post-war Germany, a lasting reconciliation with France and Germany's entry into NATO. April 19 marks 50 years since his death. In honor of Chancellor Adenauer's life, a new permanent exhibition will be opened in his former home in Rhöndorf.

Documenta 14 Exhibition

June - September, 2016

voting Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) documenta 14 is a modern and contemporary art exhibition that takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. The 100-day-long exhibition will be on display from June 10 until September 17. The exhibition was first held in 1955 as part of the Bundesgartenshau (Federal Horticultural Show) as an attempt to bring modern art to Germany. Under National Socialism, modern and contemporary art had been rejected and repressed by the government, so this exhibition was a way to bring it back in Germany's post-war era. Today, documenta 14 features a wide variety of art from all continents. This year, it will also be held in Athens from April 8 until July 16, before traveling to Germany.

Bundestag Election

Fall 2017

Germany's federal elections will take place in the fall of 2017 to elect members of the Bundestag and the federal parliament. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that she will run for re-election in 2017. A date for the election has not yet been set, but it will fall between August 27 and October 22 - on a Sunday 46-48 months after the assembly's first sitting.

500 Year Anniversary of the Reformation

Martin Luther 2017 Enlarge image (© picture alliance / Winfried Roth) October 31, 2017

October 31 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation - a half a millennium since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This anniversary will be celebrated throughout 2017 with special exhibitions in Berlin, Wittenberg and on the Wartburg. Three major exhibitions will also take place in the United States to shed light on the history of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.

Other notable anniversaries:

  • The anniversary of the development of the Marshall Plan in May 1947
  • The founding of the European Economic Community in 1957
  • The speech of US President Ronald Reagan held at the Berlin Wall in 1987

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany