Irmgard Schwaetzer
Bundesministerin a. D.
Adam-Schwaetzer in 2018
Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development
In office
18 January 1991 – 17 November 1994
ChancellorHelmut Kohl
Preceded byGerda Hasselfeldt
Succeeded byKlaus Töpfer
Personal details
Born (1942-04-05) 5 April 1942 (age 81)
Münster, Nazi Germany
Political partyFree Democratic Party

Irmgard Schwaetzer (born 5 April 1942) is a German politician of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and a Protestant church official. From 2013 to 2021, she chaired the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).[1][2] She is the central founding figure, as well as honorary chairwoman, of the Liberal Women.[3]

Early life and education

In 1971, Schwaetzer received a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Bonn.


From 1980 to 2002, Schwaetzer served as a member of the Bundestag. Under the leadership of chairman Hans-Dietrich Genscher, she was the Secretary General of the FDP between 1982 and 1984.

Following the 1987 West German federal election, Schwaetzer was appointed as Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office in the government led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl. In that capacity, she oversaw the ministry's activities on European policy and cultural affairs. At a party convention in 1988, she narrowly lost against Otto Graf Lambsdorff in a vote on the FDP leadership.[4]

Schwaetzer in 1991

In January 1991 Schwaetzer was appointed Federal Minister of Spatial Planning, Construction and Urbanism, succeeding Gerda Hasselfeldt. During her time in office, she oversaw various architectural design competitions on construction projects that eventually permitted Germany's Parliament and government to move from Bonn to Berlin after German reunification.[5]

Following the resignation of Hans-Dietrich Genscher in 1992, Kohl and Lambsdorff nominated Schwaetzer to be the new Foreign Minister.[6] In a surprise decision, her own FDP parliamentary group rejected her nomination shortly after and voted instead to name Justice Minister Klaus Kinkel to head the Foreign Office. Schwaetzer would have been the first woman to hold a senior cabinet post in Germany.[7]

Schwaetzer later became the target of public criticism in 1993 when she said in a contribution to a house organ published by Munich-based Germania Investment Management that the company could make "valuable contributions" to solving the problems of housing and office space, both of which were in acute shortage in the formerly Communist eastern part of the country at the time.[8]

Schwaetzer retired on 17 November 1994 from the Federal Government.[9][10]

From 1998 to 2002, Schwaetzer chaired the working group for labor and social policy, health policy, family, women's and youth policy of the FDP parliamentary group.

Other activities


See also


  1. ^ "EKD-Synode: Irmgard Schwaetzer bleibt an der Spitze". (in German). 2 May 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Schwaetzer ist Vorsitzende der EKD". (in German). 11 November 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Bundesvorstand der Liberalen Frauen". (in German). Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  4. ^ Gisela Dachs (1 May 1992), Spät gestartet, früh am Ziel Die Zeit.
  5. ^ Larry Thorson (19 February 1993), Germans Choose 3 Foreign Architects In Parliament Design Competition Associated Press.
  6. ^ Stephen Kinzer (28 April 1992), Genscher, Bonn's Foreign Minister 18 Years, Resigns New York Times.
  7. ^ Stephen Kinzer (29 April 1992), Party in Bonn Rebels on Genscher's Successor New York Times.
  8. ^ Craig R. Whitney (12 January 1993), Kohl Issues Rebuke To Coalition Partner Amid New Scandal New York Times.
  9. ^ Irmgard Schwaetzer: Frauen ins Pfarramt
  10. ^ Irmgard Schwaetzer ist neue Chefin der EKD-Synode
  11. ^ Members of the Council Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).
  12. ^ Board of Trustees Garrison Church Potsdam.
  13. ^ Supervisory Board Gemeinschaftswerk der Evangelischen Publizistik (GEP).
  14. ^ Council Foundation for the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
  15. ^ Board of Trustees Studium in Israel.
  16. ^ Aufstellung aller durch den Bundespräsidenten verliehenen Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich ab 1952 (PDF; 6,6 MB)