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Ole von Beust
MdHB a. D. Senator a. D. MdBR a. D.
Ole von Beust in 2009
First Mayor of Hamburg
In office
31 October 2001 – 25 August 2010
Second MayorRonald Schill
Mario Mettbach
Birgit Schnieber-Jastram
Christa Goetsch
Preceded byOrtwin Runde
Succeeded byChristoph Ahlhaus
President of the Bundesrat
In office
1 November 2007 – 31 October 2008
First Vice PresidentHarald Ringstorff
Preceded byHarald Ringstorff
Succeeded byPeter Müller
Leader of the Christian Democratic Union in the Hamburg Parliament
In office
15 December 1993 – 31 October 2001
Preceded byRolf Kruse
Succeeded byMichael Freytag
Member of the Hamburg Parliament
In office
28 June 1978 – 17 March 2004
Preceded bymulti-member district
Succeeded bymulti-member district
ConstituencyCDU list
Personal details
Born (1955-04-13) 13 April 1955 (age 67)
Hamburg, West Germany
Political partyChristian Democratic Union
Alma materUniversity of Hamburg
  • Politician
  • Lawyer
  • Lobbyist

Ole von Beust (born 13 April 1955) is a former German politician who was First Mayor of Hamburg from 31 October 2001 to 25 August 2010, serving as President of the Bundesrat from 1 November 2007 on for one year.[1] He was succeeded as mayor by Christoph Ahlhaus.

Life and work

Born in Hamburg, he is the son of Achim Helge Freiherr von Beust and Hanna, née Wolff, who was considered half Jewish in Nazi Germany.[2] Through his father he is a descendant of Saxon and Austrian statesman Count Friedrich Ferdinand von Beust.

In 1971 von Beust became a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). In 1973, after finishing high school, he worked for CDU parliamentary group in the Hamburg Parliament ("Hamburgische Bürgerschaft"), a position he held until he started to study law in 1975 at the University of Hamburg.[2] From 1977 until 1983 he was Hamburg president of the youth organisation of his party. Since 1978 von Beust has been a member of the Hamburg city-state's parliament.[2] In 1983 he successfully completed his studies and became an independent lawyer.[2]

He has been a member of the ruling council of the Hamburg Land CDU since 1992, and of the national ruling council of the CDU party since 1998.

First Mayor of Hamburg

First term

On 31 October 2001, Ole von Beust became First Mayor of Hamburg.[2]

When Hamburg experienced an exodus of jobs after major corporations including cigarette-maker Reemtsma, travel and shipping company Hapag-Lloyd, haircare products-maker Hans Schwarzkopf and the Vereins and Westbank AG were acquired by companies outside of Hamburg, von Beust had the city's investment arm, the Hamburger Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsverwaltung, join forces with retailer Tchibo for the acquisition of cosmetics maker Beiersdorf in 2003. This put American multinational Procter & Gamble out of the bidding and preserved Beiersdorf as a publicly traded, stand-alone company in Hamburg.[3]

As host of Hamburg's annual St. Matthew's Day banquet for the city's civic and business leaders, von Beust invited several high-ranking guests of honour to the city, including Queen Silvia of Sweden (2003), King Abdullah II of Jordan (2005), Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark (2006), President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania (2008).

On 19 August 2003, von Beust dismissed his vice-mayor, Ronald Schill, causing a scandal. Von Beust had earlier dismissed Walter Wellinghausen, senator of the interior and Schill's most important official, without consulting Schill beforehand. This was due to public allegations of misconduct on Wellinghausen's part. In a private conversation, Schill then demanded that von Beust take back the dismissal, allegedly using personal threats. Von Beust then decided to dismiss Schill as well.

In the (preassigned) press conference Schill held minutes after he had heard of his own dismissal, he spoke vaguely of "homosexual relationships", a "flat in an infamous hustler district" and "certain things happened that let one infer the occurrence of love acts" between von Beust and Roger Kusch, who von Beust had appointed minister (in German city-states "senator") of justice.[4] Von Beust in turn stated that Schill threatened to make his alleged liaison with Kusch public under the premise that von Beust intermingled public and private affairs. He said he had no sexual relationship with Kusch, that they merely knew each other for 25 years and were good friends, and that von Beust was Kusch's landlord. "This is all – absolutely all", according to von Beust.[4][5]

His unprepared statement to the press quickly earned Schill a homophobic reputation. A popular radio-station broadcast a song calling him "Mega-Proll" (mega redneck) and gay and lesbian associations protested vocally. Schill however later affirmed von Beust's version of the story, except for the accusations of blackmail, saying that he warned von Beust to stay clear of nepotism, and that this had nothing to do with von Beust's sexual orientation. He stated "I have nothing against homosexuals".

In a later interview, von Beust's father confirmed that his son is indeed homosexual.[6] Von Beust himself considers his sexual orientation a private matter; when asked directly he usually ironically refers the interviewer to his father. He has been in a relationship with his partner Lukas Förster since 2013.

Second term

The Hamburg elections of 29 February 2004, ended with an unprecedented landslide victory for Ole von Beust and the CDU, with the party achieving an overall majority in the city-state's parliament.[5] The CDU gained 47.2 percent of the vote, a full 21-point increase from the previous election in September 2001. This was the first time since 1993 the city-state has had only a single ruling party.

Under von Beust's leadership, the Hamburg state government made the decision to commence construction of the Elbphilharmonie, a concert hall in the HafenCity quarter.

Between 2007 and 2009, von Beust was one of 32 members of the Second Commission on the modernization of the federal state, which had been established to reform the division of powers between federal and state authorities in Germany.

Third term

In the Hamburg elections of 24 February 2008, the CDU gained 42.6 percent of the vote. Thus, the CDU continued to be the strongest party in Hamburg.[7] However, since the CDU lost its absolute majority, it formed a coalition government with the Greens. At the time, the two party's cooperation was widely seen as a test for a possible coalition at the national level.[8]

In February 2009, von Beust and Minister President Peter Harry Carstensen of Schleswig-Holstein agreed on a €13 billion bailout of state-owned shipping financier HSH Nordbank.[9] The two states were forced to intervene after the SoFFin fund, which had been set up by the federal government in 2008 to stabilize the financial markets, said it could not help out HSH Nordbank until it got rid of all its bad debts.[10]

Ahead of the 2009 national elections, von Beust was tipped as potential Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development in the cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel; in the negotiations on a coalition agreement with the FDP, however, the position went to Dirk Niebel.[11]

In 2010, von Beust became the first German state leader to indicate that his state was in principle willing to provide humanitarian solutions for former Guantanamo inmates approved for release; Hamburg later accepted one released detainee.[12]

On 18 July 2010, von Beust announced his resignation, to take effect on 25 August.[13] Leaving office alongside von Beust were Karin von Welck, Hamburg's State Minister for Culture, and Volkmar Schoen of the senate chancellery.[14]

Shortly after, voters in Hamburg toppled von Beust's proposed education reforms in the city-state's first binding referendum. The vote assured the preservation of Hamburg's four-year primary schools, rather than extending primary education to six years, which the ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Greens had proposed.[15]

Life after politics

Upon leaving active politics, von Beust opened his own law firm and joined consultancy Roland Berger as advisor.[16] In 2012, he succeeded Klaus von Dohnányi as Executive Director of the Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People.[17]

During a strike of ground crew at Frankfurt Airport in February 2012, von Beust was appointed as arbitrator by airport operator Fraport for negotiations with trade union GdF. The union accepted his proposed settlement plan; Fraport, however, rejected the deal.[18]

In addition, von Beust has been holding various paid and unpaid positions, including the following:

In late 2015, von Beust was named co-chairman (alongside Jürgen Trittin and Matthias Platzeck) of a government-appointed commission tasked with recommending by early 2016 how to safeguard the funding of fulfilling Germany's exit from nuclear energy.[29] By April 2016, the commission agreed to ask the power firms to pay €23.3 billion ($26.4 billion) into a state fund to cover the costs of nuclear waste storage.[30]

Political positions

For the 2021 national elections, von Beust endorsed Markus Söder as the Christian Democrats' joint candidate to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel.[31]


Von Beust was a finalist for the World Mayor prize of 2010.


See also


  1. ^ Präsidenten des Bundesrates seit 1949 (in German), archived from the original on 25 June 2008, retrieved 10 November 2008
  2. ^ a b c d e Munzinger Online; s.v. Ole von Beust
  3. ^ German Group Secures Stake in Beiersdorf Deutsche Welle, 24 October 2003.
  4. ^ a b "A scandal in Germany", European press review,, 21 August 2003, retrieved 13 August 2008
  5. ^ a b Mayor von Beust to govern alone after victory in Hamburg election, Deutsche Welle, 2004, retrieved 13 August 2008
  6. ^ "Die CSD-Parade ist wichtig für die ganze Welt". Die Welt (in German). 10 August 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  7. ^ German conservatives win most votes, usa today, 24 February 2008, retrieved 13 August 2008
  8. ^ Mayor Resigns, In Blow to Merkel Wall Street Journal, 19 July 2010.
  9. ^ Chris Bryant (24 February 2009), States agree €13bn HSH bail-out package Archived 30 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine Financial Times.
  10. ^ Germany's HSH Nordbank Saved from Collapse Der Spiegel, 24 February 2009.
  11. ^ Christian Vooren (22 May 2016), Ole von Beust - der Hobbyist Der Tagesspiegel.
  12. ^ Germany's Guests from Guantanamo Are the Former Prisoners a Security Threat? Spiegel Online, 12 July 2010.
  13. ^ "NDR Online - Nachrichten - Hamburg- "Alles hat seine Zeit" - Ole von Beust tritt zur ck". Archived from the original on 19 July 2010.
  14. ^ Mark Hallam and Catherine Bolsover (18 July 2010), Hamburg mayor and Merkel ally Ole von Beust steps down Deutsche Welle.
  15. ^ Referendum quashes Hamburg school reform, cripples coalition Deutsche Welle, 19 July 2010.
  16. ^ Matthias Krupa and Tanja Stelzer (1 June 2011), Ole von Beust: "Ich gehöre niemandem!" Die Zeit.
  17. ^ Board of Directors Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People.
  18. ^ Strike at Frankfurt airport to continue Monday Reuters, 19 February 2012.
  19. ^ Ulrich Zawatka-Gerlach (30 May 2018), Kuratorium vorgestellt: Prominente unterstützen Synagogenbau am Kreuzberger Fraenkelufer Der Tagesspiegel.
  20. ^ Alliander AG gründet Beirat mit namhaften Persönlichkeiten Archived 30 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine Alliander AG, press release of 29 January 2016.
  21. ^ Supervisory Board Archived 26 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine BoxDirect AG.
  22. ^ Supervisory Board CH2 Contorhaus Hansestadt Hamburg AG.
  23. ^ Donner & Reuschel gewinnt Ole von Beust Archived 27 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine Donner & Reuschel, press release of 10 March 2014.
  24. ^ Sustainability Board ECE Projektmanagement.
  25. ^ Advisory Board Archived 30 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine Germela.
  26. ^ Varengold Wertpapierhandelsbank AG: Ole von Beust in den Beirat berufen Archived 16 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine Varengold Bank, press release of 11 December 2012.
  27. ^ Board Wirtschaftsrat der CDU.
  28. ^ Erster Bürgermeister Ole von Beust ist neuer Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender der HafenCity Hamburg GmbH HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, press release of 26 April 2010.
  29. ^ John O'Donnell and Christoph Steitz (29 November 2015), Minister signals German trust could handle nuclear waste storage Reuters.
  30. ^ Markus Wacket and Christoph Steitz (27 April 2016), German firms could pay less than feared for nuclear clean-up Reuters.
  31. ^ Ulrich Exner (6 September 2020), "Merkel-Nachfolge: 'Wenn Söder Kanzlerkandidat werden will, dann wird er es'" Welt am Sonntag.