Barbara Hendricks (politician)

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This article is about the German politician Barbara Anne Hendricks. For the opera singer, see Barbara Hendricks.
Barbara Hendricks
Barbara Hendricks 2014-10-24.jpg
Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety
Assumed office
17 December 2013
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Peter Altmaier
Personal details
Born (1952-04-29) 29 April 1952 (age 63)
Kleve, West Germany
(now Germany)
Political party Social Democratic Party
Alma mater University of Bonn

Barbara Anne Hendricks (born 29 April 1952) is a German politician and member of the SPD.

Since 17 December 2013 she has been Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. From 2007 to 2013, she was Federal Treasurer of the SPD, and from 1998 to 2007 she was Parliamentary Secretary of State at the Federal Ministry of Finance.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Barbara Hendricks was born in Kleve.

After obtaining her Abitur in 1970 at the Johanna Sebus Gymnasium in Kleve, Barbara Hendricks studied History and Social Sciences in Bonn, passing the Staatsexamen examination for high school teachers in 1976. She then worked for the Association for Student Affairs until 1978. After that, until 1981, she was a deputy press secretary at the press office of the Bundestag parliamentary party of the SPD. In 1980 she was awarded a doctorate based on a thesis entitled Die Entwicklung der Margarineindustrie am unteren Niederrhein [The development of the margarine industry on the lower Rhine]. She was then press secretary of the minister of finance of the state of North Rhine-Westfalia until 1990. In 1991 she was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Agriculture of the State of North Rhine-Westfalia.

Political career[edit]

SPD politician[edit]

Barbara Hendricks has been a member of the SPD since 1972 and has been the president of the SPD party organization for the District of Kleve since 1989. From 1990 to 2001 she was a member of the party council. From 1987 to 2001 she was a member of the state party executive of the SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia – as from 1996 as treasurer. Since 2001 she has been a member of the SPD (federal) party executive. Since October 2007, she has been SPD federal treasurer.

In the campaign for the German federal election, 2009 Hendricks was a member of the "shadow cabinet" of the SPD candidate for the chancellorship, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, where she was responsible for consumer affairs.[2]

Until 2014 Hendricks was a member of the executive of the SPD Culture Forum,[3] mainly responsible for culture financing.

Member of local government[edit]

From 1984 to 1989 Hendricks was a member of the District Council (Kreistag) of the Rural District of Kleve.

Since 1994 she has been a member of the Bundestag, where, from October 1995 to November 1998, she was a member of the executive of the SPD parliamentary party. Barbara Hendricks was always elected to the Bundestag via the party list of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Barbara Hendricks and Angela Merkel in 2013

Public office[edit]

After the German federal election, 1998, on 27 October 1998 she was appointed parliamentary state secretary to the Federal Minister of Finance in the cabinet of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. From 22 November 2005 she continued in this office in the cabinet of Angela Merkel – meaning that Barbara Hendricks was a state secretary under three finance ministers: Oskar Lafontaine, Hans Eichel, and Peer Steinbrück. She left this office on 16 November 2007, after being elected federal treasurer of the SPD.

Since 17 December 2013, Barbara Hendricks is Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in the third cabinet of Angela Merkel. In early 2015, Hendricks proposed a new draft law that imposes an outright ban on fracking for shale gas in the following years and only allow scientific test drilling under strict conditions to assess the risks and environmental impact. The legislation, however, allows fracking for deep-lying or "tight" gas, a technology that has been used for decades in Germany.[4]

Other activities[edit]

  • KfW, ex-officio Member of the Board of Supervisory Directors
  • Aktion Pro Humanität foundation.,[5] Member of the Board of Trustees
  • German-Dutch Conference, Member of the Steering Board
  • Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Volksfürsorge Deutsche Lebensversicherung AG, Member of the Advisory Board (-2013)
  • Federal Agency for Civic Education, Member of the Board of Trustees (-2014)

Personal life[edit]

Hendricks is openly lesbian.[6]




  1. ^ Hendricks, Barbara. "Barbara Hendricks. Typisch Niederrhein.". Barbara Hendricks. Typisch Niederrhein. (in German). Retrieved Mar 7, 2015. 
  2. ^ "SPD-Kompetenzteam: Steinmeier zieht ohne Stars in den Wahlkampf" [SPD competence team: Steinmeier faces the election campaignwithout any stars]. (in German). 30 July 2009. 
  3. ^ "Hendricks, Barbara". Deutscher Bundestag (in German). Feb 16, 2007. Retrieved Mar 7, 2015. 
  4. ^ Caroline Copley (April 1, 2015), Germany sets very high bar for fracking Reuters.
  5. ^ "Hoffnungsvoller Besuch" [Hopeful visit]. Rheinische Post (in German). 11 November 2008. 
  6. ^ "Erste offen lesbische Bundesministerin". EMMA (in German). Jan 20, 2014. Retrieved Mar 7, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Altmaier
Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation,
Building and Nuclear Safety