north-rhine-westphalia

The last diary entry German school shooter Sebastian Bosse made dated on the same day he went to the Geschwister-Scholl-Realschule in Emsdetten, North Rhine-Westphalia and wounded five students before killing himself. He started documenting his thoughts and plans in a diary and made his first entry on August 10, 2006.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier Next President of Germany

Today, February 12, 2017, Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected by the Federal Convention (Bundesversammlung) as the next president of Germany. He will assume office on March 18, 2017.

Steinmeier, member of the SPD, was the candidate of the Great Coalition consisting of CDU, CSU, and SPD currently governing Germany. He was also supported by the Green Party and the FDP.

Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier grew up in a carpenter’s family in the rural Lippe area in North-Rhine-Westphalia. He studied law and political sciences in Gießen and received a doctoral degree in law in 1991. He was hired at the office of the prime minister of the state of Lower Saxony, Gerhard Schröder, in Hannover, where he quickly advanced his career. He followed Gerhard Schröder after his appointment as chancellor to Berlin, where he soon became chief of the Chancellor’s Office. In this position, he was one of the driving forces of the Agenda 2010 reforms, which are generally said to be the foundations of Germany’s current economical success, but were (and still are) controversially discussed with regards to their impact on social affairs and the coherence of the German society.

After Angela Merkel assumed Chancellorship of a Great Coalition in 2005, Steinmeier was appointed as foreign minister. In 2007, he became vice-chancellor. He was appointed again as foreign minister in the third cabinet of Angela Merkel and resigned in January 2017 after he was nominated as the joint presidential candidate of the Great Coalition.

In 2010, Steinmeier donated a kidney to his wife, Elke Büdenbender, to save her life.


Unlike in many other states, the president of Germany, as the official head of the state, has a mostly ceremonial and representative role. The duties of the office involve:

  • to represent Germany in the world under international law (signing international contracts, accrediting German diplomats, receiving international leaders and letters of accreditation of foreign diplomats, etc.)
  • to propose a chancellor candidate to the German parliament
  • to appoint and dismiss the chancellor (after parliamental vote) and the ministers of the federal government; the president does not have the right to reject the resignation of a chancellor
  • to appoint and dismiss high federal officials and military (requiring counter-signature of chancellor or the relevant minister)
  • to regularly meet with the chancellor and the ministers for confidential consultations
  • to sign and promulgate the law, with the right to reject his signature (happened only eight times so far)
  • to dissolve the Federal Diet (Bundestag, German parliament) under certain circumstances
  • to declare war, after the the government has determined a state of defense
  • to exercise the power of pardon on the federal level (but he has no right to issue an amnesty)
  • to declare a state of legislative emergency by request of the cabinet if no chancellor could be elected. During this period, bills submitted by the government become law after his signature even if the federal diet rejects them, but the Federal Council (upper chamber of parliament representing the sixteen states) has to approve them. Legislative emergency does non suspend basic human rights, nor does it give the executive branch exceptional power. Legislative emergency has never been declared so far.
  • to assume the patronage over projects and initiatives that have a positive impact on the German society. He is the regular patron of the German red cross and the German maritime search and rescue sevice.
  • to decide upon the national symbols after counter-signature of the chancellor
  • to occasion state ceremonies
  • to confer the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and other minor decorations

The Federal President does not have the right to issue decrees without counter-signature of a member of the Federal Government; that means that he cannot execute political power against the will of the government, with the sole exception of the strictly regulated state of legislative emergency.

The Federal President, committed to political neutrality, usually acts by the power of the word. He is independent of daily politics and free to set his topics. This way, a number of presidents have by speeches initiated public debates that materialized in law some time later. Notable examples are the speech of Richard von Weizsäcker on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the end of world war II, and the “Ruck-Rede” (”Jerk Speech”) by Roman Herzog. The former speech substantially shaped Germany’s current culture of remembrance, the latter initiated the debate that eventually led to the Agenda 2010 reforms by the government of Gerhard Schröder.

In case the office of the president falls vacant, the president of the Federal Council (Bundesrat) temporarily assumes the duties of the office until a new president is elected, which should be done within 30 days.

The president enjoys immunity from prosecution and cannot be voted out of office. The Federal Diet can revoke the immunity in case the president is offended of willfully violating the law. The Federal constitutional court has then to determine whether the president is guilty of the offense and has the only authority to remove the president from the office.

The president resides in Bellevue Palace in Berlin and has a second office in Hammerschmidt Villa in Bonn. His car carries the number 0-1, and the aircraft carrying the president has the call sign German Air Force 001.

The president assumes a honorary godfathership for the seventh child of a family. He helps German artists in need by a single donation or by giving the a honorarium. He offers his congratulations for special anniversaries, such as the hundredth birthday of a German citizen.

Since my bloglayout sucks:

For everyone who asked for a “BIGGER SIZE”, there you go

anyways i still love Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund, commonly known as Borussia Dortmund, BVB, or simply Dortmund, a German sports club based in Dortmund, North Rhine Westphalia with my entire heart and that’s that on that

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Tim Kretschmer’s rampage through his former school in Winnenden and its end outside a Wendlingen business complex, which left 16 dead, including himself, influenced a copycat threat by a 21-year-old Lower Saxony resident from Schnerverdingen, who was arrested two days after Kretschmer’s shooting for writing in an online chat, “I’ll kill 16 students tomorrow. I have a gun and will kill everyone.” He claimed it was only for fun and police determined the targeted school didn’t exist in the area, nor did the man have access to weapons. Coincidentally, an unnamed 17-year-old in the North Rhine-Westphalia town of Ennepetal was planning a deadly attack of his own. On March 12, 2009, a day after Kretschmer’s spree, the Reichenbach-Gymnasium student, who usually fashioned a long black coat and fingerless gloves, was led out of class and taken into custody. The arrest came following a report from a female classmate’s mother three days prior, who stated he threatened to blow up the school on April 20, marking the tenth anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. These threats were corroborated by fellow students, and they added he made comments about not living to see his 18th birthday, while another shared they saw him looking at a webpage on the construction of explosive devices in the school library. He had also received psychiatric treatment in 2007 for threatening a teacher. A search of the student’s home revealed the means to carry out his plan. Contained in a metal briefcase, investigators found glycerin, hydrochloric acid, and 30 grams of black powder paired with nails and other materials. Among the weapons recovered were knives, daggers, and swords, as well as several imitation guns and an air gun. Although the 17-year-old faced charges of unauthorized arms possession and disturbance of public peace by announcing a criminal offense, he was immediately placed in a psychiatric institution.

This is my entry for @allthingsgerman‘s little photography contest!

The first task is: Go outside. Take (a) photo(s) of the best spot near you to sit and read.

Amazing view, isn’t it? The picture was taken by sunset on the Schönberg in the Black Forest near Freiburg. It takes a little patience and stamina to get up there, but once you reached the top, you will find yourself in harmony with the universe, I guarantee. For me the perfect spot to read! And the walk cleans the mind. Having originally grown up in North-Rhine Westphalia, mountains do have a mesmerising impact on me. 
(This picture isn’t from today as you can maybe tell because today it’s raining! But I wanted to participate so badly, I thought I’d try nonetheless!) 

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Romanesque St. Patrokli Church, Soest, North Rhine-Westphalia

The church (and some other buildings in Soest) are made from green sandstone. The church was finished in today’s shape in the 13th centure. The mighty tower harbors some of the oldest surviving bells in Germany from the 12th to 14th century.

One other chimera directly from my home is the “Dilldapp”.

They’re described as a crossbreed of polecat or hamster, rabbit and deer.

A widely accepted version how they look is this

They’re said to live in the Hauberg ( oak-birch coppiced woodland) in the Siegerland (region in the federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany). They’re retiring and eat potatoes, which they steal from the fields of farmers.

A local comic artists expanded the lore A LOT, and publishes every year a calendar with adventures of his Dilldappen characters.