Matthias Platzeck

Last updated
Matthias Platzeck
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
25 November 2005 10 April 2006
General Secretary Hubertus Heil
Preceded by Franz Müntefering
Succeeded by Kurt Beck
President of the Federal Council
In office
1 November 2004 31 October 2005
President Johannes Rau
Horst Köhler
Deputy Dieter Althaus
Preceded by Dieter Althaus
Succeeded by Peter Harry Carstensen
Minister President of Brandenburg
In office
26 June 2002 28 August 2013
Deputy Jörg Schönbohm
Ulrich Junghanns
Johanna Wanka
Helmuth Markov
Preceded by Manfred Stolpe
Succeeded by Dietmar Woidke
Mayor of Potsdam
In office
4 November 1998 26 June 2002
Preceded byHorst Gramlich
Succeeded byJann Jakobs
Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Regional Planning of Brandenburg
In office
22 November 1990 3 November 1998
Minister President Manfred Stolpe
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byEberhard Henne
Personal details
Born (1953-12-29) 29 December 1953 (age 65)
Potsdam, then German Democratic Republic, now Federal Republic of Germany
Political party LDPD (1989)
East Greens (1990)
Alliance 90 (1990–1993)
SPD (since 1995)
Spouse(s)Ute Bankwitz (1978-1984)

Matthias Platzeck (born 29 December 1953) is a German politician. He was Minister President of Brandenburg from 2002 to 2013 and party chairman of the SPD from November 2005 to April 2006.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Brandenburg State in Germany

Brandenburg is a state of Germany.

Social Democratic Party of Germany Social-democratic political party in Germany

The Social Democratic Party of Germany, is a social-democratic political party in Germany.


On 29 July 2013 Platzeck announced that he would resign from his office in August for health reasons.

Early life and education

Platzeck was born in Potsdam as the son of a physician. Following his Abitur and military service he studied biomedical cybernetics at the Technische Universität Ilmenau. After his diploma in 1978 Platzeck worked at the institute for hygiene in Karl-Marx-Stadt (today Chemnitz) and the general hospital in Bad Freienwalde. From 1982 to 1990 he was head of the department for environmental hygiene at the agency for hygiene in Potsdam.

Potsdam Place in Brandenburg, Germany

Potsdam is the capital and largest city of the German federal state of Brandenburg. It directly borders the German capital, Berlin, and is part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel some 25 kilometres southwest of Berlin's city centre.

Abitur is a qualification granted by university-preparatory schools in Germany, Lithuania, and Estonia. It is conferred on students who pass their final exams at the end of their secondary education, usually after twelve or thirteen years of schooling. In German, the term Abitur has roots in the archaic word Abiturium, which in turn was derived from the Latin abiturus.

National Peoples Army Army of the German Democratic Republic

The National People's Army was the armed forces of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from 1956 to 1990.

Political career

Matthias Platzeck in 1991 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1990-0119-315, Matthias Platzeck.jpg
Matthias Platzeck in 1991
Matthias Platzeck in 2005 Matplatzeck.jpg
Matthias Platzeck in 2005

Platzeck represented ARGUS, a Potsdam environmental organization he had co-founded with and at the initiative of Carola Stabe, at the founding of the Grüne Liga association of local environmental organizations in East Germany in 1989. During the political "Wende" 1989/90 that led to German Reunification he was their speaker at the nationwide roundtable talks. From February to April 1990 he represented the oppositional radical Green Party as Minister without Portfolio in the last non-elected but legitimate government of the GDR. Platzeck was elected member of the Volkskammer in 1990 for the Green Party and was parliamentary secretary of the joined faction of Greens and Bündnis 90 (Alliance 90). In October 1990 Platzeck became a member of the Landtag of Brandenburg for Bündnis 90 (Alliance 90). He was Minister for the Environment in a coalition government with SPD and FDP from 1990 to 1994 when the coalition broke up.

Carola Stabe is a former dissident and civil rights activist in East Germany GDR. She is the founder and leader of the environmental group ARGUS in Potsdam, Germany. She initiated the GDR- wide opposition network of environmental groups, which later converged in the Grüne Liga.

East Germany Former communist state, 1949-1990

East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic, was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. Commonly described as a communist state in English usage, it described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state." It consisted of territory that was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II — the Soviet occupation zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.

Volkskammer parliament

The Volkskammer was the unicameral legislature of the German Democratic Republic.

Rejecting the merger of his party with the West German Green Party he did not join the new party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in 1993. Instead, he became a member of the SPD in 1995.

After the break of the Brandenburg coalition in 1994 Platzeck left his faction and remained Minister for the Environment under Minister-president Manfred Stolpe. He became popular nationwide for organizing public support for the affected population during a flood of the Oder river in 1997. In 1998 he was elected mayor of Brandenburg's capital Potsdam and rejected the offer of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to join the federal cabinet.

A minister-president or minister president is the head of government in a number of European countries or subnational governments with a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government where they preside over the council of ministers. It is an alternative term for prime minister, premier, chief minister, or first minister and very similar to the title of president of the council of ministers.

Manfred Stolpe German politician

Manfred Stolpe was Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Housing of the Federal Republic of Germany from 2002 until 2005. From 1990 until 2002 he was Minister President of Brandenburg.

Gerhard Schröder German politician (SPD)

Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005, during which his most important political project was the Agenda 2010. As a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens.

In 2000 Platzeck was elected chairman of the SPD in Brandenburg and in 2002 he succeeded Manfred Stolpe as Minister-president. He was re-elected to the Landtag (state parliament) in 2004. With the SPD as strongest political force he could continue his coalition with the CDU. He served as President of the Bundesrat in 2004/05.

Landtag representative assembly (parliament) in German-speaking countries with legislative authority and competence over a federated state

A Landtag is a representative assembly (parliament) in German-speaking countries with legislative authority and competence over a federated state (Land). Landtage assemblies are the legislative bodies for the individual states of Germany and states of Austria, and have authority to legislate in non-federal matters for the regional area.

President of the German Bundesrat speaker

In Germany, the President of the Bundesrat or President of the Federal Council is the chairperson or speaker of the Bundesrat. He or she is elected by the Bundesrat for a term of one year. Traditionally, the Presidency of the Bundesrat rotates among the leaders of the sixteen state governments. This is however only an established praxis, theoretically the Bundesrat is free to elect any member it chooses, and a President could also be re-elected. As well as acting as a chairperson the President of the Bundesrat is ex officio deputy of the President of Germany.

Bundesrat of Germany Legislative body representing the German federated states since 1949

The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the national level. The Bundesrat meets at the former Prussian House of Lords in Berlin. Its second seat is located in the former West German capital of Bonn.

When Franz Müntefering resigned as party chairman of the SPD because of internal conflicts, Platzeck was elected party chairman on 15 November 2005 with an overwhelming majority of 99.8 percent. [1] In January, February and April 2006 Platzeck suffered three severe hearing losses. Due to his ill health he resigned from his post as chairman on 10 April 2006, only five months after becoming chairman.

Life after politics

Both in 2015 and 2016, Platzeck and Bodo Ramelow were appointed as unpaid arbitrators for negotiations between Deutsche Bahn and the German Train Drivers' Union (GDL). [2] In 2016, he also served as unpaid arbitrator for negotiations between German airline Lufthansa and its flight attendants' union. [3]

In 2018, Platzeck was appointed to co-chair the German government's so-called coal commission, which is tasked to develop a masterplan before the end of the year on how to phase-out coal and create a new economic perspective for the country's coal-mining regions. [4]

In addition, Platzeck holds a variety of paid and unpaid positions, including the following:

Political positions

Platzeck caused controversy in 2010 when he called the reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990 an Anschluss , the word used by Adolf Hitler to defend the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. In response, Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected Platzeck’s choice of words and argued that reunification was precisely what east Germans had wanted, not a process forced upon them. [12]

Personal life

From 1978 to 1984 Platzeck was married to Ute Bankwitz with whom he has three daughters. In 2007, he married Jeanette Jesorka. The ceremony took place one year later in Temmen-Ringenwalde, with guests including Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Günther Jauch and Andreas Dresen.


Matthias Platzeck: Zukunft braucht Herkunft. Deutsche Fragen, ostdeutsche Antworten. Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 2009, ISBN   978-3-455-50114-8

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Party political offices
Preceded by
Franz Müntefering
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by
Kurt Beck