Rostock’s Mayor Claus Ruhe Madsen (independent) becomes the new Economics Minister in the black-green state government of Schleswig-Holstein. Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU) confirmed on Monday evening at the party conference in Neumünster that the 49-year-old Dane should take over the economic department. The latter had already been leaked but not officially confirmed. Alongside Aminata Touré (Greens/29), future Minister of Social Affairs, Madsen will be one of the politicians with the most dazzling background in the Günther II cabinet.

Madsen will also be responsible for transport, labour, technology and tourism in Kiel. Günther said that he had had several exciting encounters with Madsen in recent years – for example with the Danish queen. They also have a similar understanding of the political style, stressed Günther. Madsen will be the first Dane in Schleswig-Holstein to hold a ministerial post.

Madsen had been the first foreign mayor of a major German city to lead the Hanseatic city of Rostock since the end of August 2019. He is leaving town at a critical juncture. Just last week, the citizenship canceled the federal garden show planned for 2025. Rostock was awarded the contract for the major project in 2018, which was intended to promote urban development. Madsen was blamed for the failure of the Buga because, according to his critics, he had not managed to swear the administration to the Buga.

Most recently, the state government had also turned against him. The Minister of Agriculture responsible for the Buga, Till Backhaus (SPD), had complained that he had not been informed about delays and cost increases until the very end.

After graduating from high school, Madsen first worked in a furniture store in the Ruhr area before opening his own furniture store in Rostock in 1998. His entrepreneurial commitment and his unconventional manner brought him to the top of the Rostock Chamber of Industry and Commerce as President in 2013. As mayor, he became known nationwide as a guest on talk shows at the beginning of the corona pandemic.