Glitz - and gossip - at the German Press Ball | Lifestyle | DW | 26.11.2018
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Glitz - and gossip - at the German Press Ball

Media stars rubbed shoulders with politicians and journalists at the yearly gala event. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder made a return with his latest wife but CDU leadership candidates were conspicuously absent.

It's a celebrated social event: A cavalcade of over 2,000 guests, among them famous politicians, journalists and celebrities, mingled at the anual German Press Ball held at the storied Hotel Adlon by Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Friday evening.

Beyond the networking, the ball also provides an opportunity to gossip. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was among the guests along with his fifth wife, Korean business consultant So-yeon Schröder-Kim. He was returning to the event after a break of 20 years.

The last time Schröder attended he was accompanied by fourth wife, Doris Schröder-Köpf, who turned up this year with new partner, the SPD Minister of the Interior of Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius. There have been tensions between these most recent Schröder spouses. The two couples didn't request to be seated together.

Watch video 12:04

Having a Ball in Berlin

High class rendezvous

The German Press Ball was opened by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife. This year's motto, "Kaleidoscope," refers to the difficult negotiations to form a coalition government. It also stands for the "ever-changing colorful constellation of current politics," said Gregor Mayntz, chairman of the Federal Press Conference.

In addition to Schröder and his old friend Steinmeier, Minister of Health Jens Spahn was another name in the spotlight, as he was the only candidate for the CDU party leadership at the event. His competitors, CDU Secretary General Annegret Kramp-Karrenauer and former parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz, "nearly" came, but unfortunately had other appointments, said Mayntz.

Read moreCDU leadership hopeful Friedrich Merz wants debate on asylum rights

a well´-dressed couple smile for the camera
(picture-alliance/dpa/J. Kalaene)

Gerhard Schröder made a long-awaited return to the gala event with So-yeon Schröder-Kim, his fifth wife as of May 2018

A post-war tradition

Founded in 1951, just a few years after the end of World War II, the history of the gala event traces that of the young republic.

It was initially held in Bad Neuenahr, a vacation town which is famous for its wine and is located just south of the then-capital Bonn. In 1959, the event was moved to Bonn, where it was held in the Beethovenhalle concert hall — the city is the birthplace of the famous composer.

After German reunification in 1990, the German capital was formally moved to Berlin, though it took a number of years for the seat of government to fully shift. When that process concluded in 1999, the German Press Ball likewise moved to Berlin.

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