Ernst Albrecht (politician, born 1930)

Ernst Carl Julius Albrecht (29 June 1930[1] – 13 December 2014) was a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union and a former high-ranking European civil servant. He was one of the first European civil servants appointed in 1958 and served as Director-General of the Directorate-General for Competition from 1967 to 1970. He served as Minister President of the state of Lower Saxony from 1976 to 1990. He was the father of the politician Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission.

Ernst Albrecht
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F078542-0022, Wiesbaden, CDU-Bundesparteitag, Albrecht (cropped).jpg
Albrecht in 1988
Minister President of Lower Saxony
In office
6 February 1976 – 21 June 1990
PresidentWalter Scheel
Karl Carstens
Richard von Weizsäcker
ChancellorHelmut Schmidt
Helmut Kohl
Preceded byAlfred Kubel
Succeeded byGerhard Schröder
Director-General of the Directorate-General for Competition
In office
Personal details
Ernst Carl Julius Albrecht

(1930-06-29)29 June 1930
Heidelberg, Germany
Died13 December 2014(2014-12-13) (aged 84)
Burgdorf, Germany
Political partyCDU
Spouse(s)Adele Stromeyer
Alma materUniversity of Tübingen
University of Bonn
OccupationEconomist (Diplom)


Ernst Albrecht was born in Heidelberg, the son of the psychologist, psychotherapist and medical doctor Carl Albrecht, who was known for developing a new method of meditation; the Albrecht family had been among the hübsche ("genteel") families of the Electorate of Hanover as doctors, jurists and civil servants since the 17th century, but his immediate ancestors had been wealthy cotton merchants in Bremen and members of the city-state's Hanseatic elite in the 19th and 20th centuries. His grandmother Mary Ladson Robertson was an American of prominent planter class origin from Charleston, South Carolina, and a descendant of James H. Ladson and several colonial governors.[2]

European Commission, 1958–1970Edit

Ernst Albrecht studied law and economics. In 1958 he moved to Brussels where he became one of the first European civil servants. He initially served as the Chef de Cabinet to the European Commissioner for Competition Hans von der Groeben in the Hallstein Commission, and in 1967, at the age of 37, he became the Director-General of the Directorate-General for Competition.

Business and political careerEdit

He entered politics in his native Germany when he was elected to the Lower Saxon Landtag (parliament) in 1970, and moved to Hanover with his family the following year. From 1971 to 1976, he was CEO of Bahlsen.[3]

When Alfred Kubel resigned from the office of State Premier in 1976, Albrecht was unexpectedly elected as his successor. Since he received three more votes than his party had representatives in the Legislative Assembly, some members of the governing coalition SPD and FDP must have secretly voted for him. He was re-elected in state parliament elections in 1978, 1982 and 1986.

Albrecht is known for the decision to make the County of Lüchow-Dannenberg the state's "nuclear district"; only a radioactive waste dump at Gorleben was realized, however. During his tenure Albrecht was embroiled in an unusually large number of political scandals; most famously, the Celle Hole. In 1980, Albrecht launched a campaign for election as Chancellor, but he lost out to fellow conservative Franz-Josef Strauß. Albrecht lost the 1990 state elections to Gerhard Schröder, who later became Chancellor.

Personal lifeEdit

Ernst and Adele Albrecht (1985)

Ernst Albrecht married Heidi Adele Stromeyer (1928–2002) in 1953. They had seven children, among them politician Ursula von der Leyen and Hans-Holger Albrecht, President & CEO of the international telecom and media group Deezer. A daughter died at age 11 and one son at age 49 of cancer.

His brother is George Alexander Albrecht, a conductor. He had Alzheimer's disease since 2003,[4] which was announced to the public in 2008. He died at the age of 84 in Burgdorf in December 2014.[5]



  1. ^ "Albrecht, Ernst". 4 August 2010.
  2. ^ Deutsches Geschlechterbuch vol. 17 p. 49
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Von der Leyen und die Krankheit ihres Vaters. Ein Artikel über die Sendung auf, 27. Mai 2008.
  5. ^ "Ursula von der Leyen: "Er hat ein erfülltes Leben gehabt"". 13 December 2014 – via Tagesspiegel.
Political offices
Preceded by
Prime Minister of Lower Saxony
Succeeded by