In the second part of the exclusive Focus interview, Chancellor Olaf Scholz talks about his childhood, his love for Hamburg and what he would say to 17-year-old Olaf today.

We have already spoken about Hamburg, the city of your childhood. Tell us the smell of your homeland?

I can’t remember a specific smell, but that I grew up very happily.

How can we imagine Olaf Scholz as a student?

As very good.

weakest subject?


Did it offend you when you were one of the last to be chosen for the team?

Well, that challenged me. And I didn’t accept it easily, despite my unsatisfactory sporting performances. Don’t worry – I was also class and school representative.

Were you not as deliberately unimpressed as you are today when it comes to criticism or defeat?

Oh, I’m sure others can answer that better. Today, some of my classmates are probably surprised that I now exercise regularly. But that didn’t start until I was 40.

First they played the flute, then the oboe: in an orchestra, the oboe sets the A and thus the mood. But the leadership comes from the first violin. Would you rather have learned the violin?

no I liked playing the oboe, even though I haven’t touched it since high school. To this day I appreciate the playing of a good oboist.

They say your cat’s name was Burle – did young Olaf have a nickname too?

The cat’s name was Morle, which was reported incorrectly in a newspaper at some point and has been copied again and again since then.

And your nickname?

I can’t remember a nickname.

What was more important: the first car or the first girlfriend?

I didn’t have my first car until very late, when I was already a lawyer.

Tell us the soundtrack of your youth?

Radio – my brothers were more musically committed than me.

Which book explained the world to you as a teenager?

There were many – the adventures of Karl May were formative.

What were the three most important values ​​in the Scholz family home?

Honesty. diligence. And a great affection between parents and children.

Who was stricter, father or mother?

Both don’t.

Your father says that you were already a know-it-all when you were a schoolboy – did you often hear this accusation in your life?

I may have encountered this accusation before. Of course I don’t agree with that.

You were the first in the family to graduate from high school, then studied law. A picture book career of social democratic educational policy: Everyone gets the chance to make it. Have we lost this dream in Germany?

No, certainly not for me and many others. Equal opportunity is one of our most important values. If you look at how many students in this country are graduating from high school, we have come a long way. There must be no barriers to education.

Although I am expressly not saying that everyone has to achieve the highest school-leaving certificate. Vocational training is also worth a lot. In Hamburg, we have shown with district schools, free day-care centers, all-day schools and youth employment agencies how far you can get with modern education policy.

How is your faith? When you were sworn in, you didn’t add “So help me God”. Doesn’t Olaf Scholz need help from above?

My position comes with great responsibility – and I bear that responsibility.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how vain is Olaf Scholz?

I do not consider myself vain.

Are you good at forgiving?


Also your party?


Also Kevin Kuehnert?

I don’t have to.

You joined the Jusos when you were 17 – what did you take to the streets for or against?

For modern school policy and against nuclear power plants. And I got involved in the peace movement.

If you were 17 today, would you glue yourself to the street or to a piece of art?

That’s a question you shouldn’t ask someone in their early 60s.

Why not?

Because it’s inappropriate to judge a 17-year-old’s perspective from my point of view. But I want to say clearly that I consider these actions to be inappropriate.

One of the biggest defeats of your career was the election to the SPD presidency. But Olaf Scholz just took his briefcase, ran to the Ministry of Finance and continued: Where do these masochistic qualities come from? You should have tried boxing!

I have tried. I liked it too, but it didn’t fit into my life.

Can you give us a glimpse into your crystal ball of the next three years of traffic light government?

Well, let’s see.

Speed ​​limit on the German autobahn…

… is an SPD resolution, but is not in the coalition agreement.

People smoke weed in front of the Reichstag…

… we make it possible for cannabis to be consumed legally.

Have you ever inhaled?


The last remaining tube of Nord Stream 2 goes into operation after all…

… I think that’s hard to imagine.

Inflation is at 2%…

… we absolutely want to achieve.

A wall will be built around Europe…

… no.

How many emails do you receive per day?

So many that not all are presented to me.

How many phones do you carry with you?


Do you turn off your cell phone at night?


Do you know Lindner’s number by heart?

Hardly anyone knows telephone numbers by heart.

Not even your wife’s number?

No longer. Ever since she got a new number, it’s been saved in her cell phone.

Do you buy Christmas gifts online or in store?

My wife and I don’t give each other anything for Christmas. We enjoy having time for each other.

Where do you celebrate Christmas?

In the sun.

What is your favorite song to sing?

I don’t sing that well.

Electric candles or wax?

No electric.

goose or sausage?

More like goose, but not on Christmas Eve.

Do you have the key to the Chancellery?


Do you know the Chancellor’s Office WiFi password?

My devices know it.

There is a request from the Union for lighting in the Chancellery. Is it too bright or too dark in the machine room of German democracy?

We are guided by the applicable rules.

The extension of the Chancellery is expected to cost 777 million euros. Included in the price: 400 offices, winter gardens and helipad – do you really need that in times of hybrid working?

There is already a landing field – and the offices too. However, scattered across the city. We want to enable the employees of the Chancellery to work in a common place. Our predecessors decided on the extension.

And it’s about a long-term perspective – you plan for future generations and tasks. The building also completes an architectural sign of democracy – the “bund des Bunds” runs across Hitler’s planned megalomaniac fascist boulevard.

What is your favorite dish in the canteen?

I eat nearly everything.

How do you stay fit?

I row and I run…

… with shoes from the “Lunge” company. These are considered not very comfortable, but stable, healthy and resilient. Is Chancellor Scholz a little like his sole?

He has!

What would 16-year-old Olaf say about the man sitting here today?

I don’t know that. One should not succumb to the tendency to put oneself in a benevolent light afterwards.

Olaf or Scholz?

More like Olaf (laughs).

Tea or coffee?


morning or evening?


Still or bubbly?


Fish rolls or currywurst?

Both taste good.

Rote Flora or Rotes Rathaus?

I’ve been to both. But preferably: Hamburg City Hall.

G20 or Love Parade?

I’ve been to several G20 meetings, but never to the Love Parade.

Optimist or pessimist?


Human or artificial intelligence?


In the aisle or at the window?


Right or left rudder arm?

I row evenly.

Trump or DeSantis?


Habeck or Baerbock?


Which Bowie song describes the first year of the traffic light government better: “Heroes” or “Under Pressure”?


Mr. Chancellor, in this conversation you don’t come across as a man who forgets a lot. Why did you so often refer to “memory gaps” in the multi-hour survey on the Cum-Ex affair?

Because I was asked the same question very often – and it was about a very brief matter.