It’s in the bag: German museums fight over Olaf Scholz’s briefcase

It’s in the bag: German museums fight over Olaf Scholz’s briefcase

Rumour has it that Olaf Scholz has been using the same briefcase for over 40 years, and two German museums are now eager to get their hands on it.

German museums vie for Scholz’s satchel

There is likely no other briefcase in the world that has been privy to so many important conversations and decisions in German politics over the last four decades than Olaf Scholz’s wearied, black leather briefcase.

After 40 years by Scholz’s side, from Altona MP to Mayor of Hamburg and finally, German Chancellor, two museums in Germany have now got their eyes on Olaf’s beloved bag. Both the Haus der Geschichte museum in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation are vying to bag the bag for their own collections.

Zelenskyy in one hand, briefcase in the other

40 by 34 centimetres and originally costing only 890 Deutsche Marks, the design of Scholz’s sliver-clipped satchel is effortlessly timeless, but while the Chancellor cuts ribbons and declares another Doppelwumms, bidders pant at the sidelines, waiting for a seam to rip, a clasp to break or for the Chancellor to pick out a new accessory to accompany him to the grave. 

“At some point, we’d like to have Olaf Scholz’s briefcase,” head of the Haus der Geschichte, Harald Biermann told SPIEGEL, pointing out its “historical value”. One recent event particularly tickled Biermann, significantly adding to the briefcase’s cultural value: when Scholz walked the red carpet in Kyiv, holding the briefcase in his left and shaking President Zelenskyy’s hand with his right. “[An] almost iconic scene,” Biermann said.

Thumb image credit: Alexandros Michailidis /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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