Long ago, there was another Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel, who will soon step down as Germany's chancellor after 16 years, has a portrait of Catherine the Great in her office. Many people have asked her why. Merkel always answers that the 18th century Russian tsarina is her role model, and that she admires Catharine for her perseverance and for initiating sweeping modernisation in healthcare and education in Russia.

Still, this comparison is a little strange.

For there is one female leader in European history whom Merkel r...

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The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s, not those of EUobserver

Author Bio

Caroline de Gruyter is a Europe correspondent and columnist for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. This column is an edited version of a recent piece in NRC.