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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and British Prime Minister Theresa May leave after statements prior to a meeting in the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on July 5, 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and British Prime Minister Theresa May leave after statements prior to a meeting in the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on July 5, 2018   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Bye-bye Angela: the most striking pictures of Merkel's 16 years in power

Angela Merkel’s rule in Germany might be over, but she definitely made her mark on world politics.

As Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, takes office on Wednesday, the world is remembering Merkel’s historic contribution.

During her 16-year chancellorship, Merkel stood out as an indispensable crisis manager, managing to hold an increasingly fractious European Union together, while raising Germany’s profile and influence to unprecedented levels.

A scientist who grew up in former East Germany, Merkel rose to prominence in 1991 after chancellor Helmut Kohl appointed her as minister for women and youth. By 2005, she successfully took over the reins at CDU and became the country's first female chancellor.

Her tenure saw her having to handle major international crises, from the 2008 global recession to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The four terms in power meant that Merkel worked with four US presidents, five British prime ministers, four French presidents, and eight Italian premiers.

Named “The World’s Most Powerful Woman” by Forbes magazine for the past 10 years in a row, Merkel was also lauded for being a powerful role model for women, with politics still almost exclusively dominated by male figures.

But it's not just her calmness under pressure and ability to defuse the tensest of situations, both at home and abroad, that made her a largely popular international figure.

Merkel’s “rhombus” hand gesture, or “Merkel-Raute,” became so popular it received its own Wikipedia entry, an emoji, and it was eventually immortalised at the Madame Tussauds museum.

Although the end of her tenure as chancellor also marks an end to Merkel’s 31-year-long career as a politician, many believe that this is not the last the world sees of her.

MICHAEL SOHN/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, welcomes President Jacques Chirac of France, right, at the chancellery in Berlin, May 3, 2007.MICHAEL SOHN/AP
Michael Kappeler/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama at Schloss Elmau hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, during the G-7 summit, June 8, 2015.Michael Kappeler/AP
MARKUS SCHREIBER/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a news conference after bilateral talks in Dresden, on Oct. 10, 2006MARKUS SCHREIBER/AP
Virginia Mayo/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures regarding the space between chairs as she speaks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Brussels.Virginia Mayo/AP
Jesco Denzel/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump, seated at right, during the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018.Jesco Denzel/AP
JOHN MACDOUGALL/2005 AFP
Two German youths walk past an election poster featuring the Christian Democratic Union's (CDU) leader and main candidate Angela Merkel in Berlin 11 August 2005.JOHN MACDOUGALL/2005 AFP
MICHAEL PROBST/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, centre, is surrounded by other leaders as they walk to pose for a photo in Heiligendamm, Germany, June 7, 2007.MICHAEL PROBST/AP
Markus Schreiber/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, walk through the garden of the government guest house, Meseberg Palace.Markus Schreiber/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she arrives at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Nov. 1, 2021.Alastair Grant/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Jens Buettner/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel feeds a lemur that sits on her shoulder during her visit at the bird park in Marlow, northeastern Germany, Thursday, April 30, 2015.Jens Buettner/AP
AP Photo/Franc Zhurda
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, left, and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel join the welcome ceremony at the Palace of Brigades in Tirana, Albania, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021AP Photo/Franc Zhurda
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French President Emmanuel Macron, right, holds the hands of German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a ceremony in Compiegne, north of Paris, Nov. 10, 2018.Michel Euler/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a welcome ceremony for Chinese panda bears Meng Meng and Jiao Qing at the Zoo in Berlin in 2017.Axel Schmitt/AP
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Chancellor Angela Merkel follows proceedings at the Defence Ministry during the Grand Tattoo (Grosser Zapfenstreich), a ceremonial send-off for her, in Berlin, December 2 2021Alastair Grant/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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A new wax figure of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, is presented to the media next to a wax figure from 2005, right, at Madame Tussauds in Berlin, Sept. 19, 2013.Markus Schreiber/AP
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Angela Merkel arrives for a television debate with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at a television studio in Berlin, Sept. 4, 2005.Jockel Finck/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.