Grew up in the small town of Wurselen near Aachen. His dream to become professional football player was frustrated due to a serious knee injury; he turned to business and became a successful bookseller instead!

His political career started early - he was elected Mayor of Wurselen in 1987 at the age of 31.  He was appointed President of the European Parliament in 2012 (re-elected in 2014).

As a passionate supporter of the football club 1.FC Koln, he was pleased to accept the gift of a 3D model of the club’s mascot  (a goat named Hennes) printed in the Cologne public library.


Like so many Spaniards, I too moved to Germany only recently. Last year, I attended a six-month language course to learn German. It came with a four-week prevocational traineeship at a company of our choice. The day we visited the City Library … that day changed my life.

During my traineeship I joined several departments and one of my favourite tasks was to welcome other German learners, talk to them and show them not only the building, but in fact the entire collection and the possibilities it provided. In November, the City Library gave me the opportunity to lead a monthly meeting for German learners as a volunteer. We’ve been getting together ever since.

It is a great thing that today’s libraries not only offer knowledge, but promote intercultural exchange and understanding as well.