Handover Ceremony

During a ceremony on October 2, 2020, Prof. Dr. Katja Matthes officially took over the management of GEOMAR from her predecessor Prof. Dr. Peter Herzig.

Scroll below for some impressions of the event. Above you will find a recording of the complete ceremony.


The new GEOMAR director Prof. Dr. Katja Matthes with her predecessor Prof. Dr. Peter Herzig (left) and the GEOMAR administrative director Frank Spiekermann between the diving boat JAGO and the diving robot ROV KIEL 6000


Professor Katja Matthes: "At the core of our research is the ocean and its complex interaction with us humans. This is why we have adopted a new central slogan for GEOMAR: ´Our world is the ocean´. In the future, we will classify our research and its results under this slogan".


Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Daniel Günther underlined in his video message: "Under the direction of Peter Herzig, GEOMAR has grown to a real lighthouse of marine research, which shines far beyond the borders of Schleswig-Holstein. I am pleased that with Professor Matthes, such a competent and committed successor has been found who will provide new impulses at GEOMAR".


The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of GEOMAR, Ministerial Director Volker Rieke from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research: "On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, I would like to thank Professor Herzig very much for the impressive commitment with which he developed GEOMAR from a Leibniz Institute into an internationally successful and visible Helmholtz Centre over the past years. I am sure that with Professor Matthes we have found a worthy successor who will advance ocean research with great commitment and enthusiasm to sustainable solutions for the urgent future questions of protecting coasts and seas".


Karin Prien, Minister of Science of the State of Schleswig-Holstein: "With Prof. Katja Matthes, Schleswig-Holstein was able to win a renowned scientist as new director of GEOMAR. I absolutely support her idea to actively get involved and to help shape the dialogue between science, society and politics. Networking with educational institutions and the economy, is the only way to meet global challenges such as climate change or the world food situation. I am looking forward to this dialogue and to a new chapter for Kiel's marine sciences".


Kiel's Mayor Dr. Ulf Kämpfer: "I thank Professor Herzig very much for his outstanding work in the past years. And I am very much looking forward to working with Professor Matthes", said Kämpfer. "I know that the topics of marine and climate protection are of particularly importance for Professor Matthes - and I am sure that her expertise will help us greatly in taking the next steps towards consequent climate protection."


Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Otmar D. Wiestler, President of the Helmholtz Association: "I thank Peter Herzig from the bottom of my heart for the impressive commitment with which he has significantly shaped the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel over the past 16 years. During his tenure, GEOMAR has developed into one of the world's leading institutions in the field of marine research. I am convinced that with Katja Matthes we have found an ideal successor. She is an outstanding scientist and will continue to develop the excellent research environment at GEOMAR at the highest international level with commitment and dynamism. I wish her every success in her new position and look forward to our future collaboration".


A glass cuboid with the GEOMAR logo and the name of the first GEOMAR Director Prof. Dr. Peter Herzig and his successor Prof. Dr. Katja Matthes symbolizes the handover of management.


Lukas Mimura, violin, and Peter Krause, violoncello, accompany the ceremony with pieces by Antonio Vivaldi, Ludwig van Beethoven and Michael Jackson.