We are going to know about the Famous People of Germany. This list of the top 20 Most Famous German People is ranked according to Pantheon’s historical popularity index (HPI).
Germany has a rich history and has produced many famous and influential individuals throughout the centuries. Here is a list of the top 20 most famous German people of all time, spanning various fields including literature, politics, science, philosophy, religion and the arts.
Ranking of the Top 20 Greatest German People of All Time
Famous Personalities of Germany with Pictures
20. Albrecht Dürer (HPI : 85.05)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Albrecht Dürer is ranked 20th among the most famous German people of all time. His HPI is 85.05, and his biography is available in 154 different languages on Wikipedia.
Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528) was a German painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg, Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe in his twenties due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in contact with the major Italian artists of his time, including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini, and Leonardo da Vinci, and from 1512 was patronized by Emperor Maximilian I.
Dürer’s introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, has secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective, and ideal proportions. Read more on Wikipedia
19. Richard Wagner (HPI : 85.34)
According to Pantheon’s Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Richard Wagner is ranked 19th among the most famous German people in history. his HPI is 85.34, and His biography is available in 152 different languages on Wikipedia.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas (or, as some of his mature works were later known, “music dramas”). Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works.
Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”), by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama. He described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). Read more on Wikipedia
18. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (HPI : 85.38)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is ranked 18th among the most famous German people in history. His HPI is 85.38, and His biography is available in 148 different languages on Wikipedia.
Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz (1 July 1646 – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist and diplomat. Leibniz is also called, “The Last Universal Genius” due to his knowledge and skills in different fields and because such people became less common during the Industrial Revolution and spread of specialized labor after his lifetime. He is a prominent figure in both the history of philosophy and the history of mathematics.
He wrote works on philosophy, theology, ethics, politics, law, history, philology, games, music, and other studies. Leibniz also made major contributions to physics and technology, and anticipated notions that surfaced much later in probability theory, biology, medicine, geology, psychology, linguistics and computer science.
In addition, he contributed to the field of library science by devising a cataloguing system whilst working at Wolfenbüttel library in Germany that would have served as a guide for many of Europe’s largest libraries. Leibniz’s contributions to a wide range of subjects were scattered in various learned journals, in tens of thousands of letters and in unpublished manuscripts. He wrote in several languages, primarily in Latin, French and occasionally in German. Read more on Wikipedia
17. G.W.F. Hegel (HPI : 85.96)
According to Pantheon’s Historical Popularity Index 2022, GWF Hegel is ranked 17th among the greatest German people in history. His HPI is 85.96, and his biography is available in 131 different languages on Wikipedia.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (27 August 1770 – 14 November 1831) was a German philosopher and one of the most influential figures of German idealism and 19th-century philosophy. His influence extends across the entire range of contemporary philosophical topics, from metaphysical issues in epistemology and ontology, to political philosophy, the philosophy of history, philosophy of art, philosophy of religion, and the history of philosophy. Read more on Wikipedia
16. Max Weber (HPI : 86.05)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Max Weber is ranked 16th among the most Famous People of Germany. His HPI is 86.05, and his biography is available in 127 different languages on Wikipedia.
Max Weber (21 April 1864 – 14 June 1920) was a German sociologist, historian, jurist and political economist, who is regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of modern Western society. His ideas profoundly influence social theory and research.
While Weber did not see himself as a sociologist, he is recognized as a founding father of sociology, along with Karl Marx and Émile Durkheim. As a result of these works, Weber is commonly regarded as one of the central figures in the development of the social sciences. Read more on Wikipedia
15. Otto von Bismarck (HPI : 86.51)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Otto von Bismarck is ranked 15th among the most Famous People of Germany. His HPI is 86.51, and His biography is available in 149 different languages on Wikipedia.
Otto von Bismarck (1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898) was a Prussian and later German statesman and diplomat.
He was the prime minister of Prussia (1862–73, 1873–90) and founder and first chancellor (1871–90) of the German Empire. Once the empire was established, he actively and skillfully pursued pacific policies in foreign affairs, succeeding in preserving the peace in Europe for about two decades. But in domestic policies his patrimony was less benign, for he failed to rise above the authoritarian proclivities of the landed squirearchy to which he was born. Read more on Wikipedia
14. Johannes Kepler (HPI : 87.17)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Johannes Kepler is ranked 14th among the most famous people of Germany of all time. His HPI is 87.17, and his biography is available in 142 different languages on Wikipedia.
Johannes Kepler (27 December 1571 – 15 November 1630) was a German astronomer, mathematician, astrologer, natural philosopher and writer on music. He is a key figure in the 17th-century Scientific Revolution, best known for his laws of planetary motion, and his books Astronomia nova, Harmonice Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae, influencing among others Isaac Newton, providing one of the foundations for his theory of universal gravitation.
The variety and impact of his work made Kepler one of the founders and fathers of modern astronomy, the scientific method and natural science. Kepler has been called the “father of science fiction” for his Somnium novel. Read more on Wikipedia
13. Carl Friedrich Gauss (HPI : 87.89)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Carl Friedrich Gauss is ranked 13th among the greatest German people of all time. His HPI is 87.89, and his biography is available in 152 different languages on Wikipedia.
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician, geodesist, and physicist who made significant contributions to many fields in mathematics and science. Gauss ranks among history’s most influential mathematicians.
Gauss was a child prodigy in mathematics, and while still a student at the University of Göttingen he propounded several mathematical theorems. Gauss completed his masterpieces Disquisitiones Arithmeticae and Theoria motus corporum coelestium as a private scholar. Later he was director of the Göttingen Observatory and professor at the university for nearly half a century, from 1807 until his death in 1855. Read more on Wikipedia
12. Friedrich Nietzsche (HPI : 87.93)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Friedrich Nietzsche is ranked 12th among the most famous German people of all time. His HPI is 87.93, and his biography is available in 162 different languages on Wikipedia.
Friedrich Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, prose poet, cultural critic, philologist, and composer, whose work has exerted a profound influence on contemporary philosophy. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became the youngest person to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24, but resigned in 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life; he completed much of his core writing in the following decade.
In 1889, at age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward a complete loss of his mental faculties, with paralysis and probably vascular dementia. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897 and then with his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Nietzsche died in 1900, after experiencing pneumonia and multiple strokes. Read more on Wikipedia
11. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (HPI : 88.78)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is ranked 11th among the most famous German people of all time. His HPI is 88.78, and his biography is available in 182 different languages on Wikipedia.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, and critic. His works include plays, poetry, literature, and aesthetic criticism, as well as treatises on botany, anatomy, and color.
He is widely regarded as the greatest and most influential writer in the German language, and his work has had a profound and wide-ranging influence on Western literary, political, and philosophical thought from the late 18th century to the present day. Read more on Wikipedia
Top 10 Greatest German People
10. Johannes Gutenberg (HPI : 89.28)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Johannes Gutenberg is ranked 10th among the most famous people of Germany of all time. His HPI is 89.28, and His biography is available in 153 different languages on Wikipedia.
Johannes Gutenberg (1393–1406 – 3 February 1468) was a German inventor and craftsman who introduced letterpress printing to Europe with his movable-type printing press. Though movable type was already in use in East Asia, Gutenberg invented the printing press, which later spread across the world.
His work led to an information revolution and the unprecedented mass-spread of literature throughout Europe. It also had a direct impact on the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, and humanist movements, as all of them have been described as “unthinkable” without Gutenberg’s invention.
Described as the “man of the millennium”, Gutenberg is often cited as among the most influential figures in human history. He has been commemorated around the world and is a frequent namesake. To celebrate the 500th anniversary of his birth in 1900, the Gutenberg Museum was founded in his hometown of Mainz. Read more on Wikipedia
9. Charlemagne (HPI : 89.46)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Charlemagne is ranked 9th among the most Famous People of Germany, and 7th among the most Famous People of France. His HPI is 89.46, and His biography is available in 154 different languages on Wikipedia.
Charlemagne or Charles the Great (2 April 747 – 28 January 814), a member of the Carolingian dynasty, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and was crowned as the Emperor of the Romans by the Papacy in 800. Charlemagne succeeded in uniting the majority of western and central Europe and was the first recognized emperor to rule from western Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire approximately three centuries earlier.
The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded was the Carolingian Empire, which is considered the first phase in the history of the Holy Roman Empire. He was canonized by Antipope Paschal III—an act later treated as invalid—and he is now regarded by some as beatified (which is a step on the path to sainthood) in the Catholic Church. Charlemagne has been called the “Father of Europe“. Read more on Wikipedia
8. Immanuel Kant (HPI : 90.76)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Immanuel Kant is ranked 8th among the most famous German People. His HPI is 90.76, and his biography is available in 171 different languages on Wikipedia.
Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher and one of the central Enlightenment thinkers. Born in Königsberg, Kant’s comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential and controversial figures in modern Western philosophy.
Kant believed that reason is the source of morality, and that aesthetics arises from a faculty of disinterested judgment. Kant’s religious views were deeply connected to his moral theory. Their exact nature, however, remains in dispute.
He hoped that perpetual peace could be secured through an international federation of republican states and international cooperation. His cosmopolitan reputation, however, is called into question by his promulgation of scientific racism for much of his career, although he altered his views on the subject in the last decade of his life. Read more on Wikipedia
7. Karl Marx (HPI : 91.29)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Karl Marx is ranked 7th among the most famous German people. His HPI is 91.29, and His biography is available in 196 different languages on Wikipedia.
Karl Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, political theorist, historian, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His best-known works are the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto (with Friedrich Engels) and the three-volume Das Kapital (1867–1894); the latter employs his theory of historical materialism in an analysis of capitalism, representing his greatest intellectual achievement. Marx’s ideas and theories and their subsequent development, collectively known as Marxism, have exerted enormous influence on modern intellectual, economic, and political history.
Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and his work has been both lauded and criticised. Marxism has exerted major influence on socialist thought and political movements, and during the 20th century revolutionary governments identifying as Marxist took power in many countries and established socialist states including the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. A number of theoretical variants, such as Leninism, Marxism–Leninism, Trotskyism, and Maoism, have been developed. Marx’s work in economics has a strong influence on modern heterodox theories of labour and its relation to capital, and he is typically cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science. Read more on Wikipedia
6. Nicolaus Copernicus (HPI : 91.59)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Nicolaus Copernicus is ranked 6th among the most famous people of Germany. His HPI is 91.59, and His biography is available in 166 different languages on Wikipedia.
Nicolaus Copernicus (19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance polymath, active as a mathematician, astronomer, physician, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat, economist, and Catholic canon, who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at its center. In all likelihood, Copernicus developed his model independently of Aristarchus of Samos, an ancient Greek astronomer who had formulated such a model some eighteen centuries earlier.
Copernicus was born and died in Royal Prussia, a region that had been part of the Kingdom of Poland since 1466. Nicolaus Copernicus is considered both a German and a Polish. Read more on Wikipedia
Top 5 Most Famous people of Germany
5. Martin Luther (HPI : 92.12)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Martin Luther is ranked 5th among the most famous German people of all time. His HPI is 92.12, and his biography is available in 179 different languages on Wikipedia.
Martin Luther (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German priest, theologian, author, hymnwriter, professor, and Augustinian friar. He was the seminal figure of the Protestant Reformation, and his theological beliefs form the basis of Lutheranism. Martin Luther is ranked 1th among the most famous German religious figures.
Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. He came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church; in particular, he disputed the view on indulgences. Luther proposed an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517.
His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor. Luther died in 1546 with Pope Leo X’s excommunication still in effect. Read more on Wikipedia
4. Johann Sebastian Bach (HPI : 92.29)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Johann Sebastian Bach is 4th famous German person in history. His HPI is 92.29, and His biography is available in 206 different languages on Wikipedia. He is also ranks 2nd among the most famous German musicians.
Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque period. He is known for his orchestral music such as the Brandenburg Concertos; instrumental compositions such as the Cello Suites; keyboard works such as the Goldberg Variations and The Well-Tempered Clavier; organ works such as the Schubler Chorales and the Toccata and Fugue in D minor; and vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music. Read more on Wikipedia
3. Albert Einstein (HPI – 93.06)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Albert Einstein is ranked 3rd among the most famous German people in history. His HPI is 93.06 and his biography is available in 219 different languages on Wikipedia. Einstein ranks 1st among the most famous German scientists.
Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-American theoretical physicist, widely held to be one of the greatest and most influential scientists of all time. Best known for developing the theory of relativity, he also made important contributions to quantum mechanics, and was thus a central figure in the revolutionary reshaping of the scientific understanding of nature that modern physics accomplished in the first decades of the twentieth century. Einstein also ranks 1st among the most famous Americans.
His mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc², which arises from relativity theory, has been called “the world’s most famous equation”. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”, a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World, Einstein was ranked the greatest physicist of all time. His intellectual achievements and originality have made Einstein synonymous with genius. Read more on Wikipedia
2. Adolf Hitler (HPI : 94.10)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Adolf Hitler is ranked 2nd among the most famous German people of all time. His HPI is 94.10 and his biography is available in 229 different languages on Wikipedia.
Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Germany from 1933 until his suicide in 1945. He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming the chancellor in 1933 and then taking the title of Führer und Reichskanzler in 1934.
During his dictatorship, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland on 1 September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust, the genocide of about six million Jews and millions of other victims. Read more on Wikipedia
1. Ludwig van Beethoven (HPI : 95.23)
According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Ludwig van Beethoven is ranked 1st among the most famous German people of all time. His HPI is 95.23, and his biography is available in 202 different languages on Wikipedia. He is also ranks 1st among the most famous German musicians.
Ludwig van Beethoven (17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. Beethoven remains one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music; his works rank among the most performed of the classical music repertoire and span the transition from the Classical period to the Romantic era in classical music. His career has conventionally been divided into early, middle, and late periods. Ludwig van Beethoven is the most famous German person in history.
His early period, during which he forged his craft, is typically considered to have lasted until 1802. From 1802 to around 1812, his middle period showed an individual development from the styles of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and is sometimes characterized as heroic. During this time, he began to grow increasingly deaf. In his late period, from 1812 to 1827, he extended his innovations in musical form and expression. Read more on Wikipedia
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Not a single living person or woman could be included in the top 20 most famous Germans. Angela Merkel ranks 23rd among the famous Germans, making her the most Famous German person alive today, and also the most popular German woman.
The four German persons have Wikipedia biographical articles on over 200 Wikipedia versions – Adolf Hitler (229), Albert Einstein (218), Johann Sebastian Bach (206), and Ludwig van Beethoven (202).
About the Historical Popularity Index (HPI)
Pantheon aggregates information about individuals’ online popularity. Pantheon’s Historical Popularity Index (HPI) is currently made of five components: the “age” of a biography’s character (e.g. Martin Luther is more than 540 years old), number of Wikipedia language editions in which the biography has a presence (L), the concentration of the pageviews received by a biography across languages (L*), the stability of pageviews over time (CV), and the number of non-English pageviews received by that biography.
List of Top 30 Most Famous Germans of All Time
According to Pantheon’s Historical Popularity Index (HPI) 2022.
Ludwig van Beethoven
1770 – 1827
Composer and pianist
1889 – 1945
1879 – 1955
Johann Sebastian Bach
1685 – 1750
Composer and musician
1483 – 1546
Priest, theologian and author
1473 – 1543
Mathematician, astronomer and physician
1818 – 1883
Philosopher, and economist
1724 – 1804
747 – 814
1393 – 1406
Inventor and craftsman
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749 – 1832
Poet, novelist, scientist, and statesman
1844 – 1900
Philosopher, poet, philologist, and composer
Carl Friedrich Gauss
1777 – 1855
Mathematician, geodesist, and physicist
1571 – 1630
Astronomer, mathematician, philosopher and writer
Otto von Bismarck
1815 – 1898
Statesman and diplomat
1864 – 1920
Sociologist, historian, jurist and economist
1770 – 1831
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
1646 – 1716
Mathematician, philosopher, scientist and diplomat
1813 – 1883
Composer, director, and polemicist
1471 – 1528
Painter, printmaker, and theorist
1788 – 1860
George Frideric Handel
1685 – 1759
1954 – present
Politician and scientist
1845 – 1923
Engineer and physicist
1929 – 1945
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
1837 – 1898
1820 – 1895
Frederick the Great
1712 – 1786
1833 – 1897
Composer and pianist
1900 – 1945
Politician and military commander
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