In 1996, the president’s office bought the domain name “www.bundespraesident.de“, which is appropriate for a male federal president.
However, nobody thought to secure the female equivalent, “www.bundespraesidentin.de.”
Germans have come out in support of German Labour Minister Ursula van der Leyen to take over from Horst Koehler, who unexpectedly resigned from the presidency Monday.
If the medical doctor and mother-of-seven is picked on June 30, this would make her Germany’s first female head of state.
In 1998, enterprising Berlin public relations manager Lars Heitmueller spotted the oversight and snapped up the female domain name out of protest. Now the 34-year-old has offered it, free of charge, should it be needed.
This situation has a precedent. When Angela Merkel became Germany’s first female chancellor in 2005, Heitmueller also came to the rescue.
It had clearly not occurred to anyone in 1996 that, nine years later, a female chancellor might also need her own website.