Walter Scheel Medal

Under the patronage of H.E. Mr Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, President of the French Republic

„Wines, cuisines and regional specialties are part of Europe’s cultural heritage. We foster it in order to preserve it – as a reflection of our continent’s versatility, beauty, and cultural wealth.“

Held together by strong ties of steadfast values and marked by unique, millennia-old cultural wealth, contemporary Europe is united in diversity. This diversity is reflected, inter alia, by the continent’s culinary heritage: regional specialties, traditional dishes, and beautiful landscapes shaped by viticulture and agriculture. Walter Scheel always believed that a country’s cultural identity is also determined by its cuisine. Throughout his entire political career as German Federal President, Foreign Secretary, Deputy Federal Chancellor, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation, Chairman and later Honorary Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (FDP), Walter Scheel advocated and supported an enjoyable lifestyle. At the same time, his passion for high-quality wine and cuisine conveyed positive political signals. He supported the young protagonists of the German culinary revolution of the 1970s, provided a platform for aspiring winegrowers, welcomed visitors from all over the world and gave them a rather unconventional, cheerful and enjoyable impression of Germany. According to Scheel, “food and drink bring us together. They unite nations and establish a deep connectedness between humans.”

This “connectedness” represents the spirit of the European project. In this spirit, personalities who have rendered outstanding services to preserving the European culinary culture – and as such have made an exceptional contribution to the European cultural heritage – are awarded the “Walter Scheel Medal”. Patron of the award is H.E. Mr Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, President of the French Republic.


Angelo Gaja

Azienda Agricola Gaja – Barbaresco

Hugh Johnson

Publicist – London


Auberge de l’Ill – Illhaeusern


Riedel Glas – Kufstein


Champagne Taittinger – Reims


Chef of the Century – Munich

Walter Scheel

“Without Walter Scheel’s pioneering work during his time as Development Minister, his farsightedness as Foreign Secretary, his integrative power as German Federal President and especially his courage as party chairman, present-day Germany would not be the same country.”

Christian Lindner
federal chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP)

Walter Scheel was born the son of a cartwright near Solingen in the Bergisches Land region. After taking his Abitur he started a banking apprenticeship. However, he was drafted into the military as early as 1939 and had to serve until the end of the war. In 1945, he was released as a first lieutenant and began working in the industry. One year later, he joined the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Walter Scheel started as a municipal councillor in Solingen. After that, he became a member of the Landtag (German state parliament) of North Rhine-Westphalia and worked as a member of the German Bundestag until 1974. Moreover, Scheel was the Vice President of the German Bundestag for two years. At the same time, he was a member of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community and, from 1958 to 1961, also a member of the European Parliament. In 1961, Scheel became the first Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation under Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. He retained this position when Ludwig Erhard was elected chancellor. In 1968, Walter Scheel took the position of head of the FDP.



“Good food has encouraged breakthroughs in many negotiations between nations. Joint meals have sealed many alliances. To break bread with guests, be they friends or strangers, is an unambiguous sign of friendship.”

Walter Scheel, 1991

The Trägerkreis der Walter Scheel Medaille für Genusskultur und Lebensart e.V. is recognized as a charitable non-profit association, it acts as the organisational basis for the award. Its members are united in their liberal views, their commitment to the European project and their belief in the immaterial heritage of Europe‘s culinary culture: its cuisine, wines, regional specialties and traditional dishes. Journalist Dr. Christoph Wirtz is the head of this Association.


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