1968-1979 Teacher, mainly at International Comprehensive School Heidelberg.
1975-1985 elected City Councillor City of Heidelberg.
1979-1990 elected Member of the European Parliament:
- Vice-Chair and Chair Committee on Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection;
- Deputy member Committee on Energy and Research;
- Member of Mashrek Delegation and ACP-Assembly (Africa-Caribean-Pacific);
- Fact Finding Missions: East Timor (Human Rights), Canada and Greenland (Human Rights and Environment)
1990-2006 Elected and re-elected Mayor of Heidelberg, Germany, (=Head of City Council and CEO of an administration of 2000 employees) with numerous additional functions locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
2006 retired. In retirement: speeches, conferences, short term advisory missions on environment, regenerative energy, sustainable city development. Numerous publications: inter alia on Sustainable Development/ Local Agenda, Protection of the Environment, Citizen Participation, Administrative Reform, Equal Rights, Gender Issues, City Planning.
1993-1996 Member of the “Global Independant Commission on Population and Quality of Life” (Pintasilgo Commission, UNESCO-based).
1996-2002 President of German Branch of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences.
1999-2006 Member of the global Board of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability, Toronto/Freiburg).
2003-2006 Chair Commission on Economic Development and the Internal Market, Deutscher Staedtetag (German Federal Organisation of Municipalities).
2006-2008 Vice Chair of World Future Council, Hamburg
2008-2011 Chair German Friends of Weizmann Institute (Israel)
since 2009 Member of Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
since 2011 Member of the Seniors Council of SPD, Germany
2014 Member of Special Task Force on „Good City Models under the Concept of Ecological Civilization“ of CCICED (China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development).
2016 Member of Jury Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation (Guangzhou Award) China
Honours and Awards
1996 „Woman of the Year“ (Mona Lisa, ZDF-TV), Germany
2000 „Freeman of the City of London“, UK
2002 „Knight of the Legion of Honour“ (Chevalier de la Légion d´Honneur), France
2007 Medal of Honour of the State of Baden-Württemberg, Germany
2007 German Federal Environmental Award
2012 German Federal Cross of Merit, „First Class“
2012 Honorary Citizenship City of Heidelberg
2015 (November) Gothenburg Award of Sustainable Development, Sweden