He was born in 1944 in Lipe, a small town in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of western Germany. After graduating from middle school, he completed an apprenticeship in retail sales and attended night school in 1962 to qualify for college admissions. After studying law at the University of Göttingen, he obtained a lawyer's license in Hanover in 1976. He was a member of the German Bundestag from 1980 to 1986 and from 1998 to 2005 and served as Chancellor of Lower Saxony from 1990 to 1998. In 1998, Schroeder was elected the 7th Federal Chancellor of Germany and served until 2005. During his tenure as Chancellor, he undertook extensive reforms, the so-called Agenda 2010.
His reform policies are considered to have made a significant impact on enhancing the international competitiveness of the German economy, establishing Germany as an industrial country, and creating new jobs. During his tenure as prime minister, his foreign and European policy and security policy were intertwined with the major issues of the time, such as the international war on terrorism, conflict in Yugoslavia, the Iraq war, and European integration. Since his resignation from all political positions after resigning as Prime Minister in November 2005, Schroeder resumed his practice as a lawyer in Hanover. In the meantime, he has served as a supporter of an organization against xenophobia and anti-Jewishism under the name of 'Show Your Face (GESICHT ZEIGEN)!' and has held various honorary positions. Since 2006, he has served as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the European-Russian joint venture NORD STREAM.