They’re already putting Angela Merkel out to pasture at the Tussauds waxworks in Berlin, decking her out in clothes to go hiking, which the chancellor says she wants to do more of when she’s retired.
Mrs Merkel has been chancellor for 16 years.
Madam Tussaud’s studio assistant Karen Fries says it will be strange when she is gone.
“It’s going to be weird, yes, because it’s now 16 years and we are not used to getting along without her, but we’ll see.”
The same sentiments are around the corner at the Brandenburg Gate.
Another race was under way ahead of the election: rollerbladers gathering to speed around the route of the marathon that is run this weekend.
“Both of us, we are 23,” two young bladers told us. “We just know Angela Merkel. So I think an era comes to an end.”
Another man told us none of the candidates can replace her: “No, they are too weak.”
Is this just another country’s election or one we should all be interested in?
Angela Merkel was called the leader of the free world, a moniker she herself thought was absurd. But it gives a sense of the void she may leave in these uncertain times.
Mrs Merkel has been credited with steering Germany through numerous crises but critics say she did not do enough to see them coming or warn Germans about others on their way.
Matthew Karnitschnig, Politico’s chief Europe correspondent, says: “The problem is that Merkel has shielded the population for a very long time from the realities of what’s going on in the world.”
Mrs Merkel was more of an administrator than a leader, he says, and has left one key question unanswered for her successors to address.
The way they do could have ramifications far beyond Germany.
“What’s at stake, really, is what role Germany is going to play in the world,” he says.
“Does Germany want to be a real player on the world stage, or does it want to act more like a giant Switzerland in the middle of Europe, trying to be all things to all people?”
Germany after Mrs Merkel will be under pressure from America to take on Russia more and be a more useful partner within the EU.
For Europe’s largest country and richest economy, it has not punched at its weight in the minds of many in Washington and elsewhere.
Others agree that Mrs Merkel cossetted Germans and protected them from global realities too much.
Green MEP Sergei Lagodinski, who helped write his party’s foreign policy, told Sky News: “I do hope very much that after this very comfortable sleep that we had with a very comforting leader who actually drove us and directed us quite good through a couple of crises, we need now to wake up not only to survive crisis and get back to the business as usual, but try to reimagine both Germany and Europe in this new age.”
The world and Germany are very different now than 16 years ago when Merkel first came to power.
Climate change, populism and artificial intelligence are all challenges that need proactive leadership, arguably not a strength of Mrs Merkel’s.
“I think it’s tremendously important, not just for Germany but for Europe,” Mr Lagodinski says.
“We have a situation where we have a change in terms of who’s going to lead Germany but also we have a totally changed global situation.”
There is the sense of an era coming to an end on the eve of this important election.
In the dusky light of a warm September evening, the voters we spoke to seemed relaxed about the future but conflicted too.
They want change but also continuity.
There is a yearning for stability with such a familiar figure bowing out and in such unpredictable times. But 16 years is a long long time to have one leader, we have been told repeatedly.
Germany and the world have new challenges to take on and new demons to fight, and voters want fresh leadership even if many seem unconvinced by the line-up they have to choose from.
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