Henning Scherf (born 31 October 1938 in Bremen) is a German lawyer and politician (SPD). He was the 6th President of the Senate and Mayor of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen from 4 July 1995 to 8 November 2005.
After studying law and social sciences from 1958 until 1962 in Berlin, Hamburg and Freiburg Scherf worked for a Protestant students association (Evangelisches Studentenwerk) until 1964. In 1968 he received his law doctorate from University of Hamburg.
Scherf has been a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany since 1963.
Scherf went into politics after practicing as a lawyer in Bremen, and was elected to the Bremer Bürgerschaft (parliament) in 1971. From 1978 until 2005 he was a member of Bremen Senate (government) in various functions, including Senator for Finances, Senator for Youth and Social Issues, Senator for Health and Sport, Mayor, Senator for Education and Sciences and Senator of Law and Constitution. In 1995 Scherf was elected "Präsident des Senats" (President of the Senate, head of state).
He was also the head of the "Vermittlungsausschuss" (negotiations-committee) which resolves conflicts concerning legislation between "Bundesrat" and "Bundestag", the two houses of the German parliament at the federal level.
Scherf has been re-elected twice due to his popularity in Bremen. He is well known for his warm and friendly character despite his looks (he is 2 m tall). His diplomatic skills, especially in forging compromises and running negotiations, are considered legendary, not only by members of his own party.
For some time Schwerf was urged by the people to run for the German Presidency (Bundespräsident) which he declined because of family reasons.
- Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Member of the Board of Trustees
- Gustav Heinemann Civic Award of the SPD, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Henning Scherf married his wife Luise in 1960. The couple has three children and six grandchildren.
He is well known for going to work by bicycle and refusing to accept a car and a driver provided by the city. He also has the habit of only drinking warm water with his meals.