Famous German Geographers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite German Geographers

 1 

Alexander von Humboldt
13
Birthdate: September 14, 1769
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: May 6, 1859

As a child, Alexander von Humboldt was sickly and a bad student. After failing to shine in economics and engineering, he grew up to revolutionize the domain of geography. He is remembered for his research on magnetic storms and his treatise on nature, Kosmos. He also spoke about climate change.

 2 
Carl Ritter
(Co-founder of Modern Geography)

Carl Ritter
3
Birthdate: August 7, 1779
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Quedlinburg, Germany
Died: September 28, 1859

Carl Ritter was a German geographer considered one of the founders of modern geography. He taught history at the University of Berlin and was one of the mentors of the explorer Heinrich Barth, who traveled in Northern and Western Africa. A prolific researcher and writer, Ritter produced a staggering amount of geographical literature in his lifetime. 

 3 
Friedrich Ratzel
(Biologist, Geopolitician, Geographer, Zoologist, Political scientist, University teacher)

Friedrich Ratzel
5
Birthdate: August 30, 1844
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Karlsruhe
Died: August 9, 1904

Friedrich Ratzel was a German ethnographer and geographer. He was the first person to use the term Lebensraum, which would later become an important and popular word among the National Socialists. Also an influential writer, Friedrich Ratzel's works served as a justification for imperial expansion. 

Recommended Lists:

 4 
Wladimir Köppen
(Geographer)

Wladimir Köppen
3
Birthdate: October 7, 1846
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: June 22, 1940

Wladimir Köppen was a Russian-German meteorologist, geographer, botanist, and climatologist. He is best remembered for publishing the Köppen climate classification system, which is used even today. Wladimir Köppen made important contributions to many branches of science. He is also credited with coining the term aerology.

 5 
Martin Behaim
(Geographer and navigator)

Martin Behaim
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1459
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nürnberg, Germany
Died: July 29, 1507

Martin Behaim was a German cartographer and textile merchant best remembered for producing the oldest surviving terrestrial globe, the Erdapfel. Behaim was an adviser to John II of Portugal who consulted him in matters of navigation. Martin Behaim also took part in an expedition to West Africa.

 6 

Ernst Georg Ravenstein
2
Birthdate: December 30, 1834
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 13, 1913

Ernst Georg Ravenstein was a German-English cartographer and geographer. His efforts to introduce scientific methods in cartography in the United Kingdom earned him the first Victoria gold medal from the Royal Geographical Society. Ernst Georg Ravenstein is also credited with establishing a sporting association in London called the German Gymnastics Society in 1861.     

 7 
Ferdinand von Mueller
(Physician & Geographer)

Ferdinand von Mueller
2
Birthdate: June 30, 1825
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rostock, Germany
Died: October 10, 1896

Ferdinand von Mueller was a German-Australian geographer, physician, and botanist. He is credited with founding the National Herbarium of Victoria, the oldest scientific institution in Victoria. He is also credited with naming several Australian plants. Such is his popularity that many plants, animals, journals, and places in Australia are named after him. 

You May Like

 8 
Sebastian Münster
(Cartographer)

Sebastian Münster
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1488
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ingelheim am Rhein, Germany
Died: May 26, 1552

Sebastian Münster was a German cosmographer, cartographer, and scholar. He is credited with writing the oldest German description of the world, the Cosmographia. One of the most popular and successful works of the 16th century, the Cosmographia had several editions in different languages such as English, Latin, Italian, and French.

 9 
Ferdinand von Richthofen
(Geographer, Traveler)

Ferdinand von Richthofen
2
Birthdate: May 5, 1833
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pokój, Poland
Died: October 6, 1905

Ferdinand von Richthofen, also known as Baron von Richthofen, was a German geographer who discovered quite a few places in and around China, thus contributing to his book China, the Results of My Travels and the Studies Based Thereon. He worked on chorography and chorology and also developed geomorphology.

 10 

Bernhardus Varenius
1
Birthdate: 1622 AD
Birthplace: Hitzacker, Germany
Died: 1650 AD

Bernhardus Varenius was a German geographer best remembered for his work Geographia Generalis, which attempted to lay the general principles of geography on a wide scientific basis. His work had several editions, including the Cambridge edition of 1672 in which Sir Isaac Newton had introduced many significant improvements.

 11 

Erich von Drygalski
1
Birthdate: February 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Königsberg, Russia
Died: January 10, 1949

Erich von Drygalski was a German geographer, polar scientist, and geophysicist. He is best remembered for leading two expeditions to explore the unexplored area of Antarctica in the early 1890s with the help of the Society for Geoscience of Berlin. Erich von Drygalski also served as a professor of geophysics and geography in Berlin.

 12 
Alfred Hettner
(Geographer)

Alfred Hettner
1
Birthdate: August 6, 1859
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: August 31, 1941

 13 
Berthold Laufer
(Anthropologist)

Berthold Laufer
1
Birthdate: October 11, 1874
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: September 13, 1934

German anthropologist and historical-geographer Berthold Laufer who virtually remained the only sinologist working in the US for over three-decades, made significant contributions in shedding light on the attributes of the Chinese and Tibetan culture. He served as the curator of Asiatic Ethnology and Anthropology at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, and made major contributions to its collections.

 14 
Albrecht Penck
(Geographer)

Albrecht Penck
1
Birthdate: September 25, 1858
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: March 7, 1945

German geographer and geologist Albrecht Penck is noted for exercising a major influence on the development of modern German geography and also for his research that confirmed the four ice ages of the European Pleistocene (Gunz, Mindel, Riss, Würm). He co-authored Die Alpen im Eiszeitalter with Eduard Bruckner, which served as a standard reference on the ice ages for many decades.

 15 
Carl Humann
(Engineer)

Carl Humann
1
Birthdate: January 4, 1839
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Essen, Germany
Died: April 12, 1896

Carl Humann, one of the 19th century self-made archaeologists who never studied archaeology nor did any advanced degree in the field, rose to prominence after he discovered the Pergamon Altar that is counted among the finest examples of Hellenistic sculpture. His excavation of the ancient Greek city of Pergamum also brought to light much about Hellenistic city planning.

 16 
Gerhard Rohlfs
(Explorer)

Gerhard Rohlfs
1
Birthdate: April 14, 1831
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vegesack, Germany
Died: June 2, 1896

Being the son of a physician, geographer Gerhard Rohlfs was expected to take up medicine but was more interested in exploring uncharted territories and thus joined the French Foreign Legion. Best known for his journeys across North Africa, he had initially learned Arabic to travel to Morocco disguised as an Arab.

 17 
Philipp Clüver
(Geographer)

Philipp Clüver
1
Birthdate: 1580 AD
Birthplace: Gdańsk, Poland
Died: December 31, 1622

While he initially studied law and science, Philipp Clüver later joined the military and traveled throughout Europe on foot. Largely known for pioneering historical geography, he is remembered for his 6-volume treatise Introduction to Universal Geography. He had also been an academic geographer in Leiden.

 18 
Fritz Graebner
(Geographer)

Fritz Graebner
1
Birthdate: March 4, 1877
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 13, 1934

German ethnologist Robert Fritz Graebner is known as a pioneering figure of the Vienna School of Ethnology and promoted the theory of Kulturkreise, or culture complex. During World War I, he was interned in Australia as an enemy but utilized his time in studying the different types of culture there.

 19 
Lucas Holstenius
(Geographer)

Lucas Holstenius
0
Birthdate: September 27, 1596
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: February 2, 1661

German classical scholar Lucas Holstenius is best remembered for his Epistolae ad diversos, which offers a mirror of his era. His notes and annotations on various geographical works are also significant. He also headed the Vatican Library as its librarian and revised the Italian map at the Vatican gallery.

 20 

Anton Friedrich Büsching
0
Birthdate: September 27, 1724
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stadthagen, Germany
Died: May 28, 1793

Best known for his seven-part magnum opus Erdbeschreibung, German geographer Anton Friedrich Büsching stressed on the statistical study of geography, as opposed to the traditional descriptive study. Ill-treated by his father in childhood, he was taught for free by a clergyman, and grew up to devote himself to geographical science.

 21 
Siegfried Passarge
(Geographer)

Siegfried Passarge
0
Birthdate: November 28, 1866
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Königsberg, Germany
Died: July 26, 1958

Born to renowned travel writer Ludwig Passarge, Siegfried Passarge was naturally interested in geography and studied the subject in Jena and Berlin. Initially a military physician, he later became a geologist and surveyor and eventually a professor. Known for his research on southern Africa, he also pioneered racial geography.