At the event, Mrs Merkel urged the audience to "always see the world through the eyes of others".
The ceremonial tattoo, or Grosser Zapfenstreich, is now a tradition for departing political figures.
And after her 16 years as leader, the ceremony comes with a marching band and torchlight procession.
But what set German tongues wagging was the music she chose.
Mrs Merkel is a passionate music lover, but in her words "mostly classical music", and she's a regular visitor to the Bayreuth Festival, which showcases the work of composer Richard Wagner.