We scanned the lists of Europe’s wealthy, to find the 10 richest Europeans in 2022.
All of the people on this list are billionaires, and range from heirs of famous luxury brands, to logistics magnates, to owners of well-known supermarket chains. Some are so reclusive, you might never have heard of them.
Here is the list of the 10 richest Europeans in 2022:
#1: Bernard Arnault
First up is Bernard Arnault, the French businessman, who has a wealth of €158 billion. Arnault co-founded LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton SE, the largest luxury goods company in the world. He is still its chairman and chief executive.
Bernard Arnault’s youngest sons, by his second wife Hélène Mercier, Frédéric and Jean, were taught French by Brigitte Macron, Emmanuel Macron’s wife. Arnault supported Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the 2017 French presidential election.
No, Arnault was reported to have applied for Belgian citizenship in 2013, but he withdrew his request after claiming that he was misquoted. He stated that his request for Belgian citizenship had been misinterpreted as an attempt at tax evasion, but this was not the case. He remains a French citizen.
#2: Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
The richest woman in the world, Frenchwoman Francoise Bettencourt Meyers has inherited a 33% stake in the L’Oréal brand, as the daughter of Liliane Bettencourt and granddaughter of Eugène Schueller, L’Oréal’s founder. Her wealth is estimated to be €74 billion.
In 2019, Notre-Dame de Paris, the famous cathedral, was severedly damaged by fire. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, along with L’Oréal, pledged to donate €226 billion to restore the cathedral to its former glory.
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers’ mother was Liliane Bettencourt, who was, before her death in 2017, the richest woman in the world. She was the daughter of Louise Madeleine Berthe and Euguène Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal, inheriting the L’Oréal fortune in 1957, when her father died.
#3: Amancio Ortega
Amancio Ortega is the third richest European, with a net worth of €59 billion. Born in the León region of Spain, and brought up in the Spanish Basque country, Ortega is the founder of Inditex fashion group, of which the Zara and Bershka clothing shops are part.
Amancio Ortegao opened the first Zara shop in 1975, in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, along with his wife Rosalía Mera. The shop was initially called Zorba, after the 1964 film Zorba the Greek, but was changed shortly afterwards. The first Zara shop to open outside of Spain was in Porto, Portugal, in 1985.
Amancio Ortega is an extremely private person, but it is believed that he owns two Mercedes-Benz cars, a S-Class and a GL-Class. He also owns two yachts, called ‘Drizzle’ and ‘Valoria B’. It has been reported that he owns two private jets, a Bombardier Global Express and a Gulfstream G650.
#4: Dieter Schwarz
83-year-old German Dieter Schwarz, is the owner of Schwarz-Gruppe, which includes the supermarkets Lidl and Kaufland. He has a net worth of €47 billion and is the fourth richest person in Europe.
Yes, Lidl opened its first store in the US in 2017. Most Lidl stores are concentrated around Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Yes, Dieter Schwarz married Franziska Weipert in 1963. They have two daughters and they live in Heilbronn, Germany. Schwarz is an incredibly private individual, who never gives interviews or appears in the media.
#5: Rodolphe Saade
Rodolphe Saade is French and Lebanese, and has a wealth of €41 billion. He is the chairman of the CMA CGM Group, which was founded by his father, and is a company which specialises in logistics.
At the 2019 G7 meeting, Rodolphe Saade stated that his container ships will not use the Northeast passage, as it becomes more accessible due to melting sea-ice in the Arctic. This northern route is becoming more popular with global maritime traffic due to climate warming, and Saade is keen to protect the wildlife of the Arctic by not using that route.
The CMA CGM Group operates more than 500 container ships worldwide. The company operates in 420 commercial ports in a total of 160 countries around the world.
#6: Francois Pinault
86-year-old Frenchman Francois Pinault is founder of the luxury company Kering. He has a net worth of €40 billion, making him the sixth wealthiest European in 2022.
Through the family’s investment holding company, Artémis, Francois Pinault owns the following vineyards: Château Latour in Bordeaux, Clos de Tarn in Bourgogne, Château Grillet in the Rhône Valley, Domaine d’Eugénie in Vosne-Romanée and Eisele Vineyard in the Napa Valley.
Francois Pinault’s art collection reportedly contains over 5,000 works, mostly by contemporary artists. Favourites include David Hammons, Damien Hurst, Subodh Gupta, Bruce Nauman and Robert Ryman. In 1980, he bought one of his first valuable artworks, Cour de ferme by Paul Sérusier, and he owns other works from the 20th century.
#7: Klaus-Michael Kühne
Klaus-Michael Kühne is the richest German and the seventh richest European. He owns 53.3% of the transport company Kühne + Nagel and he has a wealth of €37 billion. Kühne + Nagel was co-founded by his grandfather, August Kühne.
Klaus-Michael Kühne has a stake in other rail, shipping and airline companies. In 2016, Kühne Holding AG took 20% ownership of the rail logistics company VTS. In 2020, he increased his stake in the Hapag-Lloyd shipping company from 26% to 30%, and in 2022 he increased his stake in the German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
Yes, in Hamburg, the Kühne Logistics University is named after him.
#7: Beate Heister & Karl Albrecht Jr
The third and fourth Germans on our list, Beate Heister & Karl Albrecht Jr, are heirs to the supermarket chain Aldi. Aldi was founded by Karl Albrecht, their father, and Theo Albrecht, their uncle, and they have a net worth of €36 billion.
Aldi was split up between brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht. Karl got all the shops in southern Germany (Aldi Süd), along with the rights to the Aldi brand in the UK, Australia and the US. Theo took over the shops in northern Germany and the rest of Europe.
There are more than 2,000 Aldi stores in the US, spread across 36 states.
#9: Giovanni Ferrero
58-year-old Italian Giovanni Ferrero is the richest person in Italy and eighth richest person in Europe. He is heir to the Ferrero confectionery company, and is currently executive chairman. He has a wealth of €36 billion.
Giovanni Ferrero studied at the European Schools in Brussels, Belgium, before studying marketing at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, US.
The Ferrero company is famous for Ferrero Rocher, the small hazelnut and chocolate balls, but it also makes Nutella, Kinder chocolates and Tic Tacs. In 2018, Ferrero took over Nestle’s confectionery business, at a cost of $2.8 billion.
#10: Alain & Gerard Wertheimer
Tenth on our list are Frenchmen Alain & Gerard Wertheimer, who inherited the Chanel brand from their co-founder grandfather, Pierre (Coco being the other co-founder, of course). They have a net worth of €31 billion. Alain Wertheimer is overall chairman of Chanel and Gerard Wertheimer is chairman of Chanel’s watch division.
Over the years, Chanel has aquired a number of other companies. These include Eres Lingerie and beachwear, British gunmaker Holland & Holland, and Tanner Krolle saddles and leather goods.
Alain & Gerard Wertheimer own several vineyards, both in France and California. These include Château Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux, and Château Canon in Saint-Émilion.