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.
So it came of something of a surprise to find German punk singer Nina Hagen was one of her three musical choices.
The other two pieces were fairly standard - a popular song by Hildegard Knef called For Me It Should Rain Red Roses and an 18th-Century hymn. She is, after all, a Lutheran pastor's daughter.
But Hagen's 1974 East German hit is very much not. You Forgot The Colour Film - Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen - is about a boyfriend called Michael who takes her on holiday and takes a black-and-white film for the camera.