He succeeds Joachim Gauck, who some months ago announced his decision not to seek a second term as president.
President Steinmeier, who is the 12th man in the job, was a member of the SPD and a former German Foreign Minister.
He was born in Detmold in Westphalia. His father was a carpenter and his mother, who was present in the Bundestag today, is a refugee from Breslau, today Wrocklaw in Poland.
Steinmeier will move into Schloss Bellevue, in the heart of Berlin on March 19.
Included in the electorate who voted for a new president was German football manager, Joachim Löw.