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Solved it: The admin user credentials also need to be put into /etc/nova/api-paste.ini.

In the example installation linked above, this looks like this:

admin_tenant_name=demo
admin_user=admin
admin_password=secrete

But could someone please explain this to me: a) I have to set these credentials in the environment variables, but they are then overridden by the settings in that ini file? b) What are these mysterious paste-ini files good for anyway. They seem to often cover the same settings as the config files and co-exist with these, override these sometimes.... very confusing.