The promotion of German as a Foreign Language

German is the most widely spoken language in Europe and over 100 million people call it their native language. Nearly 15 million people speak and learn German as a foreign language.

Within the scope of its cultural relations and education policy, the German Federal Foreign Office coordinates the many different promotion programmes and individual measures carried out by various intermediary organiszations worldwide but supported with Federal funds.

Cooperation partners for language promotion are the Goethe-Institut (GI), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Federal Office of Administration – Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), the Educational Exchange Service (PAD), the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) and Deutsche Welle (DW). Thanks to their multi faceted engagement these institutions and their international partners help to ensure the development and expansion of German language skills abroad.Over 300 million euro is currently being made available for the promotion of the German language abroad, primarily at German Schools abroad, universities and in adult education.

Afrikanische Schülerin

The promotion of the German Language in Kenya

In Kenya, there are about 3.600 persons learning German every year mostly at schools are private institutions as the Goethe Institut Nairobi. In addition, the German School and the German Academic Exc...

"German - Language of Ideas"

The Federal Foreign Office is working with various organizations to promote the German language worldwide.

"German - Language of Ideas" is a campaign which has been launched by Federal Minister Guido Westerwelle with an homage to the German language. Excerpt from his statement:

"German is the language at the heart of Europe, spoken by more people as a native tongue than any other European language. It is the key to more than 350 German universities and to the largest economy in Europe. Our campaign ... seeks to inspire young people to learn German.

Germany stands for technology and design, for creativity and quality, factors which make it internationally attractive. Learning German gives people access to one of the world's best education and training systems. It opens the door to German literature, music, philosophy and science, to the wealth of major European cultural traditions and, not least, allows you to realize your own aims and ideas."

The campaign will coordinate and present numerous initiatives in a series of individual events all around the world.

Why learn German?

If you can speak German, you can

  •  read works by the great authors of the last centuries such as Goethe, Schiller and Brecht in the original;

  • include something on your CV that will catch the eye of prospective employers;
  •  study free of charge at a university in Germany, Austria or Switzerland;
  •  visit the Berlinale, go to Munich for the Oktoberfest or join in Karneval in Cologne;
  •  read the latest academic publications (German is the second most popular language in academic publications, and 28% of all books published worldwide are written in German);
  •  apply for jobs on the international stage. German is one of the official languages of the European Union and is also used in many other international organizations.

German as a Foreign Language

Living language: German is the mother tongue of more than 100 million people.


Logo Deutsche Welle

The skills to succeed in today's Africa: "Learning by Ear", DW's new multimedia distance-learning programme, brings knowledge to every corner of the continent.

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)

Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst

Information on higher education and studying in Germany, including in particular information about international degree programmes, university admission requirements in Germany, DAAD scholarship programmes, language examinations, summer courses and up-to-date reports on life in Germany.

Goethe Institut

Grünes Logo des Goethe-Instituts

The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. We promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange.

IFA - Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations

IFA - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen

The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, ifa) is an organization operating worldwide to promote artistic exchange and dialogue between civil societies and to provide information about foreign cultural policy.

PASCH - Schools: Partners for the Future

Auswärtiges Amt Minister Westerwelle mit Jugendlichen

In February 2008 the Federal Foreign Office launched the “Schools: Partners for the Future” (PASCH) initiative. The aim of PASCH is to create and strengthen a global network of some 1500 partner schools with special links to Germany.