Last updated in April 2018
German‑Spanish relations are close and friendly and are fostered by the positive basic attitude of each country’s population towards the other. Approximately 130,000 Spaniards live in Germany today, while recent estimates put the number of German nationals living in Spain on a permanent basis (i.e. for more than three months a year) at well above 500,000. Over eleven million German tourists visited Spain in 2016.
The two countries maintain a close bilateral dialogue. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel last visited Spain on 25 August 2014 at the invitation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. She hosted a return visit by Prime Minister Rajoy to Meseberg on 31 August 2015. Germany’s then Federal President Joachim Gauck last visited Spain at the invitation of the Spanish King and Queen on 1 February 2017.
Germany is Spain’s second‑largest trading partner after France, but ranks first among suppliers of the country’s imports. In 2017, German suppliers continued to benefit from strong demand for investment goods and consumer durables.
Germany is a major direct investor in Spain. According to Deutsche Bundesbank figures, 1313 German companies (with an aggregate balance sheet of over three million euros) have subsidiaries or holdings in Spain, many with their own production facilities. According to the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE), the figure is as much as 2022. Tourism also plays a key role in the two countries’ economic relations. In 2017, 11.9 million Germans visited Spain, making them the third‑largest group of tourists, after the British and the French.
Germany and Spain have close and vibrant cultural ties. Spain’s major museums regularly mount exhibitions of German artists. An example is the show “Max Beckmann, figuras del exilio”, which will open at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid on 23 October 2018. In addition, renowned German orchestras are regularly invited to play guest concerts in Spain; in 2018, these will include Berliner Philharmoniker, Leipzig’s Gewandhausorchester and the Munich Philharmonic. Germans and Spaniards take a keen interest in the other country’s literature and cinema. For several years in a row, Spain has been the second most important source of foreign license partnerships for German publishing houses, while contemporary Spanish authors such as Javier Marías and Fernando Aramburo consistently rank high on German best-seller lists. Spain will be guest of honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse - Frankfurt Book Fair in 2021. In April 2018, the German Academy for Language and Literature will hold its Spring Conference in Spain ‒ in the historic university city of Salamanca ‒ for the first time since its founding.
The Goethe-Institut’s branch offices in Madrid and Barcelona enrich the country’s cultural life. Their focus is on cultural exchange, education dialogue and German language instruction.
According to figures from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, a total of approximately120,000 pupils throughout Spain are learning German. Of these, 63,000 receive instruction at state schools. There are currently 22 schools in Spain participating in the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH), a worldwide network of schools funded by the Federal Foreign Office, which includes seven German schools abroad ‒ in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Málaga, Santa Cruz de Tenerifa und Las Palmas ‒ that receive financial support and personnel from Germany. Pupils at these schools can obtain the German higher education entrance qualification (Abitur). In addition, there are two German profile schools (DPS) in San Sebastian and Seville, as well as two German vocational schools in Madrid and Barcelona (FEDA Business Schools).
The German Archaeological Institute (DAI) has a department in Madrid that is responsible for Spain, Portugal and North Africa.
There are more than 2500 formal cooperation agreements between the two countries’ universities. German and Spanish institutions are engaged in numerous joint research projects, underlining the intensity of the cooperation between the two countries. A key player here is the Asociación Alexander von Humboldt de España with its close‑knit network of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation alumni.
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has run an Information Centre in Madrid since November 2011. It also has nine German Studies lectors working at Spanish universities.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its Contents.