Promotion of the German language


Promoting the German language is a major instrument in cultural relations and education policy. It fosters dialogue, exchange and cooperation between people and cultures.

Many people who learn German develop long-term ties with Germany. That also applies to future decision-makers. They become familiar with a modern and realistic image of Germany. Promoting the German language thus also strengthens Germany as a location for business, science and study.

Considerable interest in learning German

Deutschlerner mit Wörterbuch
Deutsche Sprache© picture-alliance/dpa

The latest survey of German learners showed that interest in learning German has increased in many places during the last five years. German is increasingly popular in South America and in the Middle East. In Asia especially, the number of German learners has risen since 2010.

On presenting the worldwide survey on German learners together with representatives of the Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Central Agency for Schools Abroad and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany, Minister of State Maria Böhmer stated on 21 April 2015:

Promoting the German language abroad is a focus of the German Government’s cultural relations and education policy. At present, around 15.4 people around the world are learning German – that is an encouraging number! But we can get even more people to learn our language. We therefore have a twofold goal: firstly to stabilise the number of German learners in Europe on a long-term basis. And secondly, we want to meet the rapidly growing demand for German in emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil or Viet Nam.

German is largely learned as a second foreign language, in the vast majority of cases it is studied by school pupils. Anchoring multilingualism in education systems is thus a key prerequisite to promoting German as a foreign language abroad, as well as for linguistic diversity in general.

The Year of German Language and Literature 2014/15 in Moscow
The Year of German Language and Literature 2014/15 in Moscow© Goethe-Institut/Anastasia Tsayder

Language projects span generations and need continuous long-term investment. The various initiatives and measures within the scope of cultural relations and education policy underpin this approach. Around 315 million euro is currently being made available each year for the promotion of the German language abroad, primarily at German schools abroad, universities and in adult education.

Enthusiasm for German as a foreign language

Large-scale campaigns and promotion programmes are intended to interest young people abroad in the German language and encourage decision-makers in politics, education, commerce and the media at home and abroad to support the promotion of German as a foreign language worldwide.

The “Schools: Partners for the Future” initiative

The “Schools: Partners for the Future” initiative launched by the Federal Foreign Office in 2008 has built up a worldwide network of partner schools, particularly in the growth economies of Asia, the Middle East and in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. At present, 600,000 pupils around the world are attending one of the more than 1,800 partner schools keen to encourage sustained interest in contemporary Germany and the German language.

German in the EU

Under the Europanetzwerk Deutsch (European Network for the German Language) scholarship programme, the Goethe-Institut and the Federal Foreign Office invites senior EU officials as well as senior officials in EU partner countries to take part in a language course in Germany.

You can find more information at: www.goethe.de/en/spr/eng/eur.html

Cooperation partners for language promotion

Logo GI
Logo GI

The Goethe-Institut promotes the German language abroad through language and further-training courses, engages in international cultural cooperation and seeks to provide a wide-ranging view of Germany and German culture.

Its language policy engagement focuses on developing and extending worldwide international education networks and seeking to establish two foreign languages on the curriculum in schools in Europe and elsewhere.



The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) promotes the German language at the interface with Germany as a study location: DAAD lecturers teach German language, literature, culture and other subjects with a German connection at universities abroad.

Furthermore, the DAAD arranges and supports study and research scholarships at German universities and offers language courses for students about to embark on studies in Germany.


Logo PAD
Logo PAD

The Educational Exchange Service (PAD) promotes exchanges and cooperation between German schools and schools abroad. Its programmes are directed at:

- schools which run school partnerships

- German teachers looking for further-training courses, secondments or a one-year further-training programme

- education experts from Europe wanting to arrange study visits

- students who help in class in a school over the course of a school year

- pupils with an excellent knowledge of German, who are invited for a stay in Germany


Additional content


The Deutsches Sprachdiplom (DSD) may be gained worldwide at the German schools abroad as well as at foreign-state public and private-sector education institutions. It serves as proof that the holder has attained the level of German language skills required for studying in Germany.

More information on the DAAD website

As part of the Europanetzwerk Deutsch programme, the Foreign Office and the Goethe Institut are inviting a select group of people from EU countries, associated countries and EU institutions to an exclusive language course in Germany.

More informatin on the website of the Goethe Institut

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