Logo Goethe-Institut.png
Founded1951; 69 years ago (1951)
FounderGovernment of Germany
TypeCultural institution
Area served
ProductGerman cultural and language education
Key people
Prof. Dr. h.c. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann (President), Johannes Ebert (Secretary General), Rainer Pollack (Business Director)
Goethe Institut Kuala Lumpur. It has since moved to an office building on the same road, next to the American embassy
Goethe-Institut, Prague
Goethe Institut Oslo
The Goethe-Institut Philippinen in Makati City, Philippines.
Library of the Goethe-Institut Philippines
Osterfest 2019 Goethe-Sprachlernzentrum, Shenyang

The Goethe-Institut (German: [ˈɡøːtə ʔɪnstiˌtuːt], GI, "English: Goethe Institute") is a non-profit German cultural association operational worldwide with 159 institutes, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations. Around 246,000 people take part in these German courses per year.

The Goethe-Institut fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information on German culture, society and politics. This includes the exchange of films, music, theatre, and literature. Goethe cultural societies, reading rooms, and exam and language centers have played a role in the cultural and educational policies of Germany for more than 60 years.[1]

It is named after German poet and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The Goethe-Institut e.V. is autonomous and politically independent.[2]

Partners of the institute and its centers are public and private cultural institutions, the federal states, local authorities and the world of commerce. Much of the Goethe-Institut's overall budget consists of yearly grants from the German Foreign Office and the German Press Office. The relationship with the Foreign Office is governed by general agreement. Self-generated income and contributions from sponsors and patrons, partners and friends broaden the scope of the work of the Goethe-Institut.


Goethe Institut headquarters, Munich

The Goethe-Institut is mainly financed by the national government of Germany, and has around 1,000 employees and an overall budget of approximately 366 million euros at its disposal, more than half of which is generated from language course tuition and examination fees. The Goethe-Institut offers scholarships, including tuition waiver, to students from foreign countries, who want to become teachers of German. One of the selection criteria for these scholarships is social or financial need.

Locations by country[]

Old Goethe Institut building located on Tonalá Street in Colonia Roma in Mexico City (It has been remodeled)


The Goethe-Institut offers e-learning courses as well.[10]


The institute has developed a series of exams for learners of German as a foreign language (Deutsch als Fremdsprache, DaF) at all levels: A1 up to C2. These can be taken both in Germany and abroad, and have been adapted to fit into the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFL), the standard for European language testing. There is also one exam, the Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom, which is at a higher level than the highest CEFL level.[11] Below is a table of the basic Goethe-Institut exams as they fit into the scheme:[12]

CEFL level Goethe-Institut exam Instructional hours (45 minutes) needed
C2 Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom 1,000
C1 Goethe-Zertifikat C1 (Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch) 800–1,000 (both)
B2 Goethe-Zertifikat B2 (Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf) 600–800
B1 Goethe-Zertifikat B1 (Zertifikat Deutsch) 350–650
A2 Goethe-Zertifikat A2 200–350
A1 Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 80–200

In 2000, the Goethe-Institut helped to found the Society for Academic Test Development (Gesellschaft für Akademische Testentwicklung e.V.). The resulting TestDaF exams are run by the TestDaF-Institut in Hagen. The tests are supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and are aimed at people who would like to study at German universities, academics and scientists. The TestDaF can be taken in Germany as well as in 65 other countries.

In addition there is the Green Diploma to acquire and prove German as a foreign language teaching qualifications.[13]

Awards given[]

The two US-related annually granted awards for literature translations from German into English are: the renowned Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize, and the Gutekunst Prize of the Friends of Goethe New York which is open to college students and to all translators under the age of 35 who, at the time the prize is awarded, have not yet published.[14]

Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize[]

Goethe Medal[]

Once a year, the Goethe-Institut awards the Goethe Medal, an official decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany. It honours foreign personalities who have performed outstanding service for the German language and international cultural relations. The Goethe Medal was established by the executive committee of the Goethe-Institut in 1954 and acknowledged as an official decoration by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1975.

Goethe-Institut Award for New Translation[]

The Society of Authors and the Goethe-Institut, London administer the biennial Goethe-Institut Award for New Translation.

Famous students[]


In 2005, along with the Alliance française, the Società Dante Alighieri, the British Council, the Instituto Cervantes, and the Instituto Camões, the Goethe-Institut was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for achievements in communications and the humanities.

In 2007, it received a special Konrad Duden Prize for its work in the field of German language.[17]

See also[]


  1. ^ Goethe-Institut looks back on 60 years of cultural exchange, 29 August 2011, Deutsche Welle, accessed 9 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Das Goethe-Institut" (PDF). Bundestag. Berlin: Bundestag, Wissenschaftliche Dienste. 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  3. ^ Goethe-Institut to close center in North Korea on censorship claim, 26 November 2009, Deutsche Welle, accessed 9 May 2012.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 14 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "About us - Goethe-Institut Bangladesh". www.goethe.de. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Goethe-Institut to start Tiruchi centre next year". The Hindu. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  8. ^ "GOETHE CENTRES". Goethe.de.
  9. ^ "Contact and opening hours - Goethe-Institut Kenia". www.goethe.de. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  10. ^ John George. "Deutsche Sprache - Goethe-Institut". Goethe.de. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  11. ^ "Goethe-Institut launches Tiruchi Centre". The Hindu. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Deutschprüfungen – Unsere Prüfungen – Goethe-Institut". Goethe.de. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  13. ^ "The 'Green diploma' training programme - Goethe-Institut Libanon". www.goethe.de. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Gutekunst Prize of the Friends of Goethe New York". Goethe-Institut New York. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  15. ^ a b c Pataczek, Anna (25 July 2013). "Deutsch lernen mit Schnäpschen". Der Tagesspiegel. Berlin. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  16. ^ Barmé, Geremie R. (2000). In the Red: On Contemporary Chinese Culture. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 110. ISBN 9780231502450.
  17. ^ "Pressemitteilungen - 2019 - Goethe-Institut". www.goethe.de. Retrieved 27 September 2019.

External links[]