Goethe Institut Kuala Lumpur

Goethe Institut Kuala Lumpur

Goethe-Institut, Prague

Goethe-Institut, Prague

Goethe-Institut Oaxaca de Juárez

Goethe-Institut Oaxaca de Juárez

Goethe Institut Oslo

Goethe Institut Oslo

The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institution operational worldwide, promoting the study of German abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange. The Goethe-Institut also fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information on its culture, society and politics.

With the network of the Goethe-Institute, Goethe-Zentren (Goethe Centers), cultural societies, reading rooms and exam and language centers, it has played a central role in the cultural and educational policies of Germany for close to 60 years.

The Goethe-Institut draws its information from the many sections of our cosmopolitan society and culture, combining the experience and ideas of our partners with cross-cultural expertise, the principle of dialogue and partnership, offering support to all those actively involved with Germany and its language and culture. The Goethe-Institut e.V. is an autonomous body and politically independent.

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. The Goethe-Institut carefully coordinates its activities with other mediators of cultural and educational foreign policy.

The Goethe-Institut (GI) is a German non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote German language and culture outside of the German-speaking countries. Its primary concern is teaching German as a second language. The Goethe-Institut's second goal is to strengthen Germany's international cultural relations. This includes not only the exchange of films, music, theatre, literature, and the like, but also the values of civil society.


1951 The Goethe-Institut is founded as successor to the German Academy (Deutsche Akademie/DA). Its first task is to provide further training for foreign German teachers in Germany.

1953 The first language courses run by the Goethe-Institut begin in Bad Reichenhall. Due to growing demand, new centres of learning are soon opened in Murnau and Kochel, the focus of selection being on towns which are small and idyllic and which show post-war Germany at its best. Lessons are taught from the first textbook developed by the Goethe-Institut, the now legendary "Schulz-Griesbach".

1953-55 The first foreign lectorships of what was the German Academy are taken on by the Goethe-Institut. Responsibilities include German tuition, teacher training and providing a program of cultural events to accompany courses.

1959-60 On the initiative of the head of the arts sector of the Foreign Office, Dieter Sattler, the Goethe-Institut gradually takes over all of the German cultural institutes abroad. This development of a broad international institute network signals an intensification of Germany's foreign cultural policy.

1968 Influenced by the student revolts of the late 1960s the Goethe-Institut readjusts its program of cultural events to include socio-political topics and avant-garde art.

1970 Acting on behalf of the Foreign Office Ralf Dahrendorf develops his "guiding principles for foreign cultural policy". Cultural work involving dialog and partnership is declared the third pillar of German foreign policy. During the Willy Brandt era the concept of "extended culture" forms the basis of activities at the Goethe-Institut.

1976 The Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut sign a general agreement governing the status of the Goethe-Institut, henceforth an independent cultural organization.

1980 A new concept regarding the location of institutes within Germany is drawn up. Places of instruction in small towns, mostly in Bavaria, are replaced by institutes in cities and university towns.

1989/90 The fall of the Berlin Wall also marks a turning point for the Goethe-Institut. Its activities in the 1990s are thus strongly centred on Eastern Europe. Numerous new institutes are set up as a result.

2001 The Goethe-Institut merges with Inter Nationes.

2004 The Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes establishes the first Western information centre in Pjöngyang / North Korea.

The Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes reverts to its original and official name, Goethe-Institut (GI).

2005 The Goethe-Institut is honored with the Prince-of-Asturia-Price of Spain

2007 For the first time in more then ten years the German parliament decides to increase the funds of the Goethe-Institut.

It is named after
German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


The Goethe-Institut is mainly financed by the national government of Germany, and has around 3,300 employees and an overall budget of approximately 278 million euros at its disposal, more than half of which is generated from language course tuition and examination fees. The Goethe-Institut offers scholarships to students from foreign countries. Most of these scholarships, however, are aimed at teachers of German.

The Goethe-Institut has its headquarters in Munich. Its president is Professor Dr. Jutta Limbach, the General Secretary Dr. Hans-Georg Knopp; Financial Manager Mr. Jürgen Maier.


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 (CEF), the standard for European language testing. There is also one exam, the Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom, which is at a higher level than the highest CEF level. Below is a table of the basic Goethe-Institut exams as they fit into the scheme:

CEF level Goethe-Institut exam


Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung, Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom


Goethe-Zertifikat C1 - Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung (neu), Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch


Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf


Zertifikat Deutsch


Start Deutsch 2


Start Deutsch 1

In 2000, the Goethe-Institut also 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 countries worldwide.


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 outstanding achievements in communications and the humanities.

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

By country

  • In Iran, the Goethe-Institut officially opened in Tehran in 1958, but was forced to close down in 1981 due to a diplomatic row with Germany. It reopened under the German embassy in Tehran as a "point for dialogue."

Virtual presence

The Goethe-Institut offers e-learning courses and plans to open an island in the 3D virtual world Second Life .

See also


  1. 06.03.2007: Goethe-Institut erhält Konrad-Duden-Sonderpreis (German)
  2. Schlösser, Nico Daniel. "Zweite Chance", Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2007-07-30. 

External links

Nico Daniel


Zweite Chance


Süddeutsche Zeitung