Founded 1951
Founder Government of Germany
Type Cultural institution
Area served
Product German cultural and language education
Key people
Prof. Dr. h.c. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann (President), Johannes Ebert (Secretary General), Dr. Bruno Gross (Business Director)
Slogan Sprache. Kultur. Deutschland. (Language. Culture. Germany.)
Website http://www.goethe.de/enindex.htm
Goethe Institut Kuala Lumpur
Goethe-Institut, Prague
Goethe Institut Oslo
The Goethe-Institut Philippinen in Makati City, Philippines.
Library of the Goethe-Institut Philippines

The Goethe-Institut (German: [ˈɡøːtə ɪnstiˈtuːt], 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.

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.

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 3,000 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.

The Goethe-Institut has its headquarters in Munich. Its president is Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, the General Secretary Johannes Ebert; Financial Manager Dr. Bruno Gross.

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.[6]


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.[7] Below is a table of the basic Goethe-Institut exams as they fit into the scheme:[8]

CEFL level Goethe-Institut exam Instructional hours (45 minutes) needed
C2 Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom 1000
C1 Goethe-Zertifikat C1, Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch 800 - 1000 (both)
B2 Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf, Goethe-Zertifikat B2 600 - 800
B1 Goethe-Zertifikat B1 (Zertifikat Deutsch) 350 - 650
A2 Start Deutsch 2 200 - 350
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.

Awards given

Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize

Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize is an annual literary prize honoring an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year.[9] The translator of the winning translation receives $10,000 and a stay at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB).[9] The prize was established in 1996, and is funded by the German government. It was administered by the Goethe-Institut, Chicago until 2014. Since 2015, the prize has been administered by the Goethe-Institut New York.[9]

Prize recipients have included:

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.


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. Goethe-Institut to close center in North Korea on censorship claim , 26 November 2009, Deutsche Welle, accessed 9 May 2012.
  3. Archived 14 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. http://www.goethe.de/ins/bd/dha/uun/gi/ch/enindex.htm
  5. "Goethe-Institut to start Tiruchi centre next year". The Hindu. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  6. John George. "Deutsche Sprache - Goethe-Institut". Goethe.de. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  7. "Goethe-Institut launches Tiruchi Centre". The Hindu. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  8. "Deutschprüfungen - Unsere Prüfungen - Goethe-Institut". Goethe.de. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  9. 1 2 3 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize, official site.
  10. "Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize 2011". WBEZ. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  11. Chad W. Post (20 May 2011). "2011 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize". Three Percent (Rochester University). Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  12. "Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize 2012". WBEZ. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  13. "Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize 2013". Goethe Institut. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  14. "Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize 2014". Goethe Institut. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  15. "Catherine Schelbert, Prize Recipient 2015". Goethe Institut. May 2015. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  16. "Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize". Goethe-Institut. May 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  17. 06.03.2007: Goethe-Institut erhält Konrad-Duden-Sonderpreis (German)
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