E-Reading in der Bibliothek Foto: Goethe-Institut/Loredana La Rocca Through its digital offering in more than 60 languages and through its network of libraries, the Goethe-Institut conveys Germany-related information worldwide. In this way we promote the active engagement with the language, culture and society of our country in our host countries.


The editorial online offering of the 160 Goethe-Instituts is in many places supplemented by points of view contributed from the host countries. Numerous thematic portals reach across national, regional and discipline boundaries. They thus also contribute to strengthening the exchange of information and knowledge between the countries.

Under the rubric “The Germany Scene”, the internet editorial team at the Goethe-Institut Head Office continuously presents themes, in German and English, in the areas of architecture, education and knowledge, society and current affairs, libraries, design and fashion, literature, music, media, visual arts, film, dance, theatre and modern life.


The Goethe-Institut’s network of libraries offers worldwide access to over 800,000 media. Every day the libraries of the Goethe-Institut receive about 1,000 requests for information.

In our libraries visitors can experience Germany directly through themed media collections, comprehensive learning and counselling services and competent contact persons. Our libraries are meeting places that enable a free and uncensored access to knowledge and information. In many places, the libraries of the Goethe-Institut are the only such facility in the host country.

The libraries of the Goethe-Institut see themselves as nodes in a global network; they serve and support German reading rooms, dialogue points and German information and learning centres and cooperate closely with libraries in the host countries.

The librarians of Goethe-Institut provide a range of qualified services in research and support.

The libraries of the Goethe-Institut maintain close contact with national library associations, universities and experts, and provide information on libraries and the information landscape in Germany.

E-Library “Onleihe”

A woman listens to digital media from the Onleihe service and runs past people waiting at the bus stop in the rain. Illustration: Maria Tran Larsen © Goethe-Institut

From audio book to newspaper

Read books and newspapers, listen to music and audio books or watch German films - a free service for users in non-German speaking countries!

What is Onleihe? 

The Onleihe is Goethe-Institut’s digital library (eLibrary). More than 23,000 German language eBooks, audio books, movies, materials for German language learners, magazines and newspapers are available for downloading from the Onleihe. 

Anywhere, anytime, free of charge

After registration and activation, you can use the Onleihe media on your PC, laptop and mobile devices (Android and iOS), anytime and anywhere. 

Who can use the Onleihe?

Anyone with permanent residence outside Germany can use our eLibrary. Online registration is fast and easy. Library membership is not required. 
Currently, there are around 25,000 media available at our eLibrary. We offer this service only at the Goethe-Instituts abroad. To use the Onleihe in German speaking countries, please contact a public library near you. Have a look at the titles you will find in the eLibrary of the Goethe-Institut

How do I register?

Depending on your device, you have various options for accessing and downloading media:

German Cinema in our Onleihe

Discover over 100 films in our Onleihe and stream for free!

Onleihe - films © Goethe-Institut

Activities of the Library Department

The Library Department of the Goethe-Institut Head Office provides advice to Goethe-Institut libraries abroad. It works closely with national and local experts, libraries and library associations and together with them jointly develops workshops, conferences, seminars, study trips to Germany and library cooperation. It discusses the role of libraries in the information society, the future-oriented development of librarian training and the digitalization of media collections and information access.

Libraries contribute significantly to the success of education and training. They convey information literacy and are carriers of the cultural heritage. Through its partnerships with committees, top institutions and professional associations at home and abroad, the library project work of the Goethe-Institut promotes international professional exchange and the transfer of knowledge in this area.

Modern concepts of librarian training and advanced training, the promotion of reading, lifelong learning and questions of the digitalization of information are here current topics that are discussed in dialogue with local partners. One aim is to exchange knowledge of the possibilities for the establishment and development of corresponding infrastructures.

The Goethe-Institut is a member of the International Federation of Libraries IFLA, the Federal Union of German Library and Information Associations and the German Library Association e. V.