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Language students in Murnau© Photo Michael Friedel

History of the Goethe-Institut

Explore the history of the Goethe-Institut and discover surprising, curious, and exciting moments from more than 70 years of cultural and language work worldwide.

A Quick Dip

Advertisement for an exhibition of the German-American artist George Grosz in Turin.  © Goethe-Institut Archiv

Contemporary art

The social change that accompanies the worldwide student movements also affects the Goethe-Institut, which now takes up more critical positions on socio-political issues.

The Goethe-Institut Prague.  Photo: Bernhard Ludewig

New institutes in the Eastern Europe

The fall of the Iron Curtain allows the Goethe-Institut to expand its activities into the countries of Eastern Europe.

Außenmauer des Goethe-Instituts in der mexikanischen Hauptstadt Mexiko-Stadt.  © Goethe-Institut

Umbruch in Zeiten des Terrors

Die Ereignisse des 11. September 2001 beeinflussen die Arbeit des Goethe-Instituts grundlegend: Die Anschläge in den USA führen der Welt vor Augen, wie wichtig interkultureller Dialog und Verständigung sind.

 Outdoor area of the second Kultursymposium Weimar in 2019. Photo: Jörg Gläscher

Focus on Africa and Digital Transformation

Supported by the “Aktion Afrika” initiative launched by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Goethe-Institut is strengthening its cooperation with Africa and opening several new institutes on the neighbouring continent.

Deeper Dive

Listening and exchanging ideas: final “Museum Conversations” conference in Windhuk 2019. Photo: © CreativeLab for Goethe-Institut Namibia

In profile

Once an exporter of culture, today a global networker: The Goethe-Institut has frequently changed tracks over the course of its history. From ballet in traditional German folk dress in the 1960s to the discourse on postcolonialism of the present day.

Das Goethe-Institut. Eine Geschichte von 1951 bis heute.© Klett-Cotta

Das Goethe-Institut

A history from 1951 until today - in her book, the president of the Goethe-Institut Carola Lentz offers offers an insight into the history and work of the Goethe-Institut and its changing roles in the context of the past decades.