German Roots
Everywhere you look

People from the German-speaking world have been intimately involved with the creation of American history ever since they first arrived at the English colony in Jamestown, Virginia in 1608. Scratch the surface of America and you will find German influences.

We hope that you enjoy learning about American history from this vantage point.


Dietz’s Rathskeller, 511 7th Street NW, n.d. (likely between 1913 and 1918) 'Fine Day, Sir' reads the caption overhead. Doubtless the beer was good and the smoke heavy. Wall decorations and traditional proverbs, common in German restaurants and saloons, adorn the walls. Image from the Collections of the Historical Society of Washington, DC


Washington's German-speaking community had an enormous impact and presence right here where the Goethe-Institut has its Washington office. German businesses and houses of worship, along with architects, artists, and inhabitants, left a lasting legacy on what was Washington’s principal business and shopping district in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And they continue to influence the nation's capital today.

Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

San Francisco

The Goethe-Institut invites you to take a virtual tour of many of the sites and important figures connected to San Francisco and the Bay Area which are related to German-American history.