Tasks and Targets

As the globally active cultural institution of the Federal Republic of Germany, we advocate for understanding between Germany, Europe and the world. The framework agreement with the German Federal Foreign Office is the foundation for this work. Worldwide, we provide information about the cultural and societal diversity of Germany and Europe. 158 Goethe-Instituts in 98 countries together with numerous partner institutions form the basis of our global network. The Federal Foreign Office supports our work institutionally. As a registered charity we operate autonomously on a legally independent basis and are not affiliated to any political party. We generate around a third of our revenue ourselves through income from language courses and examinations. We also receive support from the European Union (EU), further German federal ministries as well as foundations and companies in Germany and abroad.

We contribute to establishing the German language in the educational systems of the guest countries. We support over 100,000 schools worldwide in giving high-quality German tuition, and promote the advanced professional training and qualification of teachers of German. Furthermore, we offer languages courses ranging from general German courses to prevocational language courses and seminars to raise societal and cultural awareness. Our services include online courses and autonomous learning programmes. Every year, more than half a million people sit a German examination at a Goethe-Institut or one of our cooperation partners. With a wide range of educational and information programmes, we support in particular students and skilled workers from abroad on their route to Germany. 

We believe in the potential of international cultural exchange. Our approximately 20,000 cultural events per year take place in partnership with governmental and non-governmental institutions and initiatives from civil society in our guest countries. We qualify, advise and interlink cultural professionals and support the development of sustainable structures in the cultural and creative economy by advanced training measures for cultural entrepreneurs or the internationalisation of creative companies. With our residence programmes, partnerships and co-productions, we promote the networking of cultural professionals around the globe. We offer stakeholders from civil society a protected space and scope for a sincere exchange of views. We do not break off democratic dialogue, even in difficult times. In our work we orientate ourselves towards the values of a democratic, liberal society governed by the rule of law.

Via our digital information and educational programmes in more than 60 languages and a network with 95 libraries, we offer a space to learn, meet up and participate. We use innovative technologies, seize the opportunities of digitalisation and, at the same time, reflect on their implications for people and society. Through diverse formats such as information trips for multipliers, specialist exchange between experts, youth exchange programmes and international festivals we enable communication on a worldwide basis.

Celebrating 20 years of the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg © Palesa Motsomi / Goethe-Institut Johannesburg

The Goethe-Institut in South Africa

The Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg regulates the work in the Sub-Saharan countries including 13 institutes, seven Goethe reading/cultural centers and two connecting offices. In addition, we are working together with German embassies in countries where the Goethe-Institut is not represented. 

Our Cultural Programmes Department focuses on a variety of different artistic approaches from the visual arts to drama, dance, literature, film, and others. Our goal is to support the local cultural scenes and strengthen pan-African dialogue through the arts.

Our Language department offers German lessons in the Goethe-Institut and otherwise. It supports German teachers in the country and works closely with the South African Department of Education.

The Goethe-Institut Johannesburg's Library and Information Department works in partnership with libraries and other institutions involved in book and reading promotion in South Africa. Furthermore, we encourage exchanges between information specialists and publishers in South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and Germany. Our library offers a broad variety of information and media on Germany. With the eLibrary service, ebooks and other digital media can be borrowed (and enjoyed) electronically.
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