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Goethe Institut

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The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. They promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange.

The Goethe-Institut offers an extensive range of educational and training programmes. In addition to programmes for teachers and learners of German and for cultural and media professionals, the Goethe-Institut offers trainings in the field of intercultural communication and integration. Knowledge transfer programmes are targeted specifically at children and young people. The curriculum is complemented by trainings for adult learners in specific social and communicative skills.

1951 The Goethe-Institut is founded as successor to the German Academy (Deutsche Akademie, DA). Its first task is to provide further training for foreign German teachers in Germany. 1953 The first language courses run by the Goethe-Institut begin in Bad Reichenhall. Due to growing demand, new centres of learning are soon opened in Murnau and Kochel, the focus of selection being on towns which are small and idyllic and which show post-war Germany at its best. Lessons are taught from the first textbook developed by the Goethe-Institut, the now legendary “Schulz-Griesbach”. 1953–55 The first foreign lectorships of what was the German Academy are taken on by the Goethe-Institut. Responsibilities include German tuition, teacher training and providing a programme of cultural events to accompany courses. 1959/60 On the initiative of the head of the arts sector of the Foreign Office, Dieter Sattler, the Goethe-Institut gradually takes over all of the German cultural institutes abroad. This development of a broad international institute network signals an intensification of Germany’s foreign cultural policy. 1968 Influenced by the student revolts of the late 1960s the Goethe-Institut readjusts its programme of cultural events to include sociopolitical topics and avant-garde art. 1970 Acting on behalf of the Foreign Office Ralf Dahrendorf develops his “guiding principles for foreign cultural policy”. Cultural work involving dialogue and partnership is declared the third pillar of German foreign policy. During the Willy Brandt era the concept of “extended culture” forms the basis of activities at the Goethe-Institut. 1976 The Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut sign a general agreement governing the status of the Goethe-Institut, henceforth an independent cultural organisation.




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1980 A new concept regarding the location of institutes within Germany is drawn up. Places of instruction in small towns, mostly in Bavaria, are replaced by institutes in cities and university towns.
1989/90 The fall of the Berlin Wall also marks a turning point for the Goethe-Institut. Its activities in the 1990s are thus strongly centred on Eastern Europe. Numerous new institutes are set up as a result.
2001 The Goethe-Institut merges with Inter Nationes.
2004 The Goethe-Institut establishes the first Western information centre in Pjöngyang / North Korea.
2005 The Goethe-Institut is honoured with the Prince-of-Asturia-Price of Spain
2007 For the first time in more then ten years the German parliament decides to increase the funds of the Goethe-Institut.