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47 Funny, Inspiring and Motivational German Quotes To Help You Learn German


Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?

Are you looking for German quotes?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re looking to use quotes to help you learn German or you want some beautiful words to brighten up your day, you’ll find them right here.

Below is a list of 47 funny, life-affirming and motivational quotes from some of our favourite German speakers.

How German Quotes Can Make You a Better Language Learner

Want a powerful new weapon in your German learning arsenal?

Quotes can make you laugh, cry, or think. They can help you find your mojo. In other words, quotes evoke emotion. And when you have an emotional connection to something, you’re more likely to remember it.

Quotes can also help you:

  • Learn new ways of speaking: You can see how German is used, moulded and shaped to express ideas and concepts
  • Learn more about the culture: Quotes often give a direct cultural insight to people, places and points of view within a culture
  • Find new vocabulary and turns of phrase: You can analyse quotes to fine new vocabulary you may not learn in your day-to-day speech

If you want to become a better conversationalist and learn more about German people, studying the quotes can be a great use of your time.

That being said, here are your 47 funny, inspiring and motivational German quotes…

I’ve organised them into categories:

  • Funny German quotes
  • German quotes about life
  • Motivational German quotes

Funny German Quotes

Think Germans aren’t known for the sense of humor? Think again! These quotes will have the entire Brauhaus chuckling in no time.

“Milch ist für Babys. Wenn du erwachsen bist, musst du Bier trinken.”Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-American actor / The Terminator

Translation: “Milk is for babies. Adults drink beer.”

“Dumme Gedanken hat jeder, aber der Weise verschweigt sie”.Wilhelm Busch, German humorist

Translation: “Everyone has stupid thoughts, but the sage keeps quiet about them.”

“Zwei Dinge sind unendlich, das Universum und die menschliche Dummheit, aber bei dem Universum bin ich mir noch nicht ganz sicher.”Albert Einstein, German scientist

Translation: “Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. Although I'm not yet sure about the universe.”

“Für Fußball würde ich einfach alles tun, für Sex nicht ganz so viel.”Sebastian Schweinsteiger, German football player

Translation: “I’d do anything for football. For sex, not so much.”

“Babys sind nun mal Alkoholkonsumverhinderungsmaschinen”Carolin Kebekus, German comic

Translation: “Babies are alcohol-abuse-prevention-devices.”

“Ich habe ein einfaches Rezept, um fit zu bleiben. Ich laufe jeden Tag Amok”Hildegard Knef, German actress and singer

Translation: “I have a simple recipe to keep fit. I run amok every day.”

“Kein Mensch ist so beschäftigt, daß er nicht die Zeit hat, überall zu erzählen, wie beschäftigt er ist.”Robert Lembke, German television presenter

Translation: “No one is so busy that he does not have time to tell everyone how busy he is.”

“Die Eintagsfliege wird bereits zwölf Stunden nach ihrer Geburt von ihrer Midlife-Crisis erwischt. Das muss man sich mal klarmachen“Loriot, German comic

Translation: “The mayfly [which lives for one day] goes through its midlife crisis after twelve hours! That’s hard to comprehend.”

“Ich geh‘ mit dir durch dick und dünn, aber nicht durch dick und doof.”Udo Lindenberg, German rock legend

Translation: “I’ll go with you through thick and thin, but not through fat and stupid.”

“Wenn ein Mann sofort macht, was eine Frau will, bekommt er nicht mehr Liebe, sondern mehr Aufträge.” Stefan Schwarz, German actor

Translation: “When a man immediately does what a woman wants, he doesn’t receive love, but more orders.”

“Der Vorteil der Klugen besteht darin, dass sie sich dumm stellen können. Das Gegenteil ist schon schwieriger.”*Kurt Tucholsky, German writer *

Translation: “The advantage of the wise is that they can play dumb. The opposite is more of a challenge.”

“Fast jede Frau wäre gern treu. Schwierig ist es bloß, den Mann zu finden, dem man treu sein kann.”Marlene Dietrich, German actress

Translation: “Almost every woman would like to be faithful. It is difficult to find the man to whom you can be.”

“Sei mir gegrüßt, mein Sauerkraut, holdselig sind deine Gerüche.“Heinrich Heine, German poet and essayist

Translation: “Greetings my sauerkraut, sweet are your smells.”

“Es ist ein Brauch von Alters her, wer Sorgen hat, hat auch Likör.”Wilhelm Busch, German humorist

Translation: “It is a tradition (or practice) from time immemorial, whoever has worries (or cares) has liquor.”

“Wussten Sie schon, dass der Walfisch das kleinste lebende Säugetier sein könnte, wenn er nur nicht so groß wäre?”Loriot

Translation: “Did you know that the whale could be the smallest living mammal if it were not so big?”

German Quotes About Life

Germany is home to many of the world’s great philosophers and thinkers. Here are some of their best thoughts.

”Wir denken selten an das, was wir haben, aber immer an das, was uns fehlt.”Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher

Translation: “We rarely think of what we have but always what we lack.”

“Wenn die Menschen nur über das sprächen, was sie begreifen, dann würde es sehr still auf der Welt sein.”Albert Einstein, German scientist

Translation: “If people only talked about things they understand, then it would be very quiet in the world.”

“Man reist nicht, um anzukommen, sondern um zu reisen.“Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and statesman

Translation: “You do not travel to arrive, but to travel.”

*”Gegen Angriffe kann man sich wehren, gegen Lob ist man machtlos.“ – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist

Translation: “One can resist attack, but one is powerless against praise.”

“Glück entsteht oft durch Aufmerksamkeit in kleinen Dingen, Unglück oft durch Vernachlässigung kleiner Dinge.”Wilhelm Busch, German humorist

Translation: “Happiness often comes from attention to small things, misfortune often from neglecting little things.”

”Die große Chance des Älterwerdens ist, dass es einem Wurscht sein kann, was die Leute sagen“Udo Jürgens, Austrian-Swiss composer

Translation: “The best part of getting older, is that you don’t have to care what people say”

*”Wenn ich mein Leben noch einmal leben könnte, würde ich die gleichen Fehler machen. Aber ein bisschen früher, damit ich mehr davon habe.” – Marlene Dietrich, German actress

Translation: “If I could live my life again I’d make exactly the same mistakes. Just a little earlier, so I have more of them.”

“Jeder, der sich die Fähigkeit erhält, Schönes zu erkennen, wird nie alt werden.”Franz Kafka, Czech-Austrian novelist

Translation: “Anyone who has the ability to see beautiful things will never grow old.”

“Man muss sein Glück teilen, um es zu multiplizieren.”Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian writer

Translation: “You have to share your luck to multiply it”

”Glücklich allein ist die Seele, die liebt.“*Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and statesman

Translation: “Happy alone is the soul that loves.”

”Nicht alles, was zählt, ist zählbar, und nicht alles, was zählbar ist, zählt.”Albert Einstein, German scientist

Translation: “Not everything that counts is countable, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

”Sage nicht alles, was du weißt, aber wisse alles, was du sagst.”Matthias Claudius, German poet and journalist

Translation: “Don’t say everything you know; but know everything you say.”

”Je älter ich werde, desto intensiver lebe ich und desto mehr registriere ich, was ich erreicht habe.” Steffi Graf, German tennis player

Translation: “The older I get, the more intensely I live, and the more I realize what I have achieved.”

”Schön ist eigentlich alles, was man mit Liebe betrachtet.”Christian Morgenstern, German author and poet

Translation: “Beautiful is everything one looks at with love.”

”Tatsachen gibt es nicht, nur Interpretationen.“Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

Translation: “There are no facts, only interpretations.”

Motivational German Quotes

Looking for a kick-up-the-butt to get stuff done, and learn some wonderful new vocabulary? Then look no further than these German motivational quotes!

“Aus den Steinen, die Dir in den Weg gelegt werden, kannst du etwas Schönes bauen.”Erich Kästner, German poet

Translation: “From the stones that block your way, you can build something beautiful.”

”Arbeit ist schwer, ist oft genug ein freudloses und mühseliges Stochern; aber nicht arbeiten – das ist die Hölle.“Thomas Mann, German novelist and social critic

Translation: “Having a job is hard, and is often enough a joyless and laborious game; but to not work – that's hell.”

*“In uns selbst liegen die Sterne unseres Glücks.” – Heinrich Heine, German poet and essayist

Translation: “Within ourselves lie the stars of our happiness.”

”Nicht in die ferne Zeit verliere dich! Den Augenblick ergreife. Nur er ist dein.“Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, German writer

Translation: “Don’t lose yourself in distant times! Seize the moment. Only that is yours.”

“Der Langsamste, der sein Ziel nicht aus den Augen verliert, geht noch immer geschwinder, als jener, der ohne Ziel umherirrt.”Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, German poet

Translation: “The slowest plodder who does not lose sight of his goal is still faster than the one who wanders without a goal.”

“Man muss das Unmögliche versuchen, um das Mögliche zu erreichen.”Hermann Hesse, German writer

Translation: “You have to try the impossible to achieve the possible.”

“Für das Können gibt es nur einen Beweis: das Tun.“Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian writer

Translation: “There is only one proof of skill: doing.”

*“Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker.“ –Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

Translation: “What does not kill me makes me stronger.”

*”Die Gewohnheit ist ein Seil. Wir weben jeden Tag einen Faden, und schließlich können wir es nicht mehr zerreißen.” – Thomas Mann, German novelist and social critic

Translation: “A habit is a rope. Weave a thread into it every day and eventually it becomes unbreakable.”

“Der Schlüssel zum Erfolg ist Kameradschaft und der Wille, alles für den anderen zu geben.”Fritz Walter, German footballer (also the name behind Fritz Walter weather)

Translation: “The key to success is companionship and the will to give everything for the other.”

”Die guten sind immer umstritten.”Boris Becker, German tennis player

Translation: “The good ones are always controversial.”

*”Man lernt nirgendwo so viel, wie in den eigenen Fehlern.“ – Udo Jürgens, Austrian-Swiss composer

Translation: “You learn nowhere so much as in your own mistakes.”

”Wenn du die Phase der Euphorie nicht erlebt hast und die Phase der Traurigkeit, dann wirst du nichts Bedeutendes schaffen.”Udo Jürgens, Austrian-Swiss composer

Translation: “If you have not experienced the phase of euphoria and the phase of sadness, then you will not accomplish anything significant.”

*”Es ist nicht deine Schuld, dass die Welt ist wie sie ist, es wär' nur deine Schuld, wenn sie so bleibt.“” – Die Ärzte, German band

Translation: “It is not your fault that the world is what it is, it would only be your fault if it stays that way.”

”Jedes Problem, das man bewältigt, bringt einen in der Zukunft weiter. Und gibt auch neue Kraft.”Steffi Graf, German tennis player

Translation: “Any problem you overcome will carry you forward in the future and give you new strength.”

author headshot

James Johnson

Social Media Manager, Fluent in 3 Months

As well as managing our Facebook and Twitter feeds, James teaches people how to learn German, and move to Germany, on his blog Deutschified.

Speaks: English, Spanish, German

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