“We want to listen”

Frederike Berje of the Goethe-Institut on the study “Außenblick” (Outside View) about the perception of Germany in the world.

Frederike Berje, Goethe-Institut
Frederike Berje, Goethe-Institut privat

Ms. Berje, the Goethe-Institut is primarily concerned with linguistic and cultural exchange. The Außenblick (Outside View) Study had a broader focus. Why was that important to you?
It’s also the task of the Goethe-Institut to convey an up-to-date image of Germany. That’s why we are interested in how Germany is perceived in the world – a full picture is essential for this. With the study, we were above all looking for recurrent and common patterns. In order to work these out, it was important to interview people from different countries and areas.

What is for you the most important finding of the study?
It makes clear that international cooperation is facing major challenges – think of climate change, social tensions, refugees and immigration, digitization and the associated changes in the work world. These issues have to be discussed globally. This requires international exchange.

What conclusions has the Goethe-Institut drawn from the study’s results?
Many interviewees reported from personal experience how important German language skills are for really arriving. This encourages us to further develop our offerings for learning German. The respondents also attach great importance to our international exchange in culture and science, and praise it as fair, multifaceted, creative and cooperative. We want to pursue this inclusive approach. We want to listen and to keep questioning ourselves.


The study Außenblick – International Perspectives on Germany in Times of the Corona-19 Pandemic, published in 2021, was compiled by the German Society for International Aid (GIZ) GmbH, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Goethe Institute. It is based on an online survey of more than 600 people from almost 40 countries with in-depth knowledge of Germany and around 50 in-depth interviews.

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