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Our History


We were five friends, all teachers without jobs, but with a shared idea: German lessons that are fun for the students. Based on this idea, the “Zentrum für deutsche Sprache und Kultur e.V.” was founded in 1981. Our aim was for our students to really learn to speak German, over and above just learning grammar rules. We started our courses in four classrooms in Bornheim, with limited materials but with an eagerness to experiment and innovate. From the very first second only German was spoken in our courses. Though this sometimes led to humorous misunderstandings, grammar and vocabulary was still being taught despite the laughter. We learnt new and exciting information from people from all corners of the world and discussed environmental protection projects, ecology and the women's movement.

The school became bigger and bigger and something new was offered almost every year, such as summer courses, a culture programme, educational trips, courses for youths and homework support. At some point we outgrew our home in Bornheim, moving the Zentrum first to Kaufunger Straße in Bockenheim in 1987 and then to Tilsiter Straße 4 in 1993. There, we were able to have table football, table tennis and a basement in which we hosted parties almost every weekend.


Early on most of our course participants came from western Europe. However, young travellers from Japan slowly started arriving, as well as more eastern Europeans once the iron curtain fell in 1989. Many wanted to study or work in Germany and needed specific certificates to achieve this. We therefore started to offer the TestDaf examination in 2001 and have also offered the telc C1 Hochschule exam since 2018. In 2003 we experienced something of a boom – so many students from China arrived at once that we started to offer special courses for them. However, a short time later the visa requirements changed again and the number of students reduced.

Our time at Tilsiter Straße came to a close at the end of 2004 after 12 long years. In our current home at Rödelheimer Bahnweg 31, just 3 minutes away from Rödelheim train station, we now have space for up to 29 courses at the same time, spread over three floors. We have a large cafeteria, a summer terrace for BBQs and numerous welcoming classrooms, decorated with a love of detail and equipped with modern technology. In 2007 we developed our own textbook: ‘Wolkenkratzer’, for which we gained sponsorship as part of the Innovation Programme of the Hessian Kultusministerium, and received the PBW’s “Prize for good pedagogical practice” in 2008. We aimed to create a modern, consistently up-to-date textbook with videos, audios and online access – our first step into the world of digital learning.


The financial crisis of 2008/2009 hit us hard, and for a while we thought the school might have to close. Luckily, demand suddenly increased once more in 2010 – we had to book additional rooms for classes, introduced waiting lists and started recommending students to book at least three months in advance to secure a place. Before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in March 2020 our school was well attended. We had to quickly adapt as a result of the pandemic and started offering online lessons for the first time. It was a challenging time, but we are proud to say we are back and currently offering 30 in-person courses and 60 online courses for all levels again (as of September 2020).

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