Inspirational German Quotes and Proverbs That Might Change Your Perspective

Ellison Clapton8 min
Created: May 8, 2024Last updated: May 9, 2024
German Quotes

Did you know that finding a perfect quote can affect not only your language knowledge but even your life? In some cases, the wisdom of someone’s words can transform your established views and entirely change your perspective. Today, we’ll talk about some of the most powerful German quotes and proverbs. So buckle up, and let’s dive right in!

German Proverbs: Sharing Collective Wisdom

Some people believe that proverbs are a bit outdated today. But, of course, it’s not true! Although we don’t encourage you to use them in every sentence you say, in some cases, they might become surprisingly on point. That’s why we’ve prepared some of the best German proverbs for you! Here are our favorites.

  • Wer rastet, der rostet. – [vɛr ˈʁastət deːɐ̯ ˈʁɔstət] – Who rests, rusts.

The translation says it all: if you don’t do anything, you don’t make any progress. This principle applies to every sphere of your life and reminds you of the importance of the smallest movements. Or, as we say, you snooze – you lose!

  • Des Teufels liebstes Möbelstück ist die lange Bank. – [dɛs ˈtɔʏfl̩s ˈliːbstəs ˈmøːbl̩ˌʃtʏk ɪst diː ˈlant͡sə baŋk] – The devil’s favorite piece of furniture is the long bench.

When Germans put something on the long bench, they won’t do it until later. So, this proverb convinces us once again that procrastination is the thief of time. Be careful about it, and don’t play with the devil.

  • Aller Anfang ist schwer. – [ˈalər ˈanfaŋ ɪst ʃvɛr] – All beginnings are hard.

And there’s nothing else to add! The first step is the hardest, and that is the key meaning of this powerful German proverb. However, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals once you begin (and continue to go)!

  • Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst. – [ˈanfaŋən ɪst laɪçt, bəˈhaːrən ˈaɪnə kʊnst] – To begin is easy, to persist is an art.

Although this proverb kind of contradicts the previous one, it is still very true. It once again tells about the importance of persistence and that only being patient and tenacious can bring you the desired results, whatever you’re planning to achieve.

  • Übung macht den Meister. – [ˈʏbʊŋ maχt deːn ˈmaɪ̯stɐ] – Practice makes the master.

Remember how we’ve always told you that practice makes perfect? Well, the last German proverb on our list definitely seconds our thoughts! It means that only practice can make you the master, regardless of what you are doing, and it is the beautiful truth.

The Best Quotes in German: Find the One for Yourself

Germany is the motherland of many scientists, writers, philosophers, and others with beautiful views and opinions. Therefore, it is no wonder why the German language contains tons of inspirational expressions and fascinating quotes. In our compilation, we’ve gathered the most resonating with us. And we are glad to share them with you!

Inspiring German Sayings About Life

Ah, life – the most precious thing every person owns. We believe every language has several expressions. And German, of course, is no exception. Many famous people, like Nietzsche or Einstein, shared their wisdom about life by using wonderful words and expressions. So, here are some of the best German quotes about life that you can start using.

  • Man reist nicht, um anzukommen, sondern um zu reisen (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe). – One does not travel to arrive, but to travel.

This great quote from Goethe partially sums up the meaning of life in general. If you think about it, maybe the only purpose of our lives is really just…to live? 

  • Auch aus Steinen, die einem in den Weg gelegt werden, kann man Schönes bauen (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe). – Even from stones placed in one’s way, one can build something beautiful.

And here’s Goethe again! This man definitely knew something about life. This is one of the most inspirational German quotes, reminding us that even difficulties and challenging obstacles can make our lives beautiful, as they are integral parts of them.

  • Wir denken selten an das, was wir haben, aber immer an das, was uns fehlt (Arthur Schopenhauer). – We seldom think of what we have but always of what is missing.

Although Schopenhauer was a philosopher of pessimism who basically believed in the thesis that life isn’t worth living, he was a wise person with strong beliefs. And this quote aptly explains human nature, reminding us to appreciate everything we already have.

  • Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker (Friedrich Nietzsche). – What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

This is one of the most famous German sayings. And, believe it or not, Kelly Clarkson originally didn't say it! It is a popular quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher. This powerful saying tells us that until we’re alive, we can deal with literally anything, and all the bad things happening to us only make us sturdier and more resilient.


Popular in Germany Quotes About Success and Motivation

Although the ability to stay motivated solely depends on us, sometimes, the right words read at the right time can make a huge difference. And there are quite a lot of them in German! Here are some of the most motivational German quotes about strength, power, and success for you!

  • Man muss das Unmögliche versuchen, um das Mögliche zu erreichen (Hermann Hesse). You have to try the impossible to achieve the possible.
  • Die Gewohnheit ist ein Seil. Wir weben jeden Tag einen Faden, und schließlich können wir es nicht mehr zerreißen (Thomas Mann). Habit is a rope. We weave a thread every day, and eventually, we can no longer break it.
  • Wenn du die Phase der Euphorie nicht erlebt hast und die Phase der Traurigkeit, dann wirst du nichts Bedeutendes schaffen (Udo Jürgens). If you have not experienced the period of euphoria and the period of sadness, then you will not achieve anything significant.
  • Der Langsamste, der sein Ziel nicht aus den Augen verliert, geht noch immer geschwinder, als jener, der ohne Ziel umherirrt (Gotthold Ephraim Lessing). The slowest person who does not lose sight of his goal still walks faster than the one who wanders around without a goal.

Fascinating German Quotes About Happiness and Love

Now that you’re (hopefully!) motivated enough to reach your goals, we want to talk about two other essential parts of our lives: love and happiness. So, in our last compilation today, we’ve collected the most wholesome German quotes about these beautiful feelings.

  • Wenn man glücklich ist, soll man nicht noch glücklicher sein wollen (Theodor Fontane).  If you are happy, you shouldn’t want to be even happier.
  • Liebe ist der Wunsch etwas zu geben, nicht etwas zu erhalten (Bertolt Brecht). Love is the desire to give something, not to receive something.
  • Denke an all das Schöne, was in dir selbst und dich herum wächst und sei glücklich! (Anne Frank). Think of all the beautiful things growing inside and around you, and be happy!
  • Es ist immer etwas Wahnsinn in der Liebe. Es ist aber auch immer etwas Vernunft im Wahnsinn (Friedrich Nietzsche). There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some sanity in madness.

Explore the Power of Famous German Quotes with Promova

Although motivation is an important part of progress, you shouldn’t underestimate discipline. Mastering a new language, whether German or any other, requires a lot of patience and persistence. However, with access to proper tools, you can simplify your experience and achieve desirable results by spending only a few minutes daily.

Promova is your one-stop solution for learning a foreign language. Our convenient application is designed to provide you with everything you need to become fluent. Regardless of your current proficiency level, you can access our engaging lessons created by language professionals and learn the materials tailored specifically to your needs.

Moreover, within the application, you can learn several languages at once! You can access German, English, Spanish, French, Korean, Arabic, and many other tongues. Just install the application on your iOS or Android device and enjoy the necessary information. With the Promova app, you can study anywhere and anytime, whether you're in your bed, standing in traffic, or waiting for your bestie in the café.

Another benefit of the Promova application is our focus on bite-sized learning. We do our best to protect you from being overwhelmed by unnecessary information. Instead, we provide you with the essential materials, allowing you to spend only a few minutes a day learning. Whether a beginner or an experienced learner, you can find something useful in the Promova app. So, don’t hesitate and install it right away!


All in all, we hope that today’s portion of German motivational quotes will help you fall in love with this language once again and appreciate its wisdom and lessons. And that’s it for now. Write down your favorite German saying in the comments, and we’ll meet you in the next article!


What is the difference between a quote and a proverb?

Although both these terms are basically sayings that convey a particular meaning, they are definitely not the same thing. A quote is the verbatim repetition of someone else’s words and thoughts, typically said by a particular person. A proverb, on the other hand, is a concise, traditional saying, the author of which is usually unknown.

Is knowing German quotes and proverbs essential for language fluency?

Honestly, it is not strictly vital. You can still become fluent without knowing German quotes or proverbs. However, memorizing these sayings can be highly beneficial for language learning. It is not only a good way to expand your vocabulary and horizons in general but also to peek at the local culture, views, and ideas.

How can I implement German proverbs in my daily conversations?

Well, for starters, you need to choose a few proverbs you like the most and memorize them. Focus not only on pronunciation and intonation but also on the saying’s meaning and context. This way, when the proper situation occurs, you will be able to easily recollect and use a suitable proverb. You can increase the number of proverbs with time, but don’t try to memorize them all at once.

Are there any German quotes that are well-known worldwide?

Sure thing! Since Germany has many famous people, there are plenty of renowned quotes we use all over the world. So, because it’s difficult to find the one, we’ll tell you our favorite, “Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.” Literally, it means, “Everything has an end, only the sausage has two.”