The institutes reported a nearly eight-percent increase in its students last year over 2010, according to figures released Sunday by Der Spiegel. There are Goethe Institutes in 93 countries.
The biggest adult demand for German classes was reported in southwestern Europe, with Spain leading the way with a record 25 percent increase.
People want to learn German "not so they can read Goethe and Schiller in their original language but because they want to advance themselves in their profession, president of the Goethe Institutes Klaus-Dieter Lehmann told the magazine.
There have been numerous press reports about well-qualified Spanish workers leaving Spain, due to the double digit unemployment there, and moving to Germany for its booming economy.
But high school students are not as impressed. In a report published February 10, the magazine said German language instruction in high schools is declining nearly everywhere in Europe.
One reason German has lost ground is because it was taught extensively in eastern Europe during the Cold War, as English was not promoted for political reasons. Since the opening of the Iron Curtain in 1989, English has gained ground.
But the decline in high school German language learners has been somewhat offset by increases in Africa and Asia, the report said.